Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Memories

A couple of views of the (second) beautiful poinsettia Steve bought me this year.

Some of my favorite ornaments and people.

Mistle-toad - I remember how much I loved him when I bought him. Pull the string and he kisses & croaks.

I love this making garlands ornament. My sister Terry and I used to make these.

Steve salutes:

A little soldier salutes:

The Claus kiss:

How disgusting when it's so hard to tell these are not three sisters, but two sisters and their mom (my baby sister).

One of the above sisters (my youngest niece) with another of my youthful-looking little sisters.

Little squirrel, big cookie!

These little bear angels have been a part of many of my Christmases.

Speaking of longevity, this little angel taking a walnut sleigh ride is one of my oldest ornaments.

One of my newer Christmas decorations is this sweet Santa pillow. I can't imagine spending the time sewing all of those buttons on!

Last, this reminds me of many years ago when we took a then toddler niece out looking at Christmas displays. When we'd say, "Look, Celeste! There's Santa!" She invariably asked, "The real one?" No, Celeste, this is the real one, incognito on the day after Christmas:

Sunrise Christmas Eve

I was almost late to work. When I saw the peeping of the pink sky to the East, I drove around a block to get a better vantage point. Here are two shots of that beautiful sunrise. Had I had more time, I'd have looked for a more photogenic site from which to snap my pix.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A sight on my way to work...lonely old ice cream stand. It will be crowded when it opens again in late spring.

A Christmas gift I made this year. I'd seen the quote tacked on an office wall and thought it might be appreciated matted and ready for framing. Here's hoping! The paper is painted with acrylics and the lettering is pointed pen in ink. The thins aren't as sharp as I'd like - I believe that has to do with the acrylics as base. : (

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Cards 2009

If you didn't get your card, my apologies. The post office sent 6 of them back to me - too thick to go through the machines. They can send a semi truck to Chicago with only one postcard on board (true story on the news tonight in Louisville!) but they would rather return 6 of my many cards for being too thick than run them by hand. (All are the same thickness. Wonder how the survivors made it through - and wonder how those 6 made it back to me. I can only surmise that maybe the rest are on the PO floor somewhere.) Fa la la la la.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Good Will to Men - Tis the Season

Before I left town Friday after work, I took this photo of the house at the end of my street all decked out for Christmas. Very old-fashioned looking. I love it! (Sorry that the photo is slightly crooked. I could Photoshop it, but not now.)

I visited my good friend Donna & her wonderful husband Tim for the weekend. The main highway I travel to her house is usually sparsely traveled, but being a Friday evening, commuters were plentiful and I had to pay close attention as I headed southwest. I listened to one of my employer's books on tape to make the four hour drive pass more quickly. Unexpectedly, in the twilight about two hours into my drive, I saw ahead of me lights twirling like a comet. I thought of the recent Russian rocket explosion, but could tell soon enough that these were headlights twirling in the sky. A car in the eastbound lane was spinning over and over above the divided highway. It landed upside down, and the car in front of me and I pulled over.
A few cars headed east soon stopped too. I had no cell phone and felt helpless. The young man in the vehicle that had stopped ahead of me was the first responder. Soon others on that side of the highway joined him in his rescue attempt. Someone had phoned 911, and shortly an ambulance did show up - but it was headed west and had to make a long detour to get back to the site of the wreck. I stayed, though I could do nothing...just in case I was needed for anything. Once the ambulance arrived I left. It was pitch black now and I prayed and wished on the first star I saw for the victim's safety and for the young people who had stopped to offer aid. It was good to see the public and unselfish concern for a fellow man. Godspeed all travelers this Christmas season.

I went to Donna's at her invitation partly because I hadn't been to visit for almost a year, and partly to see the 'loot' she had snagged at a recent estate sale in her area.
Her treasures were many, and she even gave me a large leather ledger to use in my art. I love it! These Chinese gents were favorites of mine.

I also loved the painting of a group of choirboys and a slender nun, which I recognized from her mother's house. I had admired it at her mother's and had talked to her about it once when I stayed with her, and now it was on Donna's wall. Something about it pleases me.

Donna and Tim recommended that on my return home I detour to Princeton, KY to see Adsmore, a museum and former home of a wealthy family in the town. It was just as they'd said it would be and I got a private tour. No ropes to mar the view. It's 'hands-off', and it was tempting to touch and sit, but I restrained myself. It was a glimpse at a talented family's life on Christmas Day 1901. The furniture was exquisite. Taking photos of homes from the driver's seat apparently leads me to get a crooked slant. Just a tad. The home is quite beautiful.

In Louisville one day last week I snapped this photo of a lonely bicycle. It was in the lot of an abandoned drugstore. The chain tells me that it's not abandoned, though it has that appearance. Possibly someone rides to a bus stop and the bike waits for his return. Locking things like this is necessary, but I wonder how long that chain will do the trick. The SUV that had been parked in front of our house waiting for snow had its gas (full tank!) drained out over the weekend. Our yard is lit like Las Vegas yet someone came into my yard to siphon a tank of gasoline. They will have a harder time of it now. The old Explorer is nestled with its gas tank hugging the privacy fence now. Ho ho ho - Merry Christmas. I'm glad I witnessed 'goodwill to men' this weekend.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

This is why I save pretty bows

Bought a gift for the newlyweds. Had a nice giftbag and tissue. Wedding was right after work and I had to rush home to change and stuff gift and tissue in bag. Aaaack! Gift was too wide for the large bag. Sent S to store for another bag. He bought the largest wedding one he could find. Looked perfect. No! It too was too small. Had to do something quickly. I had tissue paper, but no wedding paper - only holiday and a tad of birthday wrap. No suitable ribbon. No time to worry. Found a big old ivory colored Christmas bow with a white silk poinsettia on it. Wrinkled. Flat. A mess! Why do I save these things? This is what always happens and they have to be thrown out anyway.

Not this time. I decided I had nothing to lose but time. Used my steamer on it. Not too bad. It looks about 300 times better than it did when I pulled it out of the closet. Scribbled a few glittery (Stickles) hearts on the corners of the package and affixed the card on front - hoping they'd notice the calligraphy and disregard the rest. It's not the color choices I'd have made if I'd been able to choose, but not bad in a pinch. THAT'S why I save pretty bows. This time it saved the day. : ) Now I have to try to revive the big red and gold bow I brought home from work that is going on the top of our tree there. It's about as sad as this one had been. I do love my Jiffy steamer!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Weathergram for Ann

Cyberscribes is a large but close-knit & far-flung online group of calligraphers. We recently lost a member who had remarkable talents. Her calligraphy and her art pins were wonderful, but her greatest talents were loving and living. Upon learning of her passing, our board was awash with stories many of us had never heard - good deeds done by Ann VT for other members, for strangers, for humanity. Many of us had met her - she was a sociable woman & attended many scribal events - but even those who had not felt as though they had. She had a rare and infectious warmth. She and her family suffered greatly due to breast cancer, yet when she was able to post she was always positive. She taught us much, even after her passing from this life. In her memory we lit candles for her birthday, November 24th, and many of us made weathergrams. Weathergrams typically have a fairly cryptic theme of nature, but ours were about Ann. Weathergrams are typically made of brown grocery bags (rare species these days) - but there was nothing typical about our Ann. She loved pink and purple. This is my hot pink weathergram for Ann. (Bad incandescent lighting when I took the photo tonight.) It will be sent to her family to hang outdoors if they wish from a branch, and allowed to weather until it returns to nature itself. You are missed, Ann.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Other World I & II

I finished the orange pieces from late summer/early fall. Other World I and Other World II are the working titles. They look so much richer and deeper now after a few added touches. Detail is below.

Now I have a few personal projects to complete in memory of a friend. Then my Christmas cards.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Max's Thanksgiving Caper

Ahhh! Thanksgiving! That most comforting of holidays. Surrounded by family, good food, and - comfort. Aromas waft from the kitchen - pumpkin pies baking, ham, turkey, celery and onions sautéeing in the pan for dressing. This year we were taking some food to my sister's and joining family there.

Mom and Dad were getting dressed. Dad got his new coat out;

Mom was smiling and had her makeup on.

That's the background.

Max knew something was afoot. He is no dummy.

Dad put something in the car...and left the doors open. Max jumped in. He was going too! (He decided.) He loved being around the family, and he wanted to be a part of the action. He would see the girls,
Aunt Chris,
and more.

Max would not get out of the car. Minutes ticked by. He was not budging. In the meantime, where were the car keys? They were not in the car ashtray where they'd been left. Frantic search ensued. No keys. Max in car. After 15 minutes or so, plan B was to use Mom's keys. Mom tricked Max out of the car with a solo game of fetch complete with lots of laughter - Max was too intrigued to not investigate.

Bang! Fence locked - Max inside. Lured inside house, safely tucked away.

Inside the car, yet another puzzle. The ashtray was missing. What on earth? Steve/Dad blamed Max. Jan/Mom had a hard time believing that.

Thanksgiving Dinner with family was good, we stayed to play Pictionary with Marcia and Natalie, Bobbie Jo and Landon. Marcia and Natalie beat Steve and Jan - it's a terrible thing when the mind can get 'gorilla, King Kong, monkey', etc. but can't get 'ape', and when the mind can come up with 'planets, galaxy, meteorite, universe', but can't think of 'asteroid'. Quite fun anyway, and the trouncing wasn't too bad. We were within 5 squares of the end, I think.

Friday morning, however, the search for the missing keys and ashtray began again.

Max searched high.

He searched low.
Max searched all around. Helpful guy.
He looked innocent. He looked guilty.
Aha! Dad remembered a favorite burial spot for biscuits, etc.
- there were the keys and the ashtray! It would have worked, Max, but you didn't know Mom had a second set of keys. Curses! Foiled again!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Turkey Run State Park Weekend

Spent the weekend at Turkey Run State Park in Marshall, fitting with Turkey Day coming on Thursday. I attended a Joe Fettingis watercolor workshop with my good friend Donna. I can only dream of being the maestro of the brush that Joe is.

Enjoy the scenery...covered bridges abound in Parke County, IN and we discovered a few of them.

Here's Donna's car turning onto one of the covered bridges.

When he was about three my oldest son wanted me to call him "Bubby". Probably should have. I wonder if he did this grafitti inside one of the bridges.

We stayed at the Inn in the park. The place is really nice, but the kitchen is not. The best place to eat was this 'saloon' in Rockville ten miles away.

Here is Joe's palette setup.

And here is Joe demoing.

He complimented my beginning work, but I see ALL the flaws - I'm sure he did too.

Snowy country landscape:

Value study using only Payne's gray:


We also found this little log church in the woods. (Well, it wasn't lost...) There is a huge deep ravine (big drop off!) just a few yards from the church. We hiked into one of the ravines just before our little hike to the log church. (Hiked - I, replete with walking stick that I had found on the trail. Needed it too.)

This carved tree was near the church. Memories.

Scenery is nice here. We're headed back in May to get pix with dogwoods and other spring flora.

Here are a couple of photos of the sunset the night Donna and I broke away to do a little photography. (Can't wait to see what she got with her super-duper new camera.) The first one was taken from inside a covered bridge looking out onto a creek.

This second one has our third covered bridge 'find' sharing space with the setting sun