Thursday, April 21, 2011

Digital Cold Turkey

My plan is to go digital cold turkey next week.  I've gotten too dependent.  The first thing I do when I get home is read my e-mail and check my tweeps, look up this and that, update the blog...the next thing I know.  Poof! I've squandered and hour staring at a bright screen and the Smiling Cat is staring pitifully at me wondering when it's lap-time.

Digital cold turkey. Um, chicken?

I got a good test run today with HootSuite down every time I tried it.  For those of us who sometimes check, check, check their e-mail hoping someone has sent something so we don't have to do what we're supposed to be doing, Twitter is great.  HootSuite is better though.  It gives you a chance to check, check, check if someone has retweeted you and there's always someone tweeting something.  Okay.  I'm getting obsessive.  Hence the digital cold turkey.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An Intrepid Tulip

The Victorian house next to my office is undergoing a transformation to a restaurant.  Lots of work is going on to shore up the foundation, build a new porch, etc.  In the process, the yard has been dug up and trampled.  But one intrepid little tulip found its way to light among the chaos.  A reminder of the beautiful gardens the former owners once had.


Monday, April 18, 2011

A Budding Artist

I know that somewhere back in elementary school art, I made a linoleum block print.  I remember the process and somehow still have the gouge from the class.  I'm sure today they'd never let young children near such sharp objects, but nobody lost a finger during the project.  Anyway, I don't remember what my print looked like and since I've gotten back into printing, I am curious about that first attempt.  My dad brought me a box full of elementary school papers a couple of years ago that I hadn't looked through yet, so yesterday afternoon, I looked through the box sure that's where I'd find my linocut.  No such luck.  But, I did find a lot of other art and writing that I'm sure will be worth millions when I become famous!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Hey. Smiling Cat here.  There's nothing I like better than spring.  I'm an indoor cat so I've been waiting months for the smell of fresh air, the sound of birds chirping, something interesting to watch outside my window, and all things green.  I love laying in the window in the warm sun with the scented breezes lightly blowing my fur.  I smell all different flavors of birds, bunny rabbits, mice, flowers, damp dirt...ahh, fresh air.  I actually like laying in the window in the evening better than during the day when all that activity just drives me crazy after a bit.  I wish I could be out there chasing those birds.  Mmmmm.....But, I digress.  I'm writing today to show you my appreciation of lilacs.  Tasty flowers, they are!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Our Arbor Day Trees

I tweeted the other day that a couple of the little trees we got from the Arbor Day Foundation were blooming this year for the first time and was asked to send a photo.  I thought I'd share the photos here too.  Now, bear in mind that these are little trees, so they've got little blooms and taking a photo of the whole tree didn't seem to do the big pretty flowers justice.  The redbud and crab apple trees are shown here.  We also have 2 dogwoods and 2 American hawthorns.

These trees may be only about a foot tall when they arrive, but they're pretty darn hardy.  I ordered our trees when we moved here about 8 years ago with great intentions, but we didn't really know where to put them when we got them and so they ended up sitting on the porch all winter in the box they came in.  In the spring, feeling particularly guilty, we put them outside in the dirt and "heeled them in" near the house, but not in their final destination.  Wanting to remember what the trees were, I put a tag around each of their trunks.

Fast forward another year.  We still hadn't planted the trees.  A couple of them had clearly died and one or two of them just up and keeled over.  Turns out I had girded the trunk with my good intentions of putting a tag around their trunks.  We finally broke down and planted the ones we had left that fall, I think.  Just 2 years after we ordered them.  We had 6 trees left of the 11 we'd received.  So we're not great as tree parents, but at least we lost less than 50% of our tree kids!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sunny Little Dandelions

Apparently I'm in the minority, but I like dandelions.  They're bright and sunny.  They show up early in spring before everything else is blooming.  They turn into great cotton balls of seeds to blow every which way.

I have great memories of making bouquets of dandelions and violets for my grandmothers when I was young.  I didn't realize how much they didn't appreciate those poor maligned dandelions.  I also have a great uncle that swears that every dandelion growing in his yard was caused by me blowing the seeds.  But how could I resist?

Now my husband grumbles every time he sees a dandelion like it's some affront to his manhood that a dandelion DARE grow in HIS yard.  As for me?  I still think they're pretty.  I love to see a field full of them.  And I can't resist blowing at least one each year!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Bracelet - Completed!

I finished my needle beaded bracelet this morning and feel like a right angle weave expert!  I wasn't able to finish it in class on Friday like I'd hoped because the 2 embellishment colors I'd picked didn't go together. The beads looked like they matched in the tubes, but when I took them out, the blues clashed.  So, yesterday, I went back to visit Cherie at Wolf Creek Beads and Gallery to exchange the teal beads for something bluer.  And, since I realized I was going to have lots of leftover beads, I got some blue thread so I can make a blue bracelet with gold embellishments if I so decide.  Or maybe I'll need to go back to see Cherie and get a darker blue for embellishments.  Or maybe some red and green for Christmas ornaments.  Or...I can see this could explode and I better make some room for beading supplies!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

When In Rome

If you ever decide to make Roman shades, don't use plastic rings or rope with nylon in it as the mechanism to raise and lower them.  The plastic gets brittle from the sun and breaks and the rope shrinks in the sun.  I've been replacing the broken rings (again!) with new brass ones and have some cotton rope to use next time I string them.  Like it wasn't enough work to sew all the rings on once!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Art To Go

We just got back from a nifty fundraiser for our local YMCA.  They sell 50 tickets and have 50 pieces of art.  You choose a piece of art to take home when your number is drawn.  If you're lucky, your number is chosen early in the night and you get your first choice.  If you're not so lucky, you may end up with something that's not to your taste.  We were lucky and picked in the first 10 so we brought home a piece made by an artist we know.  And it's a woven watercolor which complements our love of basket weaving.  A good night all around!

Art by Charlotte Chan

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What's That Bright Light?

What is that bright orb in the blue sky this morning?  Could it be the sun?  Maybe Spring is back?  Just maybe?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I'm Amphibious!

Not really.  My husband jokingly uses the word amphibious to mean ambidextrous.  I mentioned yesterday that I needle bead and weave baskets backwards.  I can do it the more common right-handed way, but backwards (left-handed, maybe?) seems more logical to me.  It's handy at times - I can shovel, wield a sledge hammer, and sweep either way.  I have a theory about my amphibiousness.  My husband says I tie my shoes backwards.  We noticed at Christmas several years ago when the family was together that my mom ties them the same way.  She's a twin and we figured out that she must have learned to tie her shoes while facing my aunt, then taught me the way she learned.  They probably learned other skills the same way, accounting for her backwardness.  So I probably have a learned amphibiousness.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Something New: Needle Beading

One of the many hats I wear is that of a museum director.  At the museum, we offer needle arts and heritage crafts classes every other month or so.  If there's room in the class and I'm interested in taking it, I do.  This month's class is Needle Beading with Cherie Creger of Wolf Creek Beads and Gallery.  We're making a bracelet using the right angle weave stitch.  I've never done anything like this before, but I've done all sorts of other crafty things with a needle, so I thought I'd give it a try.  Not that I needed to learn yet one more craft, but I figure that everything I learn gives me ideas for other art and craft projects.

We got the first row done on Friday and had homework to finish 3 more rows.  I spent a nice afternoon at my newly moved drawing table, in front of the window, with spring sunshine pouring in, listening to classical music on my local NPR station, and figuring out how to finish the 3 rows.  Fortunately, I usually catch on pretty quickly as long as I can figure out the pattern.  Turns out I am more comfortable needle beading in the opposite direction of the instructions (typical for me, I weave baskets backwards too), but once I got the logic to it, I was on my way.  You can see what I finished today below.  I'll post a photo of the bracelet when we finish on Friday.  Or at least I hope I'll finish in class on Friday.  I don't want more UFOs hanging around!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Creature of Habit

I've been in the process of switching 2 rooms around for some time.  We are rehabilitating our old house, and so rooms aren't complete and we are often shuffling furniture and boxes.  I've decided on the final room for my office/studio though and have moved my drawing table in and switched my computer to a desk that my great uncle made.  We're going to have to create some more storage to deal with my printers, scanners, and arts and crafts supplies, but that will come later.

Unfortunately, the Smiling Cat hasn't quite gotten the idea that I have moved.  The old desk is still in the old room and I keep finding her sitting in my seat or on my desk wondering where I am.  She walks through the room where I'm sitting, past the desk, and on out not realizing I'm even there.  Today, I moved a bench in for her, complete with padding, so she could easily get on the new desk if she wanted or lay comfortably next to me.  I showed it to her and she stayed for a while, but hasn't been back.  Maybe tomorrow she'll figure it out!

"The old desk had a better view..."

Friday, April 1, 2011

Napping 25/8

Hey. Smiling Cat here. My human isn't around, but she left the computer on, so I thought I'd tell you about something near and dear to my heart: sleep.  Some might call me a serial sleeper or career napper. I'm just really good at it. I've got 3 beds, 2 windows, my tower, and my favorite peep's lap for when I feel a good old cat nap coming on.  In fact, on good weeks, I nap 25/8.  Ah, the sweet slumber.....

But I digress.  I saw a great commentary by Ben Stein on CBS Sunday Morning a couple of weeks ago about sleep:  "Never waste any time you can spend sleeping."  If you didn't catch it, you can see it here. I'd stick around and watch it with you, but it's time for my mid-morning nap.