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Monthly Archives: August 2015


I have long put “centerpieces” in the middle of my table, not only for holidays, but for every day, as well.

My favorite is the one I keep on my kitchen table – A chicken, napkins, toothpick holder, salt and pepper shaker, pepper mill…

For years all these sat on a rectangular placemat, attractively arranged. Then recently I switched to a round, less country quilted mat.

But now I’ve discovered “tablescapes,” and they’ve taken centerpieces to a whole new level.

My new favorite store is Rod Works. It’s a gift/decorating store located down at The Palladio,  our local “lifestyle center,” kind of an open air mall with lots of restaurants, a movie complex, interesting sculptures, and events sponsored by the center for the community. One of these days I’ll do a post about the center. It’s a pretty interesting place.

ANYWAY. Tablescapes.

They are kind of a table version of the vignettes that my store was known for back in the day (except that ours were done on the wall, with a shelf housing little treasures, then wall decor arranged around it.) Often people would buy the whole vignette – great cross-marketing.

Roadworks has everything you need to do them – all sorts of trays for a base, then scads of interesting things to use for groupings in whatever room you’re decorating. It would be fun to start from the ground up making one, but for now, I’m working pretty much with what I’ve got, then perhaps I’ll add a few touches later.

I did buy a wooden base from them, and a few silk gerber flowers (red, of course) to put in an antique bottle borrowed from another area of the house.

Here’s my first effort.


One of the things I like best about doing it this way is that with a firm base, it can be easily lifted off for eating at the table, where it was kind of a pain with everything just sitting on a placemat.

I took a few photos at the store of tablescapes they’d put together at Rod Worksboth to display their merchandise and show people what they could create for their own home, so in essence, my inspiration.




I think I like mine just as well.

I think I’ll be doing more in different areas of the house, and I’m REALLY looking forward to playing with them for the holidays!

Downton Abbey – Season 6

Normally I don’t get upset in advance of need, but in this case I’m going to make an exception.

The last, final season of Downton Abbey starts in the UK on Sunday, September 20th, then in the US in January.


I’m a resourceful girl, and I’ll find a way to watch it in September. Then I’ll watch it again in January, then I’ll buy the DVD and watch it again. And maybe again.

And based on the trailer, I’m pretty sure I’d better buy stock in Kleenex. I’m already crying. And obsessing.

I guess the trailer is, in essence, a bit of a spoiler. But if you want to see it, here it is.

I can’t imagine that they’ll be able to end it to my satisfaction.

If a series has to end, I guess in recent memory, the best I’ve seen was “Parenthood,” where they flashed ahead to show how the lives of the individual family members had progressed after a few years.

I’m on pins and needles waiting to see how Julian Fellowes handles it.

There is still so much more of their lives I want to see – Mary falling in love again, Edith finally finding happiness, Tom discovering that being with the Crawleys is all he wants in life, and of course, Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes getting married. Then Anna and Mr. Bates finally being together and having a baby, Daisy finding herself, Thomas finding a partner and discovering he doesn’t need to be so hateful, Baxter and Moseley falling in love…and so much more. There’s no way they could fit everything I want to see into one season.

Maybe they’ll do a spin off some day, focusing on the Sybil, George, and Marigold generation with cameos by the rest of the family?

I don’t know.

I really am TRYING not to think about it. But I can’t help it. They feel like part of the family somehow.

I’m glad I’ve got the whole series on DVD. I suspect I’m going to have relive it all from time to time. Although I may need to skip the BAD episode. If you’ve seen it already, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, I don’t want to spoil it for you. Well, I do. But I won’t.

Anyway. If you are one of the handful of the people on the planet who haven’t seen Downton Abbey, you really need to. Really.

How Do YOU Use Facebook?

I confess, I am a Facebook Junkie.

When I moved away from my home of 25 years about 10 years ago, I left my job and my friends to lead a new life as caregiver to my granddaughter while her parents worked. It took awhile, but eventually I found that as much as I LOVED what I was doing, I was pretty lonely. Yikes! I hope that doesn’t sound like regret, because I don’t regret it AT ALL! What I’m doing is the most important stuff I’ve ever done in my life!

But it did take some adjustment.

I took an on-line class that came with a Facebook group, and the rest is history. Quickly, I was hooked. I could have friends that I could “chat” with, all over the world, at all hours of the day and night, whenever I was able.

Some of my friends are fellow artists (most of whom I’ve never met in real life) and fellow political bloggers (most of whom I’ve never met in real life.) Others are real world friends from where I used to live, some are people I’ve met on trips, some are family members (close AND extended) and a very few are real world friends from where I live now.

Additionally, I “follow” a number of artists I admire,  “causes” that are near and dear to my heart – politics, religion – my favorite veggie restaurants and cookbook authors, shops I like, scrapbook businesses…It makes for a very interesting newsfeed.

I can read most of the important news of the day, keep up on friend’s lives, find amazing-looking recipes, do a little shopping, a little dreaming, get artistically inspired, do a little Bible study, take a class, and even jump onto my soapbox, all on the same platform. It has become my portal to the world, and I love it!

It’s the soapbox part that I’m wrestling with at the moment.

I am VERY passionate about my “causes.” And because I have so few real world friends, I find my soapbox on Facebook my favorite. I can share articles (which have been shared with me) lobby support for a variety of things, and try to provoke deeper thought on a variety of subjects. I have few illusions that I’ll be making a wholesale change in hearts and minds, but I would hope that I can at least get people thinking and talking about the issues I find important.

It’s possible I do no more than annoy people, but that’s something I’m willing to chance.

I read nearly all the articles that come across my feed. Some of them give me aha! moments. Some of them disgust me. Some of them I have to go and check out to see if they are true, and very often, they are NOT. So, I generally call them out as being false. I like to think that by doing that, I form my opinions based on reality, not what someone else wants me to think. I ENJOY challenging my beliefs. And SOMETIMES, I even change my opinion.

Not everyone does that, and I can feel the tension from time to time.

But my newsfeed is a pro-discussion platform, as long as opinions are given respectfully, and discussions are civil.

Man, have I found out the hard way that not all people feel that way. If they share an article, it’s because they believe it, and no one need give a contrary opinion, no matter how reasoned it is, and how courteously it is offered. “Don’t confuse me with facts!” is my take-away.

I’ve “lost” some friends along the way. Well, reasonable people don’t ditch “friendships” because of disagreements on much of anything, which tells me they weren’t really friends. Doesn’t make it hurt any less, but it’s better to know, isn’t it?

Oh, and in the interest of full-disclosure, I now care for four grandchildren! And the flexibility of on-line friends and a 24 hour portal to the world is even MORE important! Heeheehee!

So how about you? How do you use your Facebook Wall? Is it all fun and games, or do you use it as your platform in the world? Feel free to share your stories, frustrations and advice!

Restoring Order

Every time I start dabbling in a new medium, the supplies it takes begin to take over my world.

And my mosaics are no exception.

It started of with a small box. Then a tote and a small box. Then a stack and a tote and a small box. Now many stacks…you get the picture. Not only is it unsightly, but I start to spend way too much time looking for things, which cuts into the available time for actually creating.

I finally had to take a few minutes and restore some order.

I don’t know if my new obsession is going to have legs or not, so I hate to invest in anything permanent, but SOMETHING had to be done.

I found these cool throwaway food storage containers from Rubbermaid that will be perfect for sorting cut tiles by color, and maybe I’ll even toss in the coordinating beads. (And they even have red lids! Heeheehee!)





Then if I can find a metal or wooden crate to store them in I’ll be able to keep it all corralled and brought out to work on and then put away in the scary room more easily.

Whew! I hate to use the “O” word, but I’m feeling a little (shhhhh!) organized.

They’re multiplying!

Although I’m making progress on my monogram project, it keeps growing!

Once I got the original completed, I added plans for 4 more, and have begun working on them.

The “F” and the “S” will be the easiest – they are both based on the one I did for myself.


Bea’s “B” is a blast. I love all the little fancies we’re going to use for it!


Hannah’s was the one that scared me. She is my exuberant girl, and has a style all her own. She picked out some pretty crazy elements, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pull off a cohesive look melding everything she wanted, but so far it’s working!



Then Josh saw what I was doing and decided he needs one, too (camouflage colors, of course!) and if I’m doing one for him, Lexi (Alexis, so she’s got an “A”) can’t be left out. She’s a purple girl, like Bea, so far, so she’ll have soft pastels, too. I just got their bases today. And that brings my total to six.


I’m finding myself obsessed (who? me?)

I mean like, crazy, it’s-all-I-can-think-about obsessed… If I’m not actually working on them, I’m either looking for elements to add to them, or finding ceramic pieces, or just thinking about how I’m going to arrange them.

I hope I’m not burning myself out. I really do want to do pieces for my garden once I get these finished!

How Do You Watch?

I confess, I watch way too much television.

Part of the problem is, I have direct tv, and it automatically records everything on the 3 major tv networks. I have some shows I follow every week, then there are others I just don’t have time for. If they look interesting, I save the whole series, then save it to watch when my regular shows go into reruns, and I’ve caught up on the cable shows.

But in doing that, I’ve discovered the joys of “binge” or “marathon” watching, where I can watch numerous episodes of the same show, in the same evening, without having to wait for the next week. And I like it. A lot.

I did that with 24 when I discovered it way too many years into the series. We’d watch for HOURS, lots of them, sometimes into the wee hours…

Currently, I’m working on “Forever.” What a great show. I’m enjoying it so much. But there is a downside.



Since the season is over, I was able to get on-line to see if it had been renewed for a second season. And much to my despair, it was not. I’m crushed. I’m almost tempted to quit watching now, because I know I will only get more enamored of it the longer I watch. And then it will be over. I won’t be able to just wait a year and it will back (like with Downton Abbey.) And I won’t have had years and years of watching and then a final episode (like Parenthood.)

But, I digress. The point is, I like to watch back-to-back episodes. I guess that is because I’ve deferred gratification for most of my adult life, and now I’m trying to make up for it.

Yeah, and when I’m reading a really good, exciting book, and the hero (or heroine) is is deep trouble, sometimes I have to read a few pages of the last chapter to make sure they survive. Don’t judge.



My Artistic Girls

Part of my creative journey is passing down my love for art to the next generation. It didn’t work so much with my kids – neither were ever very interested, although my son has turned out to be a good photographer, and from time to time my daughter will dabble with something with her girls, but she has no burning NEED to create like I do.

So, I’m trying with my grandkids.

I started with Hannah when she wasn’t even two, going to a “mom and tot” craft class at Michael’s. She loved it, and made all kinds of little treasures for her mama.


Then Bea came along, and by that time Michael’s wasn’t doing the classes anymore, so we crafted on our own, just not as often. With the difference in ages, and Bea always wanting to do what Hannah did, it got more complicated!

We dabbled in quite a few different art forms, including knitting and a variety of paper crafts, but when I started teaching them to paint, they really started having fun!

At the time, I was participating in a Artist Trading Card group, and the girls wanted to try doing little paintings.



They joined in with the grown-ups for over a year, and along the way started doing their own canvases.


Over the years, Hannah’s interest in art has diminished, and Bea’s has increased, to the point where Bea thinks she’d like to be an artist when she grows up (I tell her she already IS an artist, but she says she’d like to do it as a job!) Her primary interest these days seems to be in fashion design, and she’s learning to draw (and paint!) people. This was my birthday present – a combination of the two…


Hannah LOVES doing tie dye, so she made me a shirt. I just LOVE hand made gifts!


Hannah is following my progress with mosaics, and although I haven’t been able to interest her in actually DOING them herself, she wanted me to make her a monogram, and actively participated in selecting the items for me to use on it. It is a crazy combination, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to pull together a cohesive piece using what she had chosen, it’s coming together.


She was adamant that she wanted a piece of a yellow star with the word “awesome” in it. I was skeptical, but it turned out pretty good! She has a good eye, and I’m hoping one of these days she’ll find a medium she loves and get back into arting more often.

On the other hand, with Bea, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do all that SHE wants to do!

I haven’t done enough exploring options with Josh, but with what little we’ve tried, he seems to have an aptitude for it. And now we’ve got Lexi coming up…I need to get going with more projects!

Yeah. I need more projects. Heeheehee! I’m sure glad I decided against a creative business. What I am doing is SOOOOOO much more important.

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