Thursday, December 29, 2011

Project Update #2

I worked some more on my Postcard Project (the original post is here); and am updating now for those who are keeping up with it.

I added some rubber stamps with black Staz-On ink, added some watered down acrylic paint with more water sprayed on to make sure it was really diluted; then I sprayed it with alcohol to cause a bit of distortion. When that dried some, I spread some Glass Bead Gel in a few different places. It's where the areas look white. 

When this dries, it will be clear. This gel is made up of tiny tiny glass beads in a gel medium; the beads are smaller than the head of a pin and make for the best texture!

A close up of an area.

I'm considering adding some dried flowers or petals to the postcards. Here are some dried orchids and roses given to me by a friend who grows them.

A tentative flower placement. When these are saturated with gel, they will lie flat and not be easily knocked off in the mail system.

Now I'm waiting on everything to dry. Collage takes awhile, when you are making many layers you have to take the time to let things dry in between, or you regret it!

Click on any of the photos if you want to see more detail.
 Check back later to see how it's progressing!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday Story

I posted some art pictures yesterday, but do not have anything new to post art-wise today; please check back later in the week!

It was last year on the Tuesday after Christmas that I posted my first story, and in honor of that, I am posting it again. Hope you enjoy!

Christmas Past
1st story in the Tuesday Story Series - Repost

When my parents were first married, my mother became interested in a certain china pattern, Silver Pine. She was hoping to collect enough pieces to have something special for company. Then over the next decade, six children arrived and the few pieces she had collected were stored, and labeled in her mind as "someday...".  As my siblings and I became adults, and our parents grew older, we struggled every year with the "what do you get your parents, now that they really don't need anything" problem. One summer a novel idea presented itself during a conversation with my Dad. I asked him just how much my mother had of her "special dinnerware" and together we hatched a plan to really surprise her. 

I was an antiques dealer at the time, and had access to auctions, and shows where  I could find some pieces to fill in her collection. I contacted all my siblings so everyone could participate. I made a list of things she would need to complete a service for eight, plus serving dishes after my father gave me a list of what she had, and started searching. I ended up finding most of the things on eBay, and since I had several months lead time, I could take my time and search for pristine pieces. By the time Christmas arrived, I had found everything we needed and even some ice tea glasses which matched the dinnerware! All of us chipped in to pay for the things as time went along and we were all excited about the big day. 

That Christmas, we gathered at my parent's home, and all of us unloaded our car and piled the boxes on the living room floor. My mother was very curious once she got a look at the pile of wrapped boxes, but we wouldn't let her know who they were for until it came time to open gifts, then we made her wait till last. She and Dad sat down on the hearth and after opening the first box, she was speechless and had tears. Box after box was opened and china was laid out on the hearth and you could just feel her excitement! After everything was opened, she just looked at us and expressed her feelings by saying she just didn't know how to thank us, but the look on her face said it all! We quickly washed the dishes and used them for Christmas dinner and that was the loveliest table and one of the happiest Christmases I remember. Now that both of my parents are no longer with us, it is a very special memory!

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas and is looking forward to 2012!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Postcard Project

I have been wanting to create art for some time, but have been prevented by health issues and time constraints. I started a project on Saturday, sort of an experiment, and thought I would show the steps of what I am doing. In this post I showed some paint on deliwrap papers, paint I was using up as I worked on lesson from the workshop. I used those papers in this project. I covered a piece of foam core board with some of the papers in anticipation of making them into postcards.

I covered the piece of foam core with Polymer Medium as glue

then I added the painted deliwrap papers, some whole sheets and some torn ones.

After the glue dries, the board is bending, so I put some old very heavy flat irons on it to help it flatten out and leave it for awhile.

This step I really should have done first, but I measured it to see how many 4 x 6 postcards I could get out of it and cut the piece down with a rotary cutter.

I measured out the postcards and drew lines to help in placement of the collage pieces and for cutting purposes later.

While that was drying, I started sorting through my collection of scraps; some are held in this old red metal shoeshine box.

I love the old shoe form on the inside of the lid! And this is not the only container of small scraps and bits. I still struggle with the best organizational methods for this art genre!

Here are just two drawers of old papers and images. They add up fast!

These are what I have chosen to sort through for this project. Since the colors of the base  are so bright, I am looking for more neutral add-ons, plus some fibers for texture.

This is the first layer drying.

Click on any of the photos if you want to see more detail.

I will continue to work on the project this week and take more pictures. The painted deliwrap papers also make a textural contribution, and I am enjoying this process very much. Check back later to see how it's progressing!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mailbox Mayhem

Well, this morning when John went out to walk the dogs, he found an unpleasant surprise at the end of the driveway and across the road:

Busted mailboxes!

Ours is at the very bottom of the photo, it's silver. The neighbors drove up as just
I took this picture.

We found pieces all over, and judging from the pattern, it looks as though someone had something sticking out of the side of a truck or car and got too close to the boxes sometime during the night. At first we thought it had been some not too bright kids banging away with a baseball bat, but then realized it was something else, a not too bright person who knew they had hit something and took off instead of leaving a note or coming back in the daylight.  Thankfully, this is not a terrible, serious thing, just annoying!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sorry, no story

Sorry, no story today. It's one of those ache and pain days and I think the weather is making things worse. It's a normal up and down occurrence, just wanted to let folks know there would be no story. But, hopefully - next week we will be back on schedule! :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Our Sunday, Postscript

Second post today, but I had to post this- we were visited by carolers tonight! A group from our church came out about 8pm and gathered at our back porch and sang several Christmas Carols!! It was wonderful - adults and children of all ages, joining together with beautiful voices. Our dogs were not sure what to make of it at all, but we sure enjoyed it. John knew about it ahead of time, and so it was a big surprise to me!! Oh, thank you for sharing your Christmas with us, all of you lovely carolers!!! We haven't been able to put up any Christmas decorations now for several years, so it was so extra special to have voices decorating our house!!!

Our Sunday

At 8:20 this morning I was awakened out of a sound sleep by the Lowe's delivery guy calling, stating that they would like to make the delivery of our new refrigerator this morning rather than this afternoon. As the old refrigerator had rapidly lost its cooling ability during the day yesterday, I agreed and went downstairs to tell John. We rounded up coolers, and started emptying the old refrigerator and got ready for them with John staying home from church. When they arrived, the dogs were of course very excited and eventually I had to shut them up in John's office so that they would stop trying to "help" the men do their job.  They had to take off the back door to be able to get the old one out and the new one in. All in all it took them a bit over an hour to get everything done. Then we had to put all of the foodstuff back in the new one.

Later today I received a phone call from an old friend whom I haven't seen for several years and we had a great conversation for about an hour. We have been friends on Facebook, so we kind of knew what was more or less going on in each other's lives, but it was so good to talk! Being on the phone that long is usually exhausting for me, but it I was very glad we had the chance to catch up.

After resting for a while, my dear husband thought I needed to get out of the house for a drive, so we loaded the dogs in the car and off we went. As we were going down the road, I realized that I did need to get out and was so thankful for such a thoughtful husband! We stopped by Dunkin Doughnuts for a decaf latte (no doughnuts!) and then drove on down Highway 25, trying to decide what we should head toward. We hadn't been to Poinsett Bridge in awhile so that's where we went.

Poinsett Bridge was built in 1820, and has a beautiful 14 foot Gothic arch over Little Gap Creek, which probably runs on into the Saluda Reservoir nearby. It's wide enough for a carriage to cross, and was part of the original toll road that ran from Charleston SC to Asheville NC. It's named for Joel Roberts Poinsett, of Poinsettia fame. The bridge is part of the Poinsett Heritage Preserve and is now part of a hiking trail; the area is pristine and beautiful!

We all enjoyed it immensely! I could not do much walking but they have recently made public access easier and there were benches, so I could sit for a while. If you are not familiar with the bridge, I encourage you to Google it and see the wonderful pictures taken by many other people. The image above is from a postcard.

Now I am quite fatigued, but it was a good day. And I am thankful for it! My hope is that I can do some art work this week, I have not been able to in a while. So perhaps I will have something to share later!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Red and Black

A few days ago, I noticed that things I had taken out of the refrigerator just didn't seem as cold as they should be. Then I noticed that the frozen raspberries still in the freezer were squishable, and not hard as marbles. Hmmm..... I kept an eye on things and sure enough, it was obvious that the fridge was running down. We decided we had better go get another one, rather than wait for all things to thaw out as proof and drove to Lowe's yesterday. Lowe's is not my first choice, because we have always had Sears appliances and I'd rather have gone to Sears, but it was 45 minutes away and I just did not have the energy for facing the drive, and the crowded store at the mall. 

At Lowe's we chose a Samsung black refrigerator. Now my husband, an engineer, was the one who was the most enthusiastic about this particular appliance - I was almost too tired to care. He was very impressed with the design and the features, which was kind of funny as a role reversal! We told the salesman that we needed it as soon as possible, and it is being delivered tomorrow afternoon. So, the old almond color fridge will be out and the black sophisticated fridge in!

While we were there, a bright red chipper/shredder caught our attention and we stopped to check it out. I had mentioned last Saturday that John had cut a good many limbs off of a line of White Pines, and they were piled in the back yard. We have branches dropping out of our trees quite frequently, especially after a wind of any substance comes through. And it is almost always windy up here. So, we also bought the bright red chipper/ shredder!

John used it this afternoon, and I took some shots of our latest tool for country living.

The white bag catches all the chips, and we are putting them in the planting beds.

It was a little too noisy for the dogs to come any closer!

This last photo is one of the containers of pansies I planted earlier. This particular one is an old Hungarian baby bathtub which stands about waist high. We can see it from inside the house, which is great when I need a shot of color on a dreary day!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Birthday Cards and a Story: A Few Jokes

My brother and sister in law's birthdays are coming up and I made these cards for them.
I was having a low energy day, but wanted to get them off, so I just persevered with making them; when I finished, pleased that they had turned out pretty well, I realized I had done Tim's card upside down! So I gave it a rest and the next day, I cut the card in two, put it together in the right way and used patterned tape on the inside and outside so it would stay together and fold. Not too bad! The brown tape with polka dots matched the card pretty well, and the other tape looked fine on the inside. Yay!

Tim's Card

 Kayla's Card

There's glitter on the butterfly on Kayla's card and some around the T on Tim's.

A Few Jokes
38th in the Tuesday Story Series

And I really am going to share a few jokes with you! Sometimes something funny will stick with you over the years, and the following three jokes have stuck with me. When several of my nieces and nephews were young, I told the last two to them and they laughed so hard and every time I saw them after that, they would ask me to tell them again. Now, they probably aren't cool jokes any more, but I still like them!

 The first joke, I just find funny because it shows people are the same no matter what country they are from. Pride and honesty is everywhere!

#1. Diplomacy 
From the Reader's Digest, 1960's era
(true story)

A Soviet delegation from Moscow was in Texas to view several agricultural and industrial sites. The Texan leading the group of Texan businessmen as hosts used every opportunity to brag about all things Texan, and that Texas had the biggest and best of anything in the world. As they all boarded a train to travel to another site, the Texan said to the Soviets "You can travel on this train all day and still be in Texas!" to which the leader of the Soviets replied with a sympathetic smile and a shake of his head
"Da! We have the same problem with Soviet trains - always breaking down!"

#2. Bad Potato 
From the Reader's Digest, 1980's era

A man was seated in a nice restaurant and had just received his dinner. As he began to cut the potato, he was dismayed to see that it was not what he was expecting. Indignant, he called over the waitress and exclaimed "Hey! Ma'am, this potato is bad!" 
The waitress, not missing a beat, set down what she was carrying 
and picked up the potato and began to spank it.
"Bad potato! Bad! Bad!!"
And then she set the potato back on the diner's plate and said to him "Now if this potato gives you any more trouble, you just let me know!" 

#3. War
From David Brenner, on a very long ago Tonight Show with Johnny Carson
(if you retell this, be sure to use plenty of arm motions!)

A young man's country was at war, and the young man decided he wanted to join up and help his country. He joined the Army and was directed to the Field Sergeant for his gear.
The Sarge told him that they had given out all of the weapons, and the young man was disappointed. But the Sarge had an idea, grabbed a stick on the ground and thrust it at the new recruit. "What am I supposed to do with this??" he asked in astonishment and Sarge said "Easy! Just point it at the enemy and say Bangy! Bangy! Bangy!" The recruit looked at him wordlessly, and just then the Sergeant looked around and grabbed a piece of string, tied it on the end of the stick and told the man this was his bayonet. "What??" said the hapless recruit, and before he could say more, Sarge said "Sure! You just go "Stabby Stabby Stabby" using motions to show what he meant.

So the recruit went off to the front line and lo and behold, it worked just like the Sarge had said it would!
"Bangy! Bangy! Bangy!" and the enemy soldier fell to the ground!
"Stabby! Stabby! Stabby!" and more enemy soldiers were down!

He began to feel pretty confident now, seeing all the enemy lying dead on the ground around him, when he spied another one approaching over the hill.

"Bangy! Bangy! Bangy!" 
....... but the guy kept coming......

...... but the guy headed straight for him......

Confused, the recruit realized he was close enough for the bayonet, so  frantically he was yelling

But it was useless! The enemy soldier ran right into him, knocked him on the ground, and walked over him!

And the last words the recruit heard were.......


Hope you enjoyed them! :)

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Saturday, December 10, 2011


So I'm sitting here, not being able to get to sleep, thinking over what I did today. It's frustrating to have this happen on a Saturday night, because more than likely it means I will not wake in time to go to church, since it starts at 9:30. There have been many, many times over the past months when I actually could have gone, if the services started at the usual hour of 11AM, but that's not how it works here. sigh.

This morning I worked on our financial records, bringing them up to date while John went outside, picked up his chain saw, and went a little overboard. Suddenly the white pines, which had sweeping boughs which brushed the ground, are now trimmed and look very neat. I somehow miss the other though, but I am sure I will get used to it. The pines are on the property line with our neighbor and I only hope that she sees it in a positive light. We went to the nearby Mexican restaurant for lunch and then to CVS and then to a local greenhouse to pick out some poinsettias to give to our neighbors. After that, I was completely out of energy and achy with fibro pain.

I received notice that some postcards I sent to different people in Russia were big hits with them. It always makes me happy to know that a little bit of extra time taken to see what kinds of cards they like pays off. I like people to be happy!

Our local church had their big Christmas dinner tonight. I've never been able to go. In fact, I have not been able to attend a single event or gathering they have had. It's hard sometimes, you feel so isolated, and although we know that most people just don't really comprehend what this illness is about, it gets you down nonetheless. I think our Charleston friends have forgotten about us completely, even after being there for 27 years.
It's just too difficult to deal with or try to understand someone with a chronic illness, and it is compounded when the illness itself is not well understood, and people wonder if you really are as sick as you claim to be. Yes, I've heard the talk, some of it has come from my own family members. Oh well, until you know someone personally and seen them struggle with the severe limitations, it's easy to shrug off. One thing I wish people did understand is how much it means to get a card or a note from them from time to time. Of course, if you aren't convinced I'm really ill, then I guess writing a note may be an awkward thing for you to do!

I look for the things God has for me to delight in, such as the two owls, right across our road, calling to each other tonight. They will probably do that for a couple more weeks until they start a family in January. I wonder if they will nest around here.

And I received some very nice postcards today, which always cheers me up. It says someone, at a brief moment in time, was thinking about me as they wrote the card. Always nice!

Well, it's almost 12 midnight and I guess I will try once again to go to sleep.

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Complimentary Colors and a Story: Candyland

As I continue through the workshop Color, Beyond the Basics, I painted and stenciled a page of my art journal with an exercise in complimentary colors:

(click for details)

(click for details)

There are two shots, because the turquoise paint has a pearl finish and consequently it makes it hard to get a true picture. I collaged some torn rice paper with Japanese figures in the bottom right corner, and used a mixture of Crimson and Azo Nickle Gold for the orangish shade.

37th in the Tuesday Story Series

As I have mentioned before, my parents were raised during the Great Depression, and knew how to make things last, and how to "make do", sometimes to the disappointment of the children who did not want to "make do" but wanted to be more like other people we knew. One thing my parents were not very good at, however, was passing on the skill of how to make and save money. For some of us, simply telling us was not sufficient without showing us why or how to budget.

When I was about eleven years old, my father decided, unbeknownst to me, that it was time I learned about the responsibility of paid work. I knew what work was, I was the oldest of six children and there were innumerable chores to be done. And I think we received a very small allowance. But now, Dad thought I should be ready for the next step - go out and make some money. I had been looking forward to the age when I would be considered old enough to babysit, but he had something else in mind.

Returning home from school one day, I saw a very large carton in the living room. After asking what it was, we were told we had to wait until Dad came home and he would explain it. I still didn't know it had anything to do with me (and also it may have included my brother, who was a year younger, I really don't remember, but I don't think so). When Dad finally arrived, he made a ceremony out of opening the box and we all looked inside and there was ....
CANDY! Tins and tins of something called Peanut Butter Pillows. Dad explained that I would be selling the candy door to door and I would make a small profit off of each can I sold. He went on about the great opportunity of earning my own money and how he would help me open a savings account. 

After the initial disappointment of realizing it wasn't "our" candy, I thought making money sounded pretty good to me! We lived on a street which at the time was a dead end, and was about a mile long, so there were plenty of houses to buy my product. Mom and Dad purchased the first can, and Dad promised to take some to work, but I had to do the rest. 

So soon I was pulling my red wagon, loaded with tins of candy. Who wouldn't want to buy some of this delicious treat? We had each had a couple of pieces the night before and it was very tasty! Most of the immediate neighbors bought a tin, but as I went up the street, people were less and less interested. And I realized I was also very much not a door to door salesperson. I hated being told no, having them smile and shut the door. Some didn't bother to smile. It was a long afternoon. 

I trudged back home and told my Mom that I did not want to do this anymore.  I had sold several, but the amount in the box began to take on gigantic proportions. Mom said Dad thought it would be good for my character and so I had to do it; "But I never said I wanted to do it!" I exclaimed, and received The Look which made any further discussion improbable.  I took cans to school, I trundled my wagon up and down the street, sometimes trying to sell a second can to someone who had been kind enough to buy a can before. My initial, brief enthusiasm dwindled down to one statement when someone answered their doorbell:

"You don't want to buy any candy, do you?" usually muttered with my eyes cast downwards. 

I hated the sight of that candy. I hated walking up and down the street while my friends were playing. Some of them pointed and laughed, or tried to get me to give them a can. I think my father finally took pity on me, because the last few cans disappeared rather quickly and the box was empty at last! I had cleared $25 of my own (this was the 1950's, remember) and he took me down to the bank to open a savings account. He gave a little speech about adding to it and seeing my money grow. I was just glad it was over! And I really hadn't learned a thing except that I hated that kind of work!

Years later, when our daughter was old enough, we gave her a little divided box, and began to teach her about budgeting with her allowance money. One of the important aspects of a budget is to set aside "fun money", not just for essentials and that was one of the categories in her box. At 28, she handles her money very well, and has no debt to anyone, something I had to learn the hard way, I'm afraid!

Oh, and if you would like to try some of Peanut Butter Pillows, order it here!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Monday, December 5, 2011


My husband John's birthday was Saturday, 3 December and we spent some time outside in the local beauty. We drove up to Caesar's Head, which is about 30 minutes from our house, after we ate lunch at a local Chinese restaurant. I was very happy to have a bit more energy so that we could do something relaxing on his birthday! I was very tired when we returned back home, and the next day I was pretty wiped out but I am so glad I was able to do it. The past few years we have not been able to do much of anything, so this was an improvement, and John enjoyed his time!!

Birthday Boy

So glad to be out together!


He found a small piece of rock and chipped it into the shape of our state.

Thankfully we did not have far to walk. This is the overlook on top of Caesar's Head.

It was so overcast, it was hard to get a good picture of Table Rock and its reservoir.

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!