Sunday, January 29, 2006

Simple Still Life...Try Two

This small pastel started as just a doodle to see what would happen using dark brown pastel paper. One thing led to another and "3 things different" and "2 things alike" popped up... grin I'm calling it "Nuts!" While I still haven't decided whether to officially join the challenge, I sure enjoyed doing this and I find that the challenge is a great way for ideas to come about and creates a desire to practice with composition...

Friday, January 27, 2006

** Sigh !! **

Well, we got the call yesterday afternoon that we've been been waiting for... Our son called from the airport and he is on his way back for his 3rd tour in Iraq. He is a Marine Staff Sergeant and while we are sighing about his return (again) over there, he seems to feel that all the effort is worth it. He will be returning to Al Asad and says he's not sure, but current plans are for their return to the states around March of next year.
When I asked if there was anything at all that was needed, he stated that he had everything (and then some) that he needed. He said it would be around 30 degrees when they get there, but they have all the warm clothes, scarves etc that will be needed. Sooo... I have decided to send stationary and stamps...grin He says he's not sure that would work as far as getting him to write home... but that we could give it a try..grin He chuckled... I heard a deep voice yelling in the background...he said bye...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tomomi's Apricot Jam

When the kids all came home for Christmas, John's wife Tomomi brought me some of her homemade apricot jam. It was just too pretty to open and eat..grin .. so I put it on the shelf in my kitchen island so I could look at it whenever I walked by. Last night when John called he asked me if I had tasted it yet... (for the second time!) Once again I had to say no, so while he was on the phone, I did finally and begrudgingly open it, taste it and boy! was it wonderful! As luck would have it, I had made a huge pan of boiled cabbage with small sausages in it and some cornbread muffins... sooo Like I told John, it looks like I will have to find something else to look pretty on the shelf since this will be gone in a couple of days!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Fabric Postcard Inspiration

I took some pics of the new buttercup shoots emerging under the oak tree the other day... then promply got carried away cropping parts of the pictures and seeing what patterns would emerge. Then I used the effects filters to get the negative effect. I like this one. Today I will see if I can come up with something to do another fabric postcard using this as inspiration... hmmm...perhaps a little tea dying, a little acrylic, a few petals from a silk mum...maybe a few small dark buttons and long pieces of heavy yarn... hmmm

la vie en rose

During my daily roam amongst my favorite blogs, I popped over to la vie en rose. Go have a look at the latest poem she has up... you'll be happy you did!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Aunt Edna's Page

Aunt Edna sent me one of her poems when she sent me the song by Uncle Bobby. I think it is lovely. It says all the wonderful things that I have always admired about their relationship. Here it is:


Friendship is a lovely word,
On this we all agree.
But the word is not as lovely
As what you mean to me.

You gave my life new meaning
And made the gray skies blue,
And Christ who is our helper
Has made our lives anew.
We learned the Truth together
And gave our lives to God.

The way has not been easy
But together we have trod.
You bring out all my good thoughts
And the rest we both destroy,
You also helped me train aright
Our little girl and boy.

The kind of friend a wife needs
Through the years . . . is hard to be,
But thank you, Dear, for being
That kind of friend to me.

To my husband, Bobby J. Ingram -Edna L. Ingram

First Page of Handmade Book

I finally took a few minutes and tried to put a pastel sketch of Squirt (the cockatiel..grin) and the song Uncle Bobby wrote on the first pages of my handmade book. Poor Squirt kinda looks like he's a little upset with whoever was drawing his portrait!...grin I may do a little bit to finish it up later, but all in all, I thought it came out better than I expected..
The plan was to hand write the song on the facing page, but when I started calculating how much space my handwriting takes up.... it came up to at least 2 pages..grin So this is Plan B.
If you click on the pic (as with all the pics on this blog) a much bigger picture will come up.

Round Robin Letter

Every now and then I begin to miss "the old times". Like real letter writing and waiting breathlessly for "that special letter" to arrive in the mailbox. Last night, Hubby and I were sitting in my work room and the idea hit for a "Round Robin Letter". Someone would write a letter and mail to another person... that person adds a few paragraphs or something else (poem, poetry, picture..whatever) and send to another person... that person adds his/her note and mails to another person... with the letter finally returning to the original person. This can continue indefinitely with the first person removing pages that have made the complete Round Robin so the mail costs do not become exhorbitant as it gains pages and turns into a book!...grin.
So I popped off an email note to Edna, Betty and Rosalie to see if they would like to participate and .... I wrote the first note this morning to be placed in the mail this afternoon!
I am sooo excited about it. Can hardly wait for it to return!
(Update:.... The letter is in the mail!! Yahoooo!)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Rain at Last!

When we went to bed last night, Hubby told me that if rain woke him up during the night, he would wake me...grin He did! Glorious rain at last. The birds are in heaven. And to make the day that much better, my brother was passing through town this morning and gave us a call. We met him at a restaurant in town and had lunch. All around a lovely day! (This pic was taken just outside the back door at the edge of the flower bed... love that lone oak leaf...)

First Fabric Postcard

Yesterday afternoon I was looking around my very cluttered workroom and rummaging among the smaller pieces of fabric that was left after making the upholstered cornices and decided to stick some of it together and see if I could do a simple postcard. It wasn't difficult, but I still find that I just can't seem to leave an allowance around the edges...working all the way to the edge just seems to be a compulsion...(freudian perhaps...grin) As a result, when finishing the edges I managed to split a couple of the beads on the side and had to repair the string of beads with fabric glue. This one cannot be actually mailed without an envelope due to the depth of the large flowers, but I can see from this one how useful they would be as a journal project to keep track of ideas and to try new things without committing large amounts of time or materials.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

To "Simple Still Life" or Not to "Simple Still Life"

(I haven't quite gotten the hang of getting Blogger pics to line up the way I want!! So these are definitely out of order. Click on each pic for a close up view!)
I spent lots of time yesterday working up a photo to see if I really want to join the challenge for Simple Still Life. You would think it would be really easy to set up a photo with 2 things alike and 3 things different.... Well... I set it up using a fabric postcard I am working on, a thimble, a skein of thread (3 things different), two needles exactly alike (2 things the same), and took the photo.

I found that I really didn't like having the thimble standing up, so I rearranged the thimble a bit and took another one. I didn't like that one, so I rearranged the needles and took another one! That one seemed ok, so I brought it up in my photo program and thought I liked the negative shot... not. So I cropped it and brought up the frames and framed it... wow.. that looked pretty good. Then after I looked at it closer, it seemed the fabric postcard buttons made the "2 things alike, 3 different" concept a little ambiguous because there are actually 8 buttons all alike... ugggggghhh!!! So this morning I am back at square one and looking around for other subjects..

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Tie One On Apron - January

This month's Tie One On Apron is to make an apron out of something you already have... so since Hubby needed a new shop apron, a couple of pairs of jeans have a new life as an apron! This was yesterday's project and finished with the belting and neck strap this morning. They can't be seen in the pic, but for this one I put metal eyelets at the corners of the full width pocket for added strength.

Heartfelt Feeders

Do we have heartfelt birds or what?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Finally a clock for us!

Hubby finished his new design clock this morning. There are a few things he will change with the next one, but I love this one.

Monday, January 16, 2006

"Lucid Love Affair"

When I finished binding my book, I sat for a day wondering what to put in it. Then it hit me that there is a lot of talent in the family...hmmm. So I popped off a note to Aunt Edna and Aunt Betty. They both write poetry and their husband's write poetry and songs. Aunt Edna sent this song to me that Uncle Bobby wrote several years ago just after the arrival of their first cockatiel. They called it "Squirt".
Your Lucid Love Affair

When I left for work this early morning
I couldn't help but feel there's something wrong.
You were runnin' around and lookin' out the window
And couldn't hardly wait 'til I was gone.

So I slipped around and came back up in secret,
To spy upon your lucid love affair
I turned around and came up to the window
And this is what I heard when I got there:

"Squirt, you know I truly love you,
You're the sweetest little bird I ever knew.
But you know that Bobby's got a birthday,
And there's a lot of things we need to do."

"We'll bake a cake and do some fixin',
We'll decorate the room with cheer,
We'll set some plates and light some candles,
He'll be surprised when he gets here!"

You know I wouldn't take a fortune,
For the fact that I was there...
But I'll always feel a little guilty,
For spying on your lucid love affair.

-Bobby J. Ingram
I'm sure this song will be prominent in my book! grin

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Handmade Journal

The pace of progress around here has been hectic since around mid-October. During that time, Hubby built 7 picture frames for me to use for our "Hallway Gallery" to showcase our children. In the process of matting them, I found that I had several pieces of matting left over that would be just the right size (with a small modification) for book backs. After studying on it for a while I decided that I could make my own journal. So I did.
I started with 25% cotton fiber Ivory Linen paper. Taking 6 sheets, I folded them as perfectly in half as I could, then stitched along the fold using quilting thread. After sizing and trimming the mat board pieces ( 1 front and 1 back) to the right size, I picked a fabric that I really liked that had some stiffness to it. The fabric left-overs from the bathroom curtains worked great. Laying the pieces side by side, I placed the folded papers (sewn edge down) between the 2 sides to get an idea of the space needed to be left between the front and back. With this size idea, I placed the front mat over different sections of the fabric piece until I found an area that looked the way I wanted the front cover to look. Then placing both front and back on the fabric, with spacing left for the pages of the book, I marked the fabric with a 1 & 1/2 inch allowance on all sides for the fold over. A piece of batting was cut the exact size (no folding allowance)..
Using my photo trimmer, I folded all the pages on the seam line and trimmed the excess caused by folding so many pieces of paper.
Placing the fabric right side down on the worktable (after pressing to make sure all wrinkles were out), the batting piece was placed and then the mat board pieces. The corners were cut in a straight line up to edge of mat board so that when gluing the top and bottom there would be no fold of the side fabric. Using hot glue (and working quickly so I could smooth out the hot glue as much as possible), the fabric allowance is folded over the top of both front and back in a straight line (with the space left for the pages in between) and glued as smoothly as possible. The same is done with the bottom edges. Before beginning the sides, a cut was made removing the square of excess fabric in the corners. The corners were glued into a triangular edge, the the entire side glued to the mat board taking care to pull the fabric firmly so there would be no wrinkling. A line of hot glue was run along the stitched edge of the pages, then the pages were placed into the space between the back and front of the book. The front page of the book was then glued to mat board covering all edges of the fabric. The same was done to the back page. The book was closed and the ribbon was added with hot glue. All done...
I will add here that this book was an experiment to see how difficult this might be. On another book, I would try to use another kind of glue for the covering (not on the seam of the pages) as I think the hot glue dries too quickly to make a smooth finish. However.. I am quite pleased with results of the experiment.
This entire project took only a couple of hours to finish.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Hazard Pay

The last cornice is done! Ask me how happy I am about that! And in the mean time, I think I will put in for a little hazard pay..grin Those two dots on my finger are definite signs of not watching what you are doing. That's called trying to staple with 3/4 in. staples with the stapler upside down and your finger behind the working end of the stapler.. Now ask me how stupid I felt pulling that staple out the entire 3/4 inch.. I'm typing this entry way early since my finger is swelling as we speak... and beginning to hurt more with each letter typed. However... since this was the ninth and largest one we have done, I guess things went pretty well if this is the only thing that has happened.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

V-Stitch Afghan

I've decided that this year I will do the same thing I do every year. I will start my Christmas gifts early...right? This usually lasts a couple of months, then life steps in and changes my plans. Oh well, I am started early (at least for now) and am working on a delicious V-Stitch Afghan using Lion Brand Homespun that feels really luscious as I am working on it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Office Cornices

The cornices we have done have really made a difference in the way the house looks. It's amazing. We hung two of these in the office this morning. I finished upholstering the second one yesterday. The material is some that I bought several years ago to redo some chairs, then decided it was the wrong material for that particular kind of chair... so when I was trying to decide what to do with these cornices I found that this was just perfect for what we needed. The piping I put together using a blue queen size sheet and it worked out beautifully. One more to go... the 11 foot long one to go over the set of 3 windows that are directly in front of our computers. That one will have to be upholstered in the shop as my tables in my work room are only 10 feet long.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Great Grandma's Plant

During our visit with my Aunt Betty and her husband, I noticed several pots of lovely plants on her windowsill. When I mentioned them, she asked me if I knew where they came from... Since I had no idea, she told me. It seems that my father's mother's mother had them growing and she gave a start of them to her daughter-in-law Grace (who was married to my grandmother's brother Wesley). After Wes died and Grace decided to move, she had many more things than she had room for in her new home, so she gave some of the plants to my grandmother. My Aunt Betty then received a start from her mother (my grandmother). So it seems that these plants have been a part of the family for many, many years (my grandmother died in 2003 at the age of 98 years old). My great-grandmother died when I was around 2 or 3..and I am 57... so these plants have been around at least longer than 57 years.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Brokeback Mountain Cancellation

Once upon a time... long, long ago... I woke up one morning on a new planet. I had no map and even the scenery was changed from anything I had known before. Confusion and indecision dominated my mind and soul. I was lost and wandering. That was the day my son told me he was gay. I can only imagine in my worst nightmares what it must have been like for him... he had no idea what to do, had spent his childhood knowing he was different but had no clue what the difference was.. and could not talk about it. I was lost... but he had been lost and alone for a very long time.
Having grown up with family that I love very much and who are very religious, I had never been exposed to homosexuality as a reality. In my very imaginative mind, I found the idea of bigotry repulsive and vowed to raise my children with a different view of the world than what I had known. Little did I know just how much the conversations and ideas that are heard by little minds effect the base of their little souls... including mine. I had no idea just how bigoted and closed minded I was (and quite possibly still am!.. even tho I have come a ways, baby!)
This morning as I read through my Yahoo! homepage news headlines, I came across the one that states the acclaimed movie Brokeback Mountain has been cancelled in some places in Utah. My heart broke.
There has been more public awareness of the gay community in the last few years than at any time I can remember. Having someone in the family who was gay was just not something ever considered... like everything else, it always happens to someone else and opinions are formed, sympathy extended to the poor people involved and life goes on... because it is not something that will ever happen to you. It's was never mentioned in the movies and the only time it ever made the news (wow! it's really true!) was when a gay person did something bad. Hate crimes were not newsworthy when they involved crimes against gay people simply because they were gay. Invisible, hidden and therefore not real...
Well... that's not how it is.
What this blindness causes is...children who have no concept what to do when they realize that they are somehow different from the other kids.. Guilt because they have been taught their entire life that the very core of their soul is an abomination to God... Shame because of the pain and embarassment they feel will be heaped on the family they love... Fear because of the absolute conviction that their family will no longer love them... And not be overlooked here, the fear that their very life is in jeopardy due other people's bigotry. And heaven knows that they can't talk to their closed minded parents who make wonderful open-minded statements but don't back them up with any kind of reality (I am shamefully speaking of myself here).
Years have passed since that day. A lot has been learned, but usually at the expense of a wonderful son who refused to allow the bigotry and close-mindedness to put him in the position of living his life as a lie. I have much to be thankful for in life... but his strength and courage in the face of my ignorance and bigotry is one of the most important gifts I have ever received.
Brokeback Mountain is a chance... and even a small chance is better than ignorance... for so many, both old and young, to see the reality of life as it truly is on this planet. Real people with real differences.
Exposure to differences in life, even through movies, perhaps will assist some young people and better prepare them if at some time they find themselves in the position of being different. Perhaps they would not wake up some morning on a new planet, lost and with no idea where to find a map. It will be only too sad if this cancellation is a precurser to more of the same.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

A Real Artist in the Family!

We spent the day today visiting with my Aunt Betty and her husband Kenneth. What a pleasant day! After a lunch featuring steak (yeah!) and the most wonderful salad with added avocados, she showed me her artwork. This one won second place in a juried show hosted by her monthly art group. She calls it "Shepherd's Delight" and the photo just doesn't do it justice.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Playful Little Boys

Are these not the cutest little guys you have hever seen?!! These are my Christmas gifts from one of our daughters. They do soooo remind me of the days of tugs on the dress tail, running through the house and "Hey, Mama... Look what I can do!!"

Master Bedroom Cornices

This is the new cornice for the small window in the master bedroom. The large one is waiting patiently in the shop for me get it upholstered. (The project for today!) It will be twice as long as this one...approx. 92 inches. The fabric on these is very soft and shiny and as a result requires a large piece of felt fabric placed between it and the the batting causes dimpling in the fabric.
Of course, everything has to happen at once around here... Because of the drought happening this past year, we had a very large settlement crack in our outside wall in the master bedroom. The carpenter has been here fixing that and installing the attic stairs (and removing the attic fan from the hall) this week. Sooo... things are as usual...everything happening at once with some things having to wait until another is finished. Such is the case with hanging the cornices...

Blog Dust! and Beach Painting

As our son says... There's nothing like yukky blog dust! So I've dug out the duster and Lemon Pledge..
It's been a really busy week... but I did get this beach painting done. Hubby says that it needs a beach towel, a couple of kids playing in the surf and a boat in the distance...grin Perhaps I will add those, but I enjoy the idea of this quiet, rather isolated place.. It evokes a sense of peace and I may just leave it that way..
More on other projects of this week coming up!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

It's a balmy 65 degrees on our back porch here in North Texas this New Year's Day! They tell us not to get too used to this since it will be back in the 20's and 30's soon... but it's nice while it lasts! There were no firecrackers or Roman Candles around here last night due to the worst drought in 50 years, so it was a very quiet New Year's Eve.
I've spent the morning wondering if I should take out the trash, do the laundry, open all the windows or even allow my (used to be blonde...grin) husband to be the first person to walk across the threshold today. has an entire list of all the things one should do (or not do!) to guarantee success for the coming new year... since we slept through it, I guess that blows the whole idea of making tons of noise to ward off all the evil spirits and chase out the old year at midnight. But regardless... I sure hope everyone has a wonderful day and a great year! Happy New Year!