Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Just For Fun...Jedward!

I meet some wonderfully nice people through my online art shop. Just recently I had a lovely gentleman all the way from London, UK purchase some items and he mentioned to me that I ought to try making the twin sensations "Jedward" from the talent show,

I am not up on those things, but curiosity got the best of me and I had to look them up. Well, I must admit they certainly are an interesting pair all right. They don't appear to sing, but they do seem to have something about them that is causing quite a it the dancing? the showmanship? or maybe the hair?? I don't know why some things become suddenly wildly popular, but at any rate I thought I would give them a try- one thing is for certain, they do have a look all their own!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Mixed Blessing.....

It has been almost exactly two years ago that our family moved from our home state of Indiana to Illinois. It wasn't fun, trust me - and after going through it, I am in no hurry to move any time soon! Now that we are here, I admit there have been some huge adjustments on my part, too.

Where I once could hop in a car and go to lots of major stores and towns and restaurants within minutes- now I must plan a 25- 30 minute drive. Where once I saw trees and hills and lots of houses- now I see miles of flat fields and maybe a clump of trees in the middle now and then. And a farmhouse or two once in a while...We got visits from time to time to from family, but now that has died off.

Since I am trying to make the best of this major upheaval, I have been trying to find things that are good about the situation. Since the land is so flat, I see beautiful sunsets like I never saw in Indiana. And while I miss the trees, I have found a kind of beauty in the fields and fields of green cornstalks that are now gold, and watching the farmers with their machinery harvesting the acres and acres that stretch out on either side when I am driving.

And while we are out where no relatives are, and haven't made a whole lot of friends as of yet, that can sometimes be a mixed blessing, if you know what I mean! We can maintain our privacy and have a pretty good reason not to go to reunions if we don't want to drive the distance...:)

At any rate, with the upcoming holidays, I have been keeping busy increasing my holiday characters since last year I was caught a bit short handed in that department and sold out of what I had. With less time running countless short trips into town, I now spend more time at my designing table- and have found more and more ideas to translate into my artistic endeavors...another benefit to living in the country-like spot that we do!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gloomy Days and Santa Claus

I don't believe I have seen the sun going on 4 days! I love the fall weather, but not sure I like this many gloomy days in a row! Well, it is good for napping, not that I do that mind you..and for staying indoors and having no excuse to avoid getting some creative work done. Which is why I went on a sort of Santa spree...the possibilities of making a creative and different Santa are endless, but to start out on the safer side, I made a few choices that would lean towards the traditional side-

Victorian Santa in Burgundy Velvet

A Pink Santa

and, Jolly Old Saint Nicholas too!

I thought about doing a Retired to Florida Santa Claus, and have him wearing a bright shirt. bermudas, and black socks with sandals, and maybe holding a little bottle of Geritol? - but not sure if that would be a seller or not...ah well, for now I will think about it and we'll see!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Jay Leno?

On occasion...ok, maybe pretty often...I like to pick a random, out of the blue character to do...and I never plan it until the last minute.

I decided on Jay Leno...yep, Jay Leno. Why? Not sure except for a couple of reasons- He's well known, and I think he has a lot of interesting features. And that makes it a challenge for me to try!

And so, here he is- just done today, Jay Leno!!!!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Latest

I have a huge amount of clothespins in my supply bin, so I figure I had better get cracking at the designing table! I managed to get some things done recently, one being the special "Beauty and the Beast" character set. I'm making a list of more ideas along this line for the projects ahead, so stay tuned!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Prankster at Heart

Ok, so I admit it...I am a middle aged lady that has never grown up.... and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

I still enjoy a good prank, even at my expense- which admittedly doesn't happen too often since most people I know are too mature to play pranks.

Take the time I decided to call my mom. Disguising my voice I said, "Mrs. Staggs? This is WXLZ radio station and we're calling you with a thousand dollar question. If you can tell us the first letter of the alphabet- you will win 1000 dollars!"

Long pause on the end of the mom finally said, "I find that hard to believe"

"It's true Mrs. Staggs" says I.

"'s A", she said.

Long pause...then I said, "Mom? it's me..."

She felt embarrassed for falling for it, and I felt just a wee bit guilty for raising her hopes in winning 1000 dollars, but I also knew she knew me pretty well and was used to it. So, she still laughs about that prank from time to time- which is good I guess! I haven't been disinherited...yet!

And one of the secrets of staying married for 21 years and actually enjoying it? Humor, of course, what else? Yes, my husband has suffered from time to time from my when I hid behind the shower curtain and then jumped out at him when he came in the bathroom....or the time I ran towards him while he sat reclined in his Lazy Boy recliner all tipped back- and I leaped into his lap, only to cause the chair to do a complete backward flip and we both landed laying backwards on the floor. To this day, when he sees me coming toward him in his chair , he sits it up immediately and puts both feet on the floor...just in case.

And lest you think me one sided, I take pranks on myself quite well...most of the time. My son once came running up the stairs with his arm all bent backwards and said "Mom, I think it's broken"...ummm, not funny to a mother. But after I realized he was kidding, I laughed weakly....sort of.

Just remember that humor is essential to your life if you want to get through it without becoming sour. There is a time to be serious, and there is a time to laugh. Timing is everything!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Ice Queen

I know it isn't winter yet by a long shot here in Illinois...but since I started thinking of ice and snow, it got my creativity going and this Ice Queen is the result....

She has a snowflake crown, white fur cloak trimmed in icicles, and a full skirt underneath that looks almost like a sheer layer of ice reflecting the colors. She even carries a couple of "ice cubes " in her hands- after all, she is the Ice Queen!

Save Money on Books

For all of you who are like me, a bookworm, it can get pretty pricey to go out and buy a new book every time the whim hits to add to your collection. I ran across this website called and have now discovered a way to get books I would like to have to add to my growing shelves.

The way it basically works is this: you have books you want to get rid of- you register free list them free at this website. When someone wants what you have, you get a credit for each book - which in turn means you can then find books you would like and request them from the one who has them. They send them, they get a credit.

This website is very easy to navigate, and I have only been there about a week and already have gotten rid of nearly 20 books I no longer need, and am in the process of getting some that I would love to read. All for whatever the media rate is for me to send my unwanted books to someone who does!

They also have sister websites for getting rid of dvds you no longer want: and for cds you no longer want:

If you don't find what you are looking for on any of these sites, they have a wish list you can add your wants on and it puts you in line to be contacted when something becomes available. Pretty cool, and it will save you money on building your library!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Getting in the Holiday Spirit Already?

I hate it when stores start setting their holiday merchandise out months before the holday know what I mean- They put Valentine's day stuff out right after Christmas, Christmas stuff start showing up in September of all things....Mother's day cards show up in early's ridiculous really.

We all know why they do it, they want to push the consumer to start getting ideas in their head that the holday will be upon them soon and so they'd better get their stuff now before the pickins are slim-but when things are that far off, it is hard for me to get in the mood for certain holidays.

Therefore I don't know why but when I sat down to create today, I found myself snipping and sewing and gluing...and this is what I ended up with...

No Christmas music was playing in the background, the weather here in Illinois is close to 80 degrees, and Christmas was not in my thinking! I have no idea sometimes when I sit down what I will be making, but that is part of the fun I guess.

Anyway, I have decided to dub my creation "Mary Christmas"....and hopefully she will not be the last in my designs for the upcoming holidays!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Flowers and Stuff

Way back when my husband and I bought our first home, I wanted to do something to the outside to "spruce" things up. And having come from a home life where my mom didn't mess with flowers too much, I had little experience to go on.

So, wreckless person that I was,(ok, maybe I STILL am at times...) I just winged it and planted a whole bed full... and I was hooked! 3 houses later I am still that way-It could be the artist in me, I don't know...but I have to have a multitude of color in the front and sides of our house or I feel bereft.

My flowers seem to attract all kinds of interesting things- grasshoppers, (and here in Illinois you will find THOUSANDS of them! I was scared this one was going to hop up at me, but I bravely took his picture...)

hummingbirds....(I have seen big fights over the feeder here)

...butterflies of all kinds... and toads. My son will pick the toads up and hold them, (Ewww!)

But while I think toads are kind of cute, don't put one on me unless you want to hear a middle aged lady scream at an ear piercing decibel that may cause you to lose your hearing...I don't think the toads are there in my flowers for the flowers themselves- but the banquet of insects that are there in huge numbers.
(Which is one reason I am reluctant to do my weeding as I should...)

Well, flower planting is just one more way for me to use my artistic side- the blending and choosing of colors is therepeutic for me- one of many ways to appreciate the simple beauty in this world!

Friday, September 4, 2009

I Refuse to Teach Anyone to Drive

I mean it, no ifs, ands, or buts! I decided this after taking my oldest teen out on one of her first driving lessons not too ago....

I bet I sucked in my breath and screeched at least 10 times...and that was just while backing out of the driveway...

We went around the block and it seemed we were going to hit every mailbox in that neighborhood, and this was no small neighborhood. I tried not to cry out..really I did- but I kept envisioning all the irate neighbors we would have after we knocked down all the mailboxes like a set of bowling pins!

I know I had my eyes closed most the time and hadn't prayed quite that long (or fervently) in some while. When we finally pulled up back home, I knew that was something I would never do again...and three more teens later, I have kept my vow. My husband, brave soul (and mighty laid back) that he is, is the official learn to drive coach in our house. I resigned after that one trip around the block

I think all this has taught me a new appreciation for the Driver's Ed teacher. Who in their right mind would want to take a group of young teens out on a road and try to teach them not to swerve over the lane lines, stop turning and looking back at the people in the back seat, and brake without sending passengers through the windshield, not to mention parallel parking between two Mercedes Benz without taking off the fenders? ( I can't even do that!)

I think I will be able to survive the teen driving years, as long as I sleep through them.....

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ok, ok, I will share it already!!

My jumbo chocolate chip cookie recipe that is...
I am a baker in addition to a number of other hats that I wear around my house.
This cookie recipe is one I found and developed slightly because I am always in search of that "perfect" recipe. Lots of recipes are good, but some are really really good- and this is one of them!

2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 TBSP vanilla extract
1 whole egg plus one egg yolk
3/4 cup real butter, melted
1 11 0z bag chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325.

Mix melted butter with eggs, sugars, and vanilla- blend well
Add dry ingredients and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened
Fold in gently the chocolate chips
Drop by 1/4 cupfuls on ungreased cookies sheets placing about 2 inches apart
Bake 17-20 minutes, depending on your oven
Let cool, then remove to an airtight container.
These are big cookies, and the batter will look somewhat messy, but not to worry!
If you follow the directions, it should turn out like this.....

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

If it Ain't Broke, Don't Fix it!

My husband tells me that all the you think after 21 years of wedded bliss I would listen to him- but no, I don't.

For example, whenever I find a recipe that everyone likes, has loved for years, and I see a new way of doing it, one that sounds even better, I go off and try it. And it 9 times out of 10 is a flop. Then I tell myself, that's it! I will NEVER change the way I do it again...this recipe is in the family treasure vault for eternity -never to be changed...but still...I am a sucker for trying something to see if it could possibly be better than the tried and true way. (It's one of my weaknesses!)

My husband complains all the time that some day I will be wanting to exchange him because I like trying new things...well, he is safe in that department. It took me too long to get him to where he is now. Starting over would be a monumental challenge of gigantic proportions. Besides, I tell him he is one thing I don't want to change. (Ok, maybe I do have a secret list in my head but don't tell him that...)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Susan's Cinderella Story

Once there lived a young girl in Scotland. She lived a very simple life, and grew up facing many obstacles. Throughout her life, the girl harbored a secret dream that some day she would sing for the whole world, and for years she kept the dream inside of her. One day her chance came- and despite many who gave her a hard time , she kept going…. and sing before the world she did! And the world is glad she is sharing her beautiful voice, and will hopefully do so for years to come!

This special character is in tribute to Susan Boyle’s strong will to keep going even though many gave her a hard time for doing so. I created her in a black sequin dress, wine velvet cloak with fur trim, and a small silver crown upon her new stylish hair do. She stands a petite four and a half inches tall and is a perfect gift for the Susan Boyle fan- or as a little self reminder about what good things can happen when you keep trying!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sometimes You're the Statue...

Have you ever heard, " Some days you're the pigeon, some days you're the statue"?

I guess I never thought about it, but yes, there are days that life is like that.
For some reason, those days seem to last all day, not just minutes!

Take last Wednesday. I got up, decided I would get grocery shopping done early for once. Went out to the van , and it wouldn't start. The battery was dead. Pooh! I decided to drive our other car to save waiting on charging the battery.

Drove off and look at dashboard and realize the gage says "empty". Stopped at gas station, filled it with some gas, drove off and realize that the speedometer isn't working, and in spite of filling with gas, gage still says empty.

I kept driving anyway and tried to guess for 20 miles how fast I was going by how many cornstalks I drove past within 10 seconds. (Not a great method, but I tried!)

Got groceries, came back put them away. Went to work on some things and noticed a lovely fragrance of soap in the air. "How nice, the house smells so fresh and clean, " I thought. Went to laundry room and found out a 2 gallon bottle of laundry detergent has fallen of the vibrating washing machine and the broken cap let the detergent spill out and cover the entire floor of that room...not fun to clean!

Finally, I went to the fridge and reached in to pick up a jar of Miracle Whip, one of my teens had not closed the lid and , yes- you guessed it, the lid came off and the contents of the jar hit the floor, all over my feet and clothes, and a large portion of the kitchen floor.

Well, I have to say, over all, I handled myself crying, throwing of fits, or running away to Bermuda...I really did see the humor in it so I figured things would surely be better the next day- and they were.

So try to remember to keep things in perspective when you can, and laugh when those days happen. You only have a few thousand of them to go!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Susan Boyle's Interview

For those who may be interested, here is Susan's latest interview where she recieves the gift I made for her...I am so happy she got it, and seemed happily amused to get it!

I look forward to her upcoming CD this fall!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


(Susan's New Look)

I have to say this week has been one full of surprises for me...I got a call from my mother in law this past Wednesday morning telling me that she had just seen my Susan Boyle miniature I had made in honor of Susan's outstanding accomplishments on a clip of the Today Show. I was shocked because I had no idea that was going to happen!

The full interview was on America's Got Talent that evening.,...and I was so happy that I got to see Meredith Viera give Susan the little miniature and that she looked happily amused by it. I love Susan Boyle, she is a lovely person and I cannot wait until her CD comes out, I will be first in line to get it if I can!

At any rate, I have enjoyed getting to watch Susan become an outstanding success- I just know she will do wonderfully in the months to come. I wish her all the best!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Queen Mary of Scots

I haven't been on here for quite some time...shameful I reckon...but I guess like some bloggers, I have been busy with so many things, I forgot to post anything here!

Anyway, I got contacted the other day from a lady in the United Kingdom asking me if I could do a Queen Mary of Scots. Of course I could! Now the problem is which portrait did she want me to do it from? Well, I sent her three and she picked my favorite, the one in which Mary wears a red full dress encrusted with jewels and wears a hat tilted to one side with feathers on it..(My husband and I had a debate on that...he insisted that she had little puffy cotton balls on her hat in the portrait, but I insisted they were FEATHERS!-I disagreed and did what I wanted, which was to accent the hat with feathers, what else?

I completed her last night and sent her off across the ocean, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed that particular commission! I love to do something that proposes challenge...which may explain why I had four kids.....

Sunday, June 28, 2009

It's Done!

Well, after 2 weeks of hard labor, hubby got the big doghouse done. He has never made one before, and I have to say, when I saw him building it in the garage, I wondered how we would EVER get it to the back yard. His solution was that all of us as a family- he, I, and the four teens we have- were going to use our mammoth strength to carry it back there. Umm, right...

Well, it didn't happen because after he finished it, he realized it was too heavy for even 6 people to carry between them. How did he do it? He and our strapping teen son rolled it back there a bit at time...go figure...I thought for sure it would fall apart, but I guess it was built way too strong and solid to do that.

Now, the dog is befuddled. He has this fabulous "mansion" and he isn't quite sure what to make of it. I don't think he realizes it is for him. I tried crawling in there and he came in for 3 seconds the first time...the second time he came to the door and looked in at me like I was a kook, then turned around and left. ( I guess I am a kook..but that's another story)....

Well, I will keep trying to convince him it is his. I sat in there today and it was so roomy that I pondered the personal use I could get out of the doghouse. It would be a good place to hide when the in-laws visit...or when I don't want to clean out the fridge... we'll see...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In the Doghouse...

We have a family mutt...he is a Humane Society special and we have had him for 8 years, since he was a pup. Buck is his name and he is part Husky and Terrier mix.

He is what you call an outdoor dog. He doesn't like staying indoors, especially during the winter- mostly because he has a fur on him so thick that you can't hardly bathe him. He knows what you mean when you say "snack", "squirrel", "kitty cat", and "go for a walk"....and he knows "sit", "stay", "lay down", "speak", "roll over", "high five", and "shake". If only I could train him to follow, "do laundry "...

My husband tries to pretend he isn't real fond of Buck...but I secretly think he is. Out of the blue a week ago, husband decided he is going to build Buck a new doghouse. The old one is a simple plastic thing he's had for years. My husband is a lot like Tim the Tool Man Taylor in Home Improvement...he does things in a BIG way.

He went to the hardware store and began off the cuff designing a dog house. This doghouse is going to be so big, I dare say husband and I could both fit in it together...not a bad idea if we need to escape from our four teens in the house...

It will have wood slatted boards covering on the outside, tiles on the roof, a built in dog house heater for the winter, a swinging door , and even a mini porch roof to insure the elements won't get in. I think when he gets it done, the neighbors are going to think my mother in law is moving in it because it almost looks like an in-law quarters...eeek!

When it is fully done, it will be stained nicely and will most likely look like a wooden cottage...I may even go in it occasionally to read a book in peace...who knows? Finished pictures to come when the finished product is outside and ready, so stay tuned! :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

In Honor of Father's Day...

" He who is taught to live upon little owes more to his father's wisdom than he who has a great deal left him does to his father's care"- William Penn

I know not everyone has had a great father, and for that I am very saddened. I was fortunate to have been blessed with a terrific father, and for that I am truly thankful.

I can remember my dad coming home from work, (he worked at Chrysler). and he'd always wear these pocket T-shirts. When he'd come home, I'd often run to greet him at the door and he'd swoop me up and I'd hug him...while sneakily reaching down into his t-shirt pocket...where I knew he always carried a packet of Doublemint gum.

Dad never had a lot of money, but he made sure we had the most important things, like any kind of ice cream or special treat when we were sick... He'd take us as a family to church, and when we three siblings were young- up until our mid teen years- we sang gospel songs together at nursing homes. I think that is one reason today I am so fond of the elderly!

Dad always took us to lots of places for fun, but they weren't costly, he didn't have that kind of money. He and mom would pile us up in the pick up truck and we'd go to a school playground and have fun on the swings, or go to a park and play there. One of my favorite places was the A and W root beer stand- That is the only way I will drink root beer to this day, in a frosted mug at a stand. (Odd, huh?)

I can remember my teen years and going on dates...and going out the door one evening and having him say, "Better button that shirt up a few more ." Ok, Dad, I will...even though it was already up my neck as it was! :) Or the time a guy I dated hurt my feelings really badly and unbeknownst to me, Dad took him aside and had a "talk": with him. My Dad was and is a gentle spoken man , but whatever he said, that was the end of dating that guy! :)He told me before I got married that no dad really ever thinks the man his daughter marries is good enough for her. (I like to tell that one to my husband every once in awhile to tease him...

I want to say I am glad Dad has passed on to me is his sense of humor, and the importance of having a deep faith in God. My Dad jokes, teases, and laughs quite often. Not everyone appreciates humor, but I can relate to that too! I would rather laugh then cry or be crabby any day!

So, happy Father's Day to all, especially you Dad, and thanks for raising me to have fun in life! I am grateful! :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

What I Do When Creating...

Do you ever wonder what other artists are doing when they're working on a new and creative project? What kind of music are they listening to? Do they watch television? Do they sit silently working? Are they sitting in a studio throwing scraps of material everywhere, or spilling paint on their clothes?

Well, here's what you will find me doing...Sitting at a large table by a picture window at the front of our house, my "studio" so to speak. You will see boxes of supplies sorted in various corners, and scads of fabric tucked in plastic bags in those containers...sorted by type of fabric. If you look under the chair where I sit, you will find a million bits and pieces of fabric, ribbon, that bit of trim I accidently dropped but didn't bother to pick up yet because I was waiting to drop more things to make it worth my while to bend over and pick up several things at once. (Sorry about that run on sentence!)

I also keep the curtains open so I can watch the neighbors, what few we have in the middle of cornfields, and see the storms playing themselves out on the unbroken horizon, or the sunsets...(I don't do sunrises, too hard to get up!)

The biggest thing I do though, while doing my art work is that I have to have noise. I know, you are thinking, "If she has four teenagers at home, why would she want more noise to do her work?" Working in silence is not my thing. Not any noise will do though. I have certain kinds of music I listen Paul Potts, Andrea Bocelli, and some gospel music. But, the biggest thing I do, is watch dvds of old t.v. shows and movies. I watch dvds of shows like- I Love Lucy, Waltons, The Andy Griffith Show, Little House on the Prairie, and ( ok, this may be weird)... but I watch The Three Stooges occasionally too.

And yes, you will most likely find paint, clay, and bits of thread all over my clothes...I have a work apron if I could just remember to put it on once in a while...

So there you have it, a little peek into what I do and where I am at when I am making my art. I always think it is interesting and a bit insightful to hear of how others do their crafting and designing a project.

Where and what do you do when you are creating???

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Can You Guess Who This Is?

I love doing caricatures of famous people, well known characters, or authors, etc. It is a big compliment to me when someone knows who the character that I made is without me telling, for are some ones I have done and see if you can tell who they are.... And I won't post the answers! :)

How did you do??

Friday, June 5, 2009

Yes, I Really Have Read it 12 Times!

Gone With the Wind, that is! I discovered it back when I was in high school...I don't remember how I found it...but I do recall liking it so much that every so often I would check it out again from the library, and read it over...and I really have read it 12 is one of my favorite fictional classics!

Not sure what it is that appeals to me so much..maybe it is the time period, the descriptive writing, or that all through it you want to be annoyed with Scarlett because she is so spoiled...but somehow you sort of end up liking her too...go figure!

One thing is for sure, I like the movie, but really can't say I like it like the book itself. As is common, the movie leaves out a lot of must have details to get the full effect of the characters and story . If you have seen the movie, but not read the book, it is a must read, I really mean it! You will get a lot more feel for the story and the characters so much better!

My niece gave me a leather version of the book this past Christmas and I was so happy I could have carried it with me everywhere I went! But for now, it sits on my shelf, waiting to be read for the 13th time in my life...and I just may do it!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Vacation Time

I don't know if our family will be going on a vacation this summer yet or not...but if we do it will most likely be camping in our pop up camper with a dog and four teenagers...doesn't that sound romantic? Actually it isn't so bad...

When I was a kid, I remember some vacations I never forgot- like the time my dad took us to Disney World. I remember I wore polyester pants that day, (I was 9) and there was a little cart train that took all of us to the edge of the massive parking lot. At that moment, the skies opened up and a sheet of rain came down so hard I couldn't keep my eyes open to see...and the rain quickly soaked my pants so that they slid to my my two siblings and I took off running like crazy trying to figure out where to go...we gave up and crouched down by a car to shelter ourselves, and pretty soon we heard my mom screaming "Kids!kids! Where are you?" (We still won't let her forget that one! ) And, to top it off, Dad had run to get the car and the rain was so bad, he drove past all of us and we had to chase after him!
After we got in the car, my older sister cried about her camera being wet..(sheesh!)

Or take the time Dad decided we should all go camping, and he bought a waterproof tent that was not waterproof...we found out the hard way when he set it up that nioght and it poured rain. Nothing stayed dry, not even the cereal, and of course my older sister cried- again!

Well, as many say, sometimes the things we do that seem not so funny at the time, will indeed eventually produce a chuckle in our memory. I know that to be so, because I still laugh at all the vacations Dad took us on and they ended up having some mishaps!

Hopefully my brood will do the same!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Just A Quick Note

Lest any of you followers think I have fallen off the face of the earth, I haven't...yet, anyway!

I have somehow unwittingly been caught up in the tide of Susan Boyle mania and have been busy answering emails, phone calls, and other such things. regarding my Susan Boyle character mini. I surely am rooting for her, she has had to endure a lot of sudden attention...and I must say this whole experience for me has made me feel for those who have to be under public scrutiny. It's amazing the opinions and remarks that others will spout off about someone they have never met- I guess that is the unfortunate side of publicity, it brings out the nice comments, but also the cruel and cutting ones too.

Well, the best of luck to you Susan, I mean that! I want you to make that audience rock tonight!!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Paul Potts

Ok, you must be wondering since I have talked about Susan Boyle, and now, Paul Potts, that I must watch Britain's Got Talent. Well, I do, on YouTube of course... and I have to say Paul Potts won me over immediately as did Susan.

If you haven't watched him try out on Britain's Got Talent, I urge you to. There was something so touching about how he was this very ordinary guy, working in a cell phone warehouse, and he harbored this special singing voice that most likely his co workers had no idea he had. Then he comes very timidly ,and looking very uncertain, onto this stage-in front of the notorious Simon Cowell, and the other two judges, and a huge audience...and he belts out a rendition of Nessun Dorma that made tears spring to my eyes. I liked him so much, that I immediately went into action and hunted for his cd...and now I can listen to him sing all the time , especially in my art studio. I just love working to inspiring singing!

The story of Paul Potts and Susan Boyle makes me think of something constantly now. When we go out to work, or just our daily business...I am willing to bet that we are surrounded by people who have a talent that hasn't been broadcasted...something wonderful, spectacular, and like these two, it stays hidden from the public world.

Many extremely talented people have normal, even mundane lives and you'd never know they could sing beautifully, or maybe paint a beautiful picture, or a hundred other special talents.It goes to show you, once again, what looks dull, ordinary, or simple and plain on the outside, could be sheltering something unbelievably special. It sort of makes you look at those around you with new eyes, doesn't it? It's a lesson we all need to be reminded of, I think!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Making Edgar in my Sleep

Edgar Allen Poe, that is...

When I first started doing miniature characters out of wooden clothespins, I made only female characters for the longest time. I found them easier to do. But, I knew that if I wanted to challenge myself, I would have to do male characters. Oh how I hated doing the suits...eeek! My first attempts were awful, in my opinion. I butchered them...

Well, persistance pays off folks...I kept at myself...learning, trying new techniques, and now I have practiced and learned and taught myself to the point that I no longer shy away from male characters... I can do Rhett Butler, Mark Twain, just about any one, kings of all kinds, and my top selling man character, Edgar Allen Poe and the Raven.

It takes patience to make things on such a small scale, but I have trained myself to have it and it has paid off...but as with most successes, it did NOT happen overnight! I have found that if you do something often enough, you can improve to the point that you really almost could do it in your sleep!

So maybe before I go to bed, I will bring my art supplies to my bedside tonight and see if an Edgar Allen Poe materializes while I am sawing never know!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Moms Will Always be Moms

Moms are funny seems to be a consistent quality of mothers to worry about all the things that no one else thinks of. And no matter how old you get, your mom will still act like a mother...

Just the other day I drove almost 3 hours one way to visit my parents just for the day with my four teens in tow.When I got there, my mom asked me what time I got up to get ready to come. "I've been up since 5:30 Mom" I reply. She shook her head and said, "You ought to go lay down and take a nap before you leave today or you will be too tired to drive home..." I'm fine Mom, really...I get up at that time every day to see Hubby off to work- really, I do.

Later, as I got ready to leave for home after the visit, my mom asked me if I was sure I had enough gas to get home. Hmmm?

Let's see...I am middle aged, raising four teens, married over 20 yeaars, worked several jobs including an online business and my mother asked me if I was sure I had enough gas to get home? Errr...that must be a "mom" thing...

Then, after I assured her I had filled the tank before I came, she proceeded to tell the kids to make sure they talked to me all the way home to keep me awake. Eeek ! That would have driven me nuts to have four teenagers talking to me non stop for 3 hours in a closed in space while driving at 65- 70 mph....I assure you!

But that wasn't the end of it- my parents both walked to the end of the yard and their heads moved back and forth together in synchronized rhythm watching for cars they thought I wouldn't see as I backed out. And right before I pulled away, I was instructed to call them when I got home so they could rest at night knowing I had made it home. (I did , by the way or Mom really would have worried about it until I called.)

I guess I have to admit though, I am most likely as bad as anyone in this husband laughs at me when I give a flurry of instructions when my teens go off somewhere..."Call me when you get there, don't speed, let me know where you are..." and my personal favorite thing I say, "Remember to behave yourself because God is watching your every move and He'll tell me if you misbehave.."

I tell Hubby when he tells me to stop worrying that it is my duty and job to fret over the kids because someone has to since he doesn't do it enough for my taste...He still laughs at that one and I don't know why....

I guess I am like my mother after all...

Monday, May 4, 2009

I Hate Having to Home Sell .....

No, we do not plan on selling our house - we just moved here a year and half I am hoping that doesn't have to happen any time soon. (But with the job market being so strange, who knows what can happen?) I simply do not like the whole process of selling and moving.... at all!

At any rate, I have been through two home sellings, and to me the worst part is trying to cope with the people coming in to see your house. I have gotten in some ridiculous situations with when I had just made dinner so everything was in shambles in the kitchen and the realtor calls and asks if they can show the house in 10 minutes . I should have said no, but what did I do? I said yes and proceeded to shove every pan, plate, dish etc etc under the sink in the cabinet, even the food... I have no idea what the people thought when they smelled fried chicken coming from under the sink, but I don't think they bought the house...someone else did.

And once when a realtor called and wanted to show the house...we set a time, and they walked in the door an hour early, (without knocking I might add!) There I was, with my four kids sitting in the floor, and I am pretty sure we scared those people as well as they scared us...

Or take the time I had had it with having to get out of the house on those spur of the moment showings so I decided I would climb up in the tall playhouse attached to the swingset in our yard. I thought they wouldn't even see me up there. What happened? The couple being shown the house looked out the window at the same time I decided to peek over the top of the play house and I think I turned them off from buying...After all, wouldn't you be deterred if you saw a middle aged lady in a kid's playhouse peeking at you at the house you were considering buying?

Well for now, I hope that is something we just don't have to do any time soon...I don't think I could stand the thrill of it all. But if we do have to, I am practicing the words, " Tonight isn't good, or tomorrow AFTER dinner.."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Susan Boyle

How I loved watching Susan Boyle on You Tube...I bet my husband and I have watched that video at least 50 or more times... I think it is fascinating how confident she was in front of the somewhat scary Simon Cowell - she didn't seem a bit intimidated!

I told my husband what no one would come out and say was because she was not considered beautiful by worldly standards, and was older to boot, well, she couldn't have been any good could she? I cheered for her over and over when I heard her sing... In fact, I even got teary eyed- why? Because she was showing everyone that beauty comes in different packages, and not to judge something because it isn't carried in a pretty and sparkling package.

In honor of Susan, I creatd my own Susan Boyle character miniature. I had a lot of fun making her, and I hope you enjoy her!

P.S. If you haven't heard Paul Potts on Britain's Got Talent, you really should watch it on You Tube.It is very touching too, much a story like Susan Boyle, only I believe Paul was much less sure of himself on stage than Susan!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Some Revamped Nursery Rhymes....

Mary had a little lamb
It's fleece was white as snow
and everywhere that Mary went,
the lamb was sure to go...

It followed her to school one day.
which caused a lot of smiles.
Unfortunately though, it got kicked out-
for leaving "little piles".....

Jack wasn't nimble,
Jack wasn't quick,
He didn't quite jump
oe'r the candlestick...
And as you can see, his clothes tell the tale
of how his stunt really did fail!

Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet
eating her bowl of goo,
when along came a spider,
who sat down beside her,
and got squashed by Miss Muffet's shoe!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Books, Books, Books

I love books...all kinds, but especially the classics and well written history. (Not that you couldn't tell that by looking at what I design)- but I can clearly remember how it all started...

I never went to kindergarten, I went straight to first grade. I think I may have been at a slight disdavantage, because I seemed to be of the few who really didn't know much about reading. I remember the teacher on the first day sitting me at a back table, opening a basic reader, pointing to a word and asking me what it was. I stuttered over it and after a few pages of that, she huffed and said basically "you can't read, you are in the "green" group." That somehow seemed an insult the way she said it. It was the lowest group in the class, but I do remember that by the end of that year, I was in the top group, and by second grade when I discovered the school library, well, I went sailing past with flying colors. My favorites were stories like Grimm's Fairy Tales,Wizard of Oz, and Little House on the Prairie.

Snow White and Rose Red:

I fell in love with reading, and have kept it up ever since. I read all the time, and often have several books going at once. I have spent many an hour that way!

Charles Dickens:

About 8 years ago, my hubby gave me part of my dream by buying me about 5 ceiling high oak bookshelves for me to start filling up. He knew I had always wished for a library of my own to have all the books I wished I had read. And as of today, I have over 350 books on the shelves- and have been trying to work my way through them in between the days and happenings of life.

Maybe not everyone likes to read- and there are a lot of books that are, shall we say,"rubbish"? But one can't deny that a well written book is like taking a trip.. you can go places and meet people and learn things you would never dream of! And that's hard to beat! So get to reading!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Lipstick Factor

I was talking to my sister one day and we were talking about how when money was tight how we hate not buying anything. Cutting back is one thing, but eliminating any luxuries at all is a real bummer.I was told that when people buy something even in the hsrdest of times, it is called the "lipstick factor".

Evidently during the Depression and even the World War II years, many women got tired of cutting back and doing without all the time, so they looked for some small way to compensate by buying a little something to make them feel not so deprived. They would buy something affordable, yet make them feel as if they had splurged-therefore, lipstick was often bought because it was a luxury- but affordable. I like that idea! I do the same thing as a matter of fact!

When I have little money, I don't let it stop me from buying everything cold turkey. I may buy some new fabric, a chocolate bar, some new make up, or even something I have my eye on at Etsy- I just wait till I need a little something special after cutting corners until I start to feel deprived.

Now mind you , a new car , a new leather sofa, diamond necklace, a cruise to Alaska, and a cleaning maid would be nice pick-me-ups ...but certainly not feasible. So, I think of a little something that will feel like a little luxury, but not cause me guilt knowing that my utilities will be cut off because I chose to buy the item over bills that must be paid!

At any rate, my advice to anyone going through a tough financial time is to put the must pay or else items first, and certainly be wise in budgeting...but whenever possible don't forget to treat yourself to a little something now and then!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'm Back!

For someone who likes to talk as much as I do, I have been sadly neglactful of my blog..shameful, I know.

I guess I just got caught up in all the stuff that is going on lately...Easter happened to fall on my husband's birthday. Since we live in Illinois, we have no friends or close relatives nearby so I made sure I celebrated it with him as big as I could. (He hates being fussed over, but not me! Bring it on, I say! :)

I took him out to eat at a nice restaurant, and I bought him two Star Trek Model kits- a great sacrifice on my part since I really despise science fiction! He loves it, so I humor him! (Sort of like he humors me sometimes by going into fabric and craft stores- even if he could care less!)

We finished the celebration by my grilling marinated ribeyes-with baked potatoes and cherry cheesecake on Sunday after church. I am not an expert griller, but I managed not to burn anything, and even though I smelled like a smoked ham the rest of the day, I was glad everything came out all right!

Now, I can get back to making a few new designs to add to my shop....

Monday, April 6, 2009

To Facebook or Not?

I am not sure how I feel about these socializing websites nowadays...they are great if you want to stay in touch with Uncle Eggbert in Kalamazoo, and chatty Cousin Bertha in Topeka. But I am a private person in some ways...believe it or not! So I am not sure how I feel about it.

I guess Facebook has it's plus side...

You can find friends on there you have always wondered what happened to them, you can talk to relatives that you want to talk to and not have to stay on a phone for two hours listening to them tell about going to the proctologist, you can see who is doing what to whom by reading in on their converstions and postings- (especially handy if you work for the National Enquirer... ) You can even see how much weight people you haven't seen in forever have gained, and how old everyone looks, which either makes you feel worse about yourself in comparison...or better!

But, on the negative side...

People can see what you are saying to someone else, and certain information should just not be posted in a public forum, if you know what I mean. And really, what is the deal about posting daily snippets about every move you are making that day? Who really cares if you are thawing out a roast for dinner, are now going to the bathroom to read the newspaper while you sit, or are filing your taxes... or that your dog just barfed on the couch?

I am amazed at the info that people post on their pages ...romantic, mushy endearments to each other , gripes about their boss, the color of the boxers their hubby is wearing that day...all fodder for nosy people (like myself) to read and draw conclusions from, speculate upon, and make smart comments on...Not a good idea if you ask me.

My bottom line is this...I am very careful what info I divulge to such a wide audience....and I post only the pictures that make me look as if time has hardly touched me.(If only I could just find one!)..and I don't add people whom I really don't want to connect to. Someday I would like to just get off of Facebook- but for now it is a good tool to use to spy on my teenage daughter-at least until she reads this blog!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

You MUST buy some of these!!!

My sister told me about this shop on Etsy where this wonderful crafter named Mary Ellen makes the most DARLING crocheted eggs (and the price is outrageously reasonable!) So, being one to never pass up a chance to peek at something that sounds that good, I did!

And these are soooooo darling, I just had to share! Mary Ellen makes these little crocheted eggs in the prettiest shades of crochet thread, and they are just the size of a regular egg!

How does she do it? I don't know, but every artist has their secrets and their talents, and these eggs are a must have! I bought some for my mother and she just called this morning gushing over them, she was thrilled!And I was feeling so nice I even bought some for my mother- in -law...which judging from my mother's reaction to them, she will LOVE them too!

Go check out Mary Ellen's shop and get some of these for yourself and anyone whose good side you want to get on, before it's too late!