Friday, February 27, 2009

Doesn't this say it all?

I know we have three more week of winter officially, and more than that in terms of weather here in Michigan, but I couldn't stop myself from displaying a bit of spring indoors.

I went to Home Goods for one item and came home with these two additions. The wreath is across from my front door on a narrow wall, and the basket of eggs is on top of a curio cabinet at the front window. The odd looking item on the lampshade is a leaf. It is part of the shade, but doesn't photograph well.

Spring can't come too soon, can it?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sparkle and Shine

My middle name should be Jewel. I love jewelry. It doesn't have to be made of precious gemstones to appeal to me, but if you feel like getting me a present, I've never met a precious gem that I didn't like.

Last night I repaired a bracelet for a friend and strung two bracelets for myself. I played around with more complicated designs, but came back to these simple strands. The bead assortments were bought at a local bead store. The first color assortment is called Peacock, the second is Salt and Pepper.

This one reminds me of Spring...that season that can't get here soon enough... and will go well with many of my clothes.

As much as I like happy colors, I like black too, especially black and white or black and crystal, so the second bracelet works well for me too.

I hope none of you thought 'Sparkle and Shine' was going to be a post dedicated to housecleaning. I did that yesterday and you know what? Vacuuming sucks! Photobucket


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Love on Wednesdays

Today is the final Love on Wednesdays, hosted by Coloradolady. Click on the image at the right to join in the fun and read more Love on Wednesdays posts.

I was going to photograph a well worn piece of paper that is well over 30 years old and travels in my wallet, but I avoid using last names online so I will tell you about it instead. My husband (then my fiance) came to pick me up from work. While waiting for me to finish up, he used the hunt and peck method of typing and wrote "Bill loves Charlene". There is a corrected typo on one of our last names. I stuck that note in my wallet and it has lived in various wallets ever since.

Bill is a sweet and generous man, but not a shopper. (Opposites really do attract!). When he buys something completely out of the blue for no occasion, it is a huge surprise. He came home with this a few years ago and said it sums up our life. Did I also mention how smart he is? Photobucket

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pork Chops

I got this in an email and had to share....

In a zoo in California , a mother tiger gave birth to a rare set of triplet tiger cubs. Unfortunately, due to complications in the pregnancy, the cubs were born prematurely and due to their tiny size, died shortly after birth.

The mother tiger, after recovering from the delivery, suddenly started to decline in health, although physically, she was fine. The veterinarians felt that the loss of her litter had caused the tigress to fall into a depression. The doctors decided that if the tigress could surrogate another mother's cubs, perhaps she would improve.

After checking with many other zoos across the country, the depressing news was that there were no tiger cubs of the right age to introduce to the mourning mother. The veterinarians decided to try something that had never been tried in a zoo environment. Sometimes a mother of one species will take on the care of a different species. The only 'orphans' that could be found quickly, were a litter of weanling pigs. The zoo keepers and vets wrapped the piglets in tiger skin and placed the babies around the mother tiger. Would they become cubs or pork chops?

Take a look...

Now, please tell me one more time ....
Why can't the rest of the world get along??

* * * Update * * *

I should have run this through Snopes before posting. While the story is inaccurate, I think the sentiment still stands. Here is what Snopes says:

Several pictures of an adult tiger seeming to be mothering some piglets wrapped in tiger skins. The email says that the pictures are from a zoo in California where the mother tiger had lost triplets and the grieving was so bad that it began to affect her health. A search for surrogate cubs was fruitless so the zoo decided to capitalize on one species sometimes rearing the young of another species and brought in some orphaned piglets, wrapped them in tiger skins, and accomplished a feat never seen in a zoo before. One email refers to the tiger as "Mother of the Year."

The Truth:
The pictures are not from a zoo in California but the Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Thailand, a popular attraction that boasts of 200 tigers, 100,000 crocodiles, trained pigs, elephants, and other animals. The zoo features creative shows and displays of animals including these pictures of an adult tiger with piglets dressed like tiger cubs. One of the goals of the zoo is to demonstrate how animals of different species can live peacefully together. One of the experiments was introducing baby piglets to a mother tiger (who herself had been nursed by a pig) and it worked. At one time the mother tiger nursing piglets was in an enclosure next to an enclosure where a sow was nursing baby tigers. The zoo says those cubs grew faster from the pig's milk.

The story about the California zoo, the grieving mother tiger, and the orphaned piglets is a hoax that somebody decided to attach to the pictures.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Blue Monday

I've been AWOL from Blue Monday for a while, but couldn't resist participating today with these photos of fish. I am working on a project that hopefully will use these photos.

Isn't Mother Nature grand in all her glorious colors, especially her blues?

For more Blue Monday posts, visit Smiling Sally.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lost in books

Thankfully the cold I've had hasn't left me with that miserable hot, scratchy eyes feeling that makes it hard to read, craft or even watch TV. While I haven't done much knitting and zilch on any other crafts, I have watched some TV (sometimes in a zombie-like trance) and have gone through books almost as quickly as Kleenex.

I am an equal opportunity reader. I will read almost any genre, but lately I find myself drawn to light mystery series written by women. The last three books have actually been eight stories as two of the books were compilations.

This book was chosen because I like Joanne Fluke and had not read the other authors. Based on these stories, I will probably stick with Fluke when I look for another book.

This book contains the first three scrapbook mysteries by Laura Childs. She also has a tea shop series and a Cackleberry Club series of mysteries. Check her website for information on them. I've read some of the tea shop series and will look for more of the scrapbook series and also the Cackleberry Club which is completely new to me. I am comfortable with her characters. I don't walk in their shoes, but they don't behave in such an outrageous fashion that I can't empathize with them.

I am not a prude when reading, but sometimes character behavior detracts from the plot for me. Stuart Woods' books come to mind as I say this. The plots are ok, but every woman that his Stone Barrington character meets is drop dead gorgeous, wealthy, intelligent and willing to drop all her clothing for him within 10 minutes of meeting him. Free Smileys & Emoticons at Clip Art I guess I don't relate because I am merely drop dead gorgeous and intelligent. Free Smileys & Emoticons at Clip Art

Last night I finished Through the Grinder which is book two in a series about Clare Cosi, a coffeehouse manager who solves crimes with her ex-husband. I liked it well enough that I will look for the first and third (current?) books in the series.

This last picture is exactly how serene I look while reading. Except my gown is a robe. And there isn't any lace. And my hair is messier. And I wear glasses. And most noticeably at the moment, my nose is red.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Is it true love?

Remember being a very young girl and thinking you would know true love immediately? You probably had an experience that followed when your world crashed down around you when you found out your one true love didn't love you back any longer. Did you ask your mama if you would ever find true love? Or maybe you were young enough to think your mama didn't know anything, or you didn't think you could ask her such a question. I could talk to mine, but I didn't really believe her. She loved me. She was my mom. Of course she would say that I would find someone wonderful.

Next month will be the 37th anniversary of the night I met Bill. Did good friends introduce us? No. Was it a romantic setting? Hardly. It was the parking lot of a bowling alley and bar! Did I know right away? No, but after talking to him for an hour or two and not remembering what any of his friends or mine had been talking about, I knew something special was happening.

We've been married since 1975 and I've never doubted or regretted anything about our relationship and marriage. Thank you, Mom, for telling me the truth. Thank you too, to all the dates and boyfriends who came before Bill. They weren't mistakes, they were learning experiences. Thank you Dad, for having the patience to wait for me to discover their flaws instead of strangling a few of them as I am sure you wished to do. In my youth, I didn't realize what a good example my parents were setting. They were just my parents, people I took for granted.

After all these years of marriage, Bill and I sometimes discuss the difference between being comfortable and sure of each other versus taking each other for granted. Am I comfortable and sure that he loves me? Yes. Do I take that for granted? I suppose I do sometimes. Why this post on this day in my blog? Because I had a miserable cold and my dear husband who hates to go to the store and who fiercely avoids taking medication went to the drug store Saturday (Valentine's Day), asked the pharmacist what I should take that wouldn't interfere with my prescriptions and would make me feel better. I have one dose left in the box so I will be going out for more this afternoon, but I am saving the cover of the box that he bought me along with the Valentine card he gave me. The showier displays are wonderful, but the little day to day things are truly much bigger.

Is this true love? You betcha!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Get out the cleaning products!

Anyone else feel like doing some spring cleaning? I know it isn't even close to spring in Michigan, but a few warmer days here and the warmer days I spent in FL did that to me.

Unfortunately, the only spring cleaning happening here is the sponges that are now in my header. I woke up at midnight our first night home and have a lousy cold. Is there any other kind? I can't stay asleep lying down, nor can I stay awake while sitting up. This will pass, and when it does, I will once again marvel at how good "normal" feels.

Until then, keep the noise down, pass the tissues and you might want to use some Lysol on your monitor and keyboard. Free Smiley Face Courtesy of

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A good consumer's last day in Florida

Tomorrow morning hubby and I head back to Michigan. I will miss the wonderful Florida weather, but I am ready for my own bed and surroundings. I am going home rested and inspired. What could be better than that? Ok, thinner and richer would be nice, but I am not that delusional.

Last spring I met a long time internet pal face to face for the first time. As we were running around her side of Florida, she found out I had never eaten at a Chick-Fil-A. She remedied that and new fan was born. Obviously there is something drastically wrong in Michigan as we don't have one single Chick-Fil-A in the entire state. For my last lunch in Florida on this trip, I dined there and had meal combo #1. Yum!

Another establishment missing in Michigan is A.C. Moore, the craft store. I know my way in and out of Michael's, Joann's, Mary Maxim's and Hobby Lobby and can tell you the strengths and weaknesses of each. It would come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I felt it my duty to check out A.C. Moore while here. The store passed my inspection and kept forty of my dollars.

Saving my best discovery for last, I have now shopped at Bealls. Twice. I am impressed with their selection, especially their colors, and their prices. I didn't intend to shop their twice, but a second location was next to the craft store and it lured me right in. I can't take warm weather home with me, but I am taking happy colors and good memories along with web addresses for online shopping back to Michigan.

I spent a good part of yesterday on Pine Island, eating my first shrimp po' boy and enjoying the artist community in Matlacha. If we had driven down to Floria, I would have been tempted to buy something from the Wild Child Art Gallery, but flying does keep shopping in check. Somewhat. I am pretty sure I just saw this artist's works in an watercolor magazine. I love Janet Dutton's style and use of color. I don't want to copy her work, but I do want to attempt her style. Therein lies the inspiration I am taking home. I hope there is still an opening in the March watercolor class at the community college.

I also hope I can fit my purchases in my suitcase. I would hate to wear everything in layers on the way home. I may need the warmth back in Michigan, but that many layers on a plus size body is not attractive. Cross your fingers for my luggage if you don't want to see the headline
Michelin-like Mama Returns to Michigan
One too many stops at Chick-Fil-A and Bealls causes problems

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Love on Wednesdays, week 2 for me

This poor sign hangs near my front door. It has been repaired and repainted more times than I can count, and is in need of both again. The hearts were originally just glued together. Now they are glued and tacked, but when the wind blows out of the north, the sign bangs against the porch rail behind it. I am ready to do something different with it anyway, so I will work on it before I pack it away for 2010.

I wanted to take a photo of this heart at night when it is truly dark outside, but my camera leaves a lot to be desired in that effort. The room is often unlit this time of year, so the heart really glows to passersby.

In Michigan, storms and screens are pretty much a necessity. Screens prevent the Frankenstein sized mosquitoes from entering the house when all you really want is a little fresh air, and storms to stop some of the cold from leaking in around the entry door. This wreath of roses is flat enough to between the inner door and the storm door without becoming smooshed.

There are some stuffed animals scattered throughout the house with Valentine themes. Press behind the heart on this little devil and you'll hear a wolf whistle.

This bear in ladybug's clothing is sitting on top of the curio cabinet, keeping tabs on all of Cupid's happy victims.

Oops! I forgot to put the snowman pillow away. Maybe the snowman is the one who kissed the heck out of that Beanie baby!

This one is so admittedly corny, I should be embarrassed. But I'm not. Squeeze his paw and he sings "Wild Thing, You make my heart sing, You make everything....grooooooovy. Wild thing, I think I looooove you"

For more Love on Wednesday posts, please visit Coloradolady by clicking on her cute photo.

May you all know love today, every Wednesday, and every other day of your lives. It makes the world go round, you know.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Dude! I have cakes!

Do I smell cake?

Wow! It really IS a skateboard cake!



Need to make a skateboard cake for someone in your life? Bake a 13 x 9 cake and a 9" round layer. Cut the round layer in half and add one section to each end of the 13 x 9 cake. Decorate as desired. It would be just as cute without using the star tip, but I think more than one color is a good idea. Skateboards tend to be colorful. The wheel assemblies are each made of two chocolate covered Donettes (small donuts) and a Pepperidge Farm Pirouette cookie. I added a frosting star as each hubcap (can you tell I don't know what a skateboarder would call them?)

The reason for two cakes is to accommodate all the guests and offer two different flavors. Besides, it makes a good excuse to bake.

My reputation is in tact among the 7 years and younger set. The opinions of friends and relatives of advanced years should not be heeded unless they are the approved opinion list. It is a very short list.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Whirlwind wrap up

Have I been procrastinating all week? Nah, I think someone is messing with the space time compendium again. I hate when they do that.

I am baking cakes for a terrific great-nephew who is turning 4 this weekend. He requested a skateboard cake. With luck, it will turn out well and I'll have a picture of it tomorrow. It consists of a 13x9 cake and round layer cake cut in half to add to both ends to mimic the shape of a skateboard. The rectangular cake is cooling, the round layer is baking. These are chocolate. Another 13x9 cake will be baked next, a yellow cake that will have 4 plastic skateboards on it and his name and birthday greeting. One cake is never enough when everyone is together and splitting the flavors accommodates almost everyone's tastes. Baking the cakes today isn't procrastinating as the party is tomorrow.

On Sunday, hubby and I are going out of town for a few days. (That loud WooooHoooo! you heard a few weeks ago was me) I have pulled out clothes for a warmer climate, washed them and folded them. I am trying not to pack everything I own and talking myself out of ridiculous scenarios. What if we go to a 5 star restaurant with a dress code? If I take a black dress, I'll need different shoes and a purse, and jewelry and undies and...and...and... and who am I kidding? Hubby is going to FL to golf and I am going along to get out of town for a few days!

Casual slacks? Check
Dressier slacks? Check
2 pair of shorts? Check
Appropriate tops, undies, socks, jewelry? Check
Knitting project, 3 paperbacks, camera, laptop? Check
Space left in bag in case I just HAVE to shop while in Florida? Hmmmm, maybe I should go with a bigger bag.

Before starting the cakes today I had to take care of banking. Why did my car turn into Meijer's on the way home? Oh yeah, Bill wanted shoe polish for his golf shoes. I had to walk through the women's department to get to the shoe polish. Guess who came home with four new tops and new sleepwear?

I took the time to try the clothes on in the store. Two of the tops need to be shortened. I am not short, I am 5'6". Why do they make shirts almost long enough to be a mini dress? I could sew a snap to the middle of the front and back of the shirt and have a body suit! Do I take the tops that are folding and waiting upstairs or do I shorten the new ones because I am like a little kid who wants to wear the new stuff NOW?

Gee, as long as I have the sewing machine out, maybe I should make a purse to coordinate with the black and beige slacks and shorts that I am taking.

But first I have to wrap the birthday boy's gifts to make room to sew. And finish the valentines I started a few days ago.

I suppose Bill will want dinner tonight, no matter how busy I pretend I am.

* Sigh *

There is just no rest for a craft-addicted, computer junkie, flibberty-jibbet.

But there sure is fun!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Love on Wednesdays

I've joined Coloradolady's Love on Wednesdays photo meme. For more information, click on the cute picture of her furbabies' toy.

If it were daylight, I could take a photo of the the hearts that greet you at my front door. Since it is after 10 at night, those photos will have to be taken tomorrow for another Wednesday. I'll bypass the entrance for now and show you the hearts that are on the wall opposite my front door. Is three just a nice number in decorating, or do the three hearts represent the men in my life? I'll let you decide.

These two figures are small. Sometimes they are tucked into spots while larger objects steal their thunder. This year I've tried a minimalist approach (which is a real stretch for someone like me!) on top of the entertainment center. These figures sit with an assortment of candles. They watch us watching TV.

May we all have Love in our lives on Wednesdays, and every other day of the week!

Feeling pink

Does pink seem like a spring color? Maybe that is why I am drawn to it lately. Spring is more than a month and half away, especially in Michigan, but we finally had a few afternoons above 32 degrees and I found myself working with pink fabric.

My creation is larger than a placemat, but much smaller than a table runner. It is just what I wanted for the center of my table and will sometimes hold a floral centerpiece or may just be the backdrop for a plate or a ceramic piece. I don't usually work as randomly as this piece. My tendency is to make either all the quilt blocks from the same fabrics, or to make 3 or 4 blocks and arrange them symmetrically. Click on the photo to see a closeup of the fabrics. The brown print has chocolate candies on it while most of the other prints are florals.

The flip side features a deep pinkish-red and silver metallic embroidery. I think it will look better with some of my white milkglass on it, maybe my pedestal cake plate, preferably with a double chocolate cake on the plate!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ahh, a little sunshine and warmer temps...

Numbers are relative, aren't they?

As someone who doesn't like cold weather, a high of 36 degrees is nothing to cheer about...unless you haven't seen 36 degrees in a month or two! The thermometer reached 40 in my part of Michigan yesterday. Bill was outside in a sweatshirt jacket. I'm not there yet, but I did have my coat unzipped and no gloves on. That felt almost naughty, almost naked!

Cold weather is moving back in on Wednesday but I will celebrate this brief respite by having my car washed. The salt and grime would leave you wondering about the color of my car. There will be much more snow, salt and grime before the season is over, but today is like a rainbow, a promise of what is to come.

The hint of spring was all the encouragement I needed to get out some Easter crafts that haven't been started yet. This was supposed to be a pillow, but with wired ears, I think it will make a better wall hanging. I stitched this during the Super Bowl game last night and hope to attach it to fabric for a wall hanging tonight. This pattern is called Can I Have This One? Hungry bunnies are hopeful too.