Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Something, Something, Something

Well, I didn't actually post a "something" every day this month like I planned, but I'm okay with that.  I was going to say "I like yellow things."  And post pictures of all the daffodils and other things in bloom now.  I never got the picture of the wild daffodils.  Except the one when I almost dropped my camera while leaning out the car window, then a car was coming up behind me, so I abandoned that mission and only got this.

This was way out in the country, at an abandoned house... and it was raining.  Otherwise, I might have gone back.  There were lots of empty places with daffodils lined up all by themselves.  I feel sure there must have been houses there, now long gone, and the flowers keep soldiering on year after year, up and down the fence row that is no longer there. 

I did get some pretty bright forsythia though.

And I was going to mention my favorite webcams, but it was too long to post all the sites and why I like them, plus a lot of times the webcams don't work and I'd hate to direct you there.  But I will mention the dinner cruise on the boat named the Moby Dick over in Germany.  Isn't this the coolest water vessel?  It even looks like a whale!  Most of the time I just watch the ferry go back and forth, dodging the barges.  I wonder who those people are and where they are going. 

And on the same river, these barges were at first interesting, then baffling when I realized they are like little houses, with the "garage" on top of the living quarters.  How the heck do they get those cars up there??  You can't just make a quick run to the store when you live here. 

I was going to mention how I like to check the webcams in Galveston.  I used to live down there, and discovered the cams a few months after Hurricane Ike went through, as I was trying to find some info on how the island survived.  This is a shot from Seawall Boulevard about eight months after Ike.  That thing in the water is not supposed to be there.  It weighs several hundred pounds and just showed up one day (I think it's a channel marker).  The thing that caught my eye was the clouds up the upper left.  I swear that looks like a guardian angel.  The webcam refreshes every few seconds, and I watched as formed, then broke up and went away. 

Most of all, the something I like is my blog.  It was one year ago this month that I started it, and I've really had fun with it.  Thanks to you readers out there who tell me you enjoy it.  Sometimes I feel like I am just shuffling around, babbling to myself (actually, that's exactly what I'm doing!)  To have you listening in is perfectly okay by me!!!  Tomorrow is April 1st and the end of the Somethings.  I don't have plans for any April Fool's jokes.  Not at the moment anyway (she said, rubbing her hands together...)

Goodbye March!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Something No. 24

24.  Talented Friends
What can I say.  I received this from friend Jennifer in Alaska.  I would say Alaska agrees with her, but she was this talented before she moved up there. 
This is not even the gift.  This is just the case she made to hold the gift!
(Only Jennifer would find a Kona bottle cap to put on it for me!)


And if the outside cover is awesome, the inside cover is awesome too.


When I was finished drooling on just that part, I finally got to the necklace, tied up nicely in its little ribbons. 

I am just blown away.  I have THE most talented friends!!!

Thank you Jennifer!!!!

Something No. 23

23.  Unplanned Rendezvous.
Gaye and I had not planned to get together today, but sometimes circumstances just unfold a different way than you expect when you roll out of bed.
The day started out cold and frosty, but by the time the sun was trying to plow its way through the early fog, I was suddenly on my way to Louisville, or at least part way.  We met at a McDonald's on the interstate, so I could give her some stuff for one of her classes at Artiscape in April. 
She made me wear a hat shaped like a birthday cake, with a blinking candle on top!
Because, yes, it is my birthday.
I'm 29.  That is, I'm 29 years...and 348 months!
What a great way to start the day.
When I drove up there in patchy fog, it looked like this.
The fog was thick in some places, but other places the air was filled with beautiful sunbeams.

And it looked like this in another spot, at the top of a ridge covered in fog.


By the time I drove home a couple of hours, it was the most beautiful day I've seen in a long time!
I stopped and took a photo of the same location as the last photo above.  I have tried to get a picture of this several times, but today's the day.  Everytime I pass it, I wonder about it. 

Who put that cross way up there on top of that ridge?  I have reason to believe it is a military memorial of some kind.  I feel a reverence every time I pass it.  Today the sky could not have been more beautiful and crisp. I was happy to be alive and enjoy this wonderful day!

Something No. 22

22.  I like the Moon.
Sure am glad I was up at 5:30 this morning.
I might have missed the blinding brightness of the moon!


Something No. 21

21.  The Unexpected
I like getting a box of fun "things"
with funny notes on each "thing".


(Sorry, it's a sister "thing"!!)


I like bicycle clocks too!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Something No. 20

20.  I like birds.
I know that isn't very art-related, other than the fact that I would like to try my hand at watercolor paintings of them (it's on my list!)

I have the usual visitors one would find in the eastern part of the U.S. 

There are some birds I can never seem to get pictures of, but I'll keep trying.

And I occasionally have a surprise.

This guy was on the telephone pole in the backyard, and when I opened the door to try to get a better picture, he flew away.  I was surprised when he landed on the neighbor's deck.  He sat there for quite some time, like he owned the place.  Or like he was waiting for someone to fire up the grill for a cookout!
It's a regular Mutual of Omaha moment around here sometimes.
(If you were born after 1970, that was a nature show. )
:-)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Something No. 19

19.  Random Discoveries.

I feel like I am way behind other people sometimes.  Apparently, there are scrapbookers and Stampin' Up people who have been making these little books for a long time.  I happened to run across some videos on You Tube with several of them and had to make one right away.

Projects are usually like recipes for me... I want to try it, but I don't always have the ingredients on hand.  But this time I did.  After all, who doesn't have These on hand?

Yes, it's a toilet paper roll. 
No way, you say. 
The proper response here is "way, way, way."
(You can also use a paper towel roll cut in half, or probably wrapping paper tube.)

Just get four TP rolls, flatten them,  and paint them (cheap acrylic paint is fine). 

Then decorate with paper and other embellishments.  (On a couple of mine, I sewed fabric to paper and used double stick tape to adhere it.)  Punch holes, add eyelets if desired, and put them on a binder ring.  Voila!  You have a book.  Some people punched two holes, some used one.  Some used a binding machine to put a wire binding on it.  It's very versatile. Tags fit nicely into the "slot" of the flattened roll!  Of course, the scrapbookers have more stuff on hand for layering and layering on each "page", but I wanted to make one right away and not worry about what was on it.
It's a quick, fun little book!
I can see a paste paper book here somewhere.....


[P.S. - I don't remember what video specifically was the best tutorial, but if you go to You Tube and search on Tissue Roll Mini Album, you'll find examples.]

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nothing

More somethings soon.




.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Something No. 18

18.  Playing around.

I have been wanting some journaling cards/tags so badly, but no one around here sells them, and I'm too impatient to order online.  So I've played around in Microsoft Paint.  I just played until I got something acceptable.  Not very creative, but at least I learned how to make shapes and draw lines!  I didn't do so hot with the "pencil" and the squiggly lines, but now I know to avoid that!
I printed some on vellum and some on cardstock.
These will do in a pinch.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Something No. 17

17.  I love gifts.
Especially if they have a their own personality.

Gaye asked me if I remembered the gift she gave me once that was wrapped like a person. 
Remember it? 
I have it out and see it every day.  After I removed what was inside, I carefully wrapped it back just like it was when she gave it to me.  It sits prominently in the living room and I enjoy it every day. 
I promised her I'd take a picture of it. 
And I did.

Something No. 16

16.  I love this guy.


I forgot I like the Kliban cats, until Gaye found this guy and got him for me!
I wondered how she knew of my love for Kliban cats. Shows you how senile I am, given that she was right there beside me in all those early years of shopping at rubber stamp stores and conventions.  As I recall, when the artist died, there was a lot of dispute about copyrights and licensing.  Nothing increases sales more than to give the impression something will never be available again.  Ever.  So, I bought every Kliban rubber stamp I came across.  I didn't even have to think about it.  And I don't think I have used any of them in over 10 years!  But I have them.  And now I have this.  He makes me smile!  Especially the way Gaye has him all dolled up!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Something No. 15

15.  Fun, Funky, Found Fabrics

These were all found either at the thrift store or at yard sales.

Child's jeans - pockets are great for book projects.

Embroidered overalls - the embroidered part will be cut off and used for a book embellishment.  The overall strap and hook will make a great book closure!!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Something No. 14

14.  I love coffee.
ReallyReallyReally.
I think I may be losing my tastebuds as I get older though.
Sometimes it seems like I can't taste it anymore.  So I will switch brands temporarily.

However, I fell in love last year.  My neighbors went on vacation to Hawaii.  As usual, I kept an eye on their house, checked to see if plants needed to be watered, etc.  When they came back, they gave me a bag of Kona coffee.  From Hawaii.  I'm in love.  Since then, as you can see from the picture above, I have tried different brands and flavors, picking up sample bags and trial sizes, trying to find something to compare.  Nothing does.  Oh, sure, I can order more from the address on the bag, but surely there is something comparable that I can buy locally.  (As I took these pictures, I noticed one bag of Kona coffee says clearly "Contains not less than 10% Kona coffee" - so I guess it could contain 11% and call itself Kona coffee??)
The search continues.  Meanwhile, I'm starting to think I need to make a coffee book (and put it on the coffee table???)  Too bad I've thrown away so many bags already.

Coffee is not just for drinking though.  Many years ago, I had been brayering stamp pad ink to make some background papers.  I threw my scrap paper in the trash.  Later, I put a used coffee filter in the trash.  "Later that same day...", I noticed the coffee grounds had seaped all through the scrap paper and made the stamp pad ink run.  It was really fascinating.  I cleaned off the page and put it in my techniques journal.  But I've never been able to duplicate it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Something No. 13

13.  Sorry.

As in the elevator, there is no 13.  It's bad luck.

Something No. 12

12.  I like Big stuff.
Okay, I decided to go ahead and follow the little things with the big things.


Yes (as seen on my profile picture), I really do have a giant coffee mug with giant things in it. There is a regular sized pencil shown here for comparison.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Something No. 11

11.  I like Little.
What is it about things that are not their normal size that draws us in?
I like little books, little bottles, little dice, little pens, little inkwells.
Little, little, little.
Cute, cute, cute.


(I like oversized stuff too, but in case I run out of somethings for this month, I'll hang onto that idea!)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Something No. 10

10.  Simmering Ideas.
There is an advantage (she said to herself convincingly) to not getting around to those projects on the back burner.  They sit there and simmer and simmer, and simmer some more.  And one day you realize there is a reason for that, because maybe you weren't happy with the idea in the first place.  If it simmers long enough, a light bulb goes off and you think of another way to do something that makes it a whole lot better.

After our paste paper play day last, um, July, I had every intention of making a book with the brownish colored pages I made.  I tore the paper, stacked them, rearranged them, stacked them some more, and yet they sat there.  I think there weren't enough of them for full impact in a book.  I kept thinking I'd eventually make some more paste paper in that same color and have enough for a book.  Then one day I thought of all the paste paper stashed away that I never use.  It didn't have to be a brown book.  Why not use ALL the paper (or a large variety of colors).  I'm still letting it simmer.  When it's done, I'll know.  And a book of some kind will be born.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Something No. 9

9.  Unexpected Journeys.

This is not to be confused with a road trip.
I am a huge admirer of artist Judy Wilkenfeld in Australia. I check her blog from time to time, but had not visited recently.  To say that she can meld history and art and storytelling is a huge understatement.  If you have 30 minutes to spare, go look at the two videos posted on March 8, to see her work called Harbin 1941.  I am blown away.


Something No. 8

8.  March Madness.
Yes, I have become a fan of college basketball.
It happened several years ago when I moved to Kentucky.
I had lived in a couple of places that had NBA teams before that, and followed NBA off and on, eventually losing interest.
But when you live in Kentucky, it's mandatory that you follow college sports.  I'm surprised they don't have questions on the driver's license test about it.  Unlike most Kentuckians, however, I don't have loyalties to either University of Louisville or University of Kentucky (arch rivals).  I suspect whoever sewed the letters on the Kentucky uniform below is a Louisville fan! 
Hey, we can't play great basketball AND be good spellers too....

Friday, March 12, 2010

Something No. 7

7.  I like using a Datebook as a Journal.


I didn't realize how much I liked that method until the last couple of months, mainly because I did not order a datebook for this year. 
I stumbled upon the first datebook and ordered it from an online book club.  I think it was a fantastic sale price, so I figured I had nothing to lose.
I found it was a great way to keep track of things in a spur-of-the-moment kind of way.  After all, I make books, I don't buy them.  So this was not to be my real journal.
But at the end of the year, when I was thinking all I did was work and missed having time for art, I looked back through that book, where I had quickly added pictures and notes of things I had done, places I had gone... and I realized I had done more than I thought.  So, I ordered another one the next year, and the next, and the next.

For 2010, I have really wanted to get back to making my own journal, with some good hot press watercolor paper.  I never got around to it, so I am in journal limbo right now.  I am realizing the advantages of that datebook.  It has a nice sturdy cover and it opens flat.  It has interesting things printed on the pages (which can sometimes be a problem, because the interesting things there are more interesting than what is going on in my life, and I don't want to cover it up!)  Of course there is no reason why I could not do the same thing with a composition book or a sketchbook of some kind.  But I am really drawn to that stack of spiral bound books.  I have to rethink this for next year.

P.S. --
I was asked where I got these datebooks.  They are from QPB (Quality Paperback Book Club at http://www.qpb.com/).  However, they only sell the date books at the end of the year, then they are gone.  The closest thing they have listed right now is a Stephen King book, but there is no inside view, so I don't know if it is like this one.  If you scroll further down here, you can see the one for 2010, called One Spirit Book of Days - a spiral calendar and small blank paperback book to match.  I searched for this particular 2010 calendar and saw several that were way overpriced, and also saw some that looked like the same thing but were Not the spiral hardback calendar.  Mine is 7.5 x 10 when closed.  There is a two page spread for each week.  As you can see above, I left the words visible that say "Bird Brainiacs Unite" as it fit in with some of my photos for that week!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Something No. 6

6.  I love chocolate and mint.
I guess almost everyone already knows that about me, given my previous mention of Girl Scout thin mint cookies!
If I go to Baskin-Robbins for ice cream, I get the mint chocolate chip.
If I buy ice cream at the grocery store, 95% of the time it will be a mint chocolate variation.
Andes Mints?  I'm there.
Hershey's kisses?  I think they had a limited edition mint kiss one time.  It should be permanent, but they didn't ask me.
How come Oreo does not make a cookie with mint filling, I wonder.

So, is it a bad thing that I get emails from Dairy Queen telling me their Blizzard flavor of the Month for March is Mint Oreo?
Yum.

I know it doesn't look as appetizing here - by the time I got it home, unloaded stuff from the car, got out the camera and took a picture, it was starting to melt. 
But it was still yummy. 
I haven't had a blizzard in a long time!

I'm not sure how I got on the DQ email list.  But then I get emails from a lot of places that should not have my email address... like credit card companies and my mortgage company.  Even though they are places I do business with, I never gave them my email address.  Oops.... I'm breaking my own rules.  This month is all about things that make me happy, not things that irritate me! 
Happy, happy, happy.
That's me!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Something No. 5

Okay, I'm already getting behind on listing something every day this month that makes me happy, but since I only have to answer to myself, I have decided not to issue any penalties!  Maybe I'll make myself sit in the corner.  With a bowl of ice cream...

5.  I love my post office.
Yes, it's true.  My tiny little post office. 
Even though my post office box is empty most of the time!

I feel sorry for people who have bad experiences and don't like the post office.
The people here are like family to me.  When I first moved here, an older man was the postmaster and he didn't get the whole mail art thing.  But even though he never said anything, surely he was impressed with my unique mail, the likes of which I'm sure he had never seen before.
When the new postmaster was sworn in, I soon got to know her really well and consider her a friend.  We've been through a lot of life's ups and downs over the years.  Many times she would take me behind the the door that says "Employees Only" so we could laugh or cry in private. 

The whole staff looks out for me.  If my mail is returned postage due, they have been known to put the postage on it and send it back on it's way, and I usually don't know unless the recipient says something.

I have done favors for them, too, like making signs (this one is a little worse for wear as it has been on the bulletin board for years).

One year I designed a special postage cancel for them, and even worked their booth at the local festival, stamping the cancel for customers.

A former clerk at the post office was a girl scout leader, and I went to one of the meetings and showed the girls how to iron tissue paper to freezer paper and make envelopes.  And how to make envelopes from magazine pages.

I went to the elementary school with the postmaster and took a bunch of rubber stamps so they could make pretend mail and stamp cancels on their envelopes.  Some of the rowdier boys stamped stuff all over their arms.  I'm not sure their parents were happy about that.

I know the internet is convenient for online bill paying, etc., but I do still try to support the post office whenever I can.
******
Okay, this is totally unrelated to the above.  I was in the pet store tonight, buying bird seed.  Near the register, there were some dog toys.  They were shaped like a person and they looked exactly like that character Mr. Bill, from years and years ago (Saturday Night Live).  It had a sticker that said "Press here - it talks". So of course I had to press it, because I wanted to know if it said "Oh, nooooooo" like Mr Bill did.  Sure enough, it did (even though nowhere did it actually identify this figure as Mr. Bill). 
I was laughing out loud and saying "oh, nooooo, Mr. Bill" while the young gentleman was checking me out.  He was looking at me funny.
I said, "You don't know who Mr. Bill is, do you?"
He said no.
He never heard of Toonces the Driving Cat either.
So sad. 
This generation is so deprived.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Something No. 4

4.  I love road trips.
I have several unique passports, so you know what that means.  I am free to move about the country to unique places!

Gaye and I made a day trip on Saturday to a stamp show in Indianapolis.  It's not the biggest and best show, but the real purpose is ... Road Trip!!  And boy were we ever ready for a sunny warm beautiful day to hit the road.  Our shopping didn't take too long, and we didn't buy much.  Between us, we bought some molds for working on metal, and maybe a handful of stamps.  We bought a background stamp which we cut in half and shared.  I bought a punch.  There was no frenzy, no drama!  Just a fun time.

The best was yet to come.  We met friends Chris and Mike Meador for lunch at Ped's Montana Grill.  Oh, sorry, Gaye got that wrong... it's "Ted's".  No problem.  We managed to find it anyway.  And the waitress and the Meadors were talking about Ted, and talking about Montana.... I'm usually pretty sharp, but it took me ForEver to make the connection between Ted Turner (oh, that Ted!) and this restaurant.  I had no idea.   But I have to say the food was delicious!  And they had the biggest onion rings I've ever seen.  I had fish, Gaye had bison pot roast, Mike and Chris had the America's Cup (the burger plate, not the boat race). 
[Imagine a mouth-watering photo here!]

All good things must come to an end, so we were eventually on the road again.  However, we did squeeze in a stop at our favorite place on the way back.

I kept thinking I should be taking pictures of things.  I did take a shot of this wall of little kids' shoes.  They were all so cute hanging there in all their glory.

I did buy three things. One was a rubber stamp with numbers on it.  I don't think I have ever seen quite that many numbers in a row on a stamp.  I'm not sure what it was used for.  (The background stamped there is the one Gaye and I cut apart.)


I also bought two books.  One was a railroad timekeeping book.  I was thinking I would tear out the pages to use in journals.  The other one is a Lion Coffee advertising book.  Again, my plan was to take it apart and use the pages.  However, as we were rocking down the highway on the last leg of the trip home, I started reading what was written on some of the pages.  I realized it was a book from 1892, and it appeared that more than one person had written in the book and maybe it was passed back and forth.  There are corny, rhyming love notes to each other.  Although it was all written in pencil, great care was taken with some of the writing, to make the capitals fancy and to make the writing neat.  I was very impressed.  Printed at the top of each page was an advertising slogan about Lion Coffee.  I don't think I can take apart this historical record of two people writing back and forth. 

And thus another road trip came to an end.  Another perfect day after a cold harsh winter (which may not yet be over, but it sure felt like it was ancient history on Saturday!)