Saturday, May 31, 2008


Seven things I love about my cat, Ink:

1. He's all black except for six white hairs on his chest.

2. His "I don't need you attitude"

3. His fur is very silky. If my leg hair felt as soft, I wouldn't bother to shave.

4. His ears feel like velvet

5. The way he talks. He's very verbal. He can say "me out" when he wants to go out onto the porch or sunroom. He can say "now" as in "Are we going to take a nap, now?"

6. His eyes. They look like marbles and change from a green to yellow-green.

7. The way he sometimes curls up to sleep. He looks like a comma.

What things to you love or hate about your pet(s)?

Thursday, May 29, 2008


When The Eldest was in 3rd grade, she had to write a story and then write an author bio. Part of the bio, said she lived with her family and what everyone in the family did. I just stayed home and cleaned, according to her. LOL

Contrary to her belief, house cleaning isn't something I enjoy doing, but it's something that has to be done. I usually pick one task to do each day. Today's project was cleaning the sunroom and washing the inside of the windows.

Window washing has always been a bit of a disappointment. No matter what commercial product I used (and I've tried them all), when all was done I could see streaks. Until today. I decided to try old-fashioned white vinegar. What a difference! No streaks! Not even in the bright sunshine! Guess sometimes the old ways are the best ways.

I used a squeegee to clean the windows but have heard newspapers work well. Can anyone tell me why newspapers work to clean the windows? Won't the ink run all over the place?

So while Ink takes his break from supervising my cleaning, I'm heading to the livingroom to tackle those windows.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Seven things I really like about my job:

1. The feel of the pen in my hand like it's a part of me.

2. The way the ink almost floats across the paper (on a good day, with good paper!)

3. The creativity. Interpreting a poem, quote, or idea for someone is exciting. I even find addressing envelopes creative. Trying to fit Lt. Cmdr. and Mrs. Cornelius Hamilton Irving Percival Morton all on one line.

4. The silence. I work in silence. No chatter, no music, or television in the background. (I'm apt to write words that I hear) Though I occasionally work to the hum of the dehumidifier or washer and dryer.

5. Setting my own deadline within the parameters of the client's needs.

6. Finding the rhythm and being absorbed by the project

7. Completing a project. Looking at it and thinking I did that!

What are some of the things you like about your job?

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I'm working on an envelope job. Here's my set up. Envelope with lining template behind the back flap on the light box. Envelopes are put in the drying rack to dry. The drying rack is a Slinky held by cup hooks on either end of the top shelf of the writing desk. If I'm doing place cards, I use a Slinky Jr. That's the silver thing to the left of the drying envelopes. If I'm applying a death grip to the pen, I hold the squishy elf ball in my right hand (I'm sinister) to help even the pressure. I wear craft gloves (orange Hand-eze) so oils from my hands don't get on the paper.

The bride was looking for something modern and non-traditional. I suggested Weaver Writing by Gwen Weaver. The bride and her mother loved the look. On the lightbox is a botched envelope. After completing the Mr. and Mrs. I put my paw into the ink and made a nasty fly speck. AAARRRRGGGGHHHH I decided to address the envelope to Mr. and Mrs. Heath Barkley as a sample of what I'm playing with.

The envelopes are watermarked Crane, and they are a delight to work on. They are white, unlined and didn't need to be treated with pounce or sprayed with fixative. I'm using Ziller Glossy Black ink with a Gillotte 1068A nib.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Yesterday, on the way to the mailbox, at end of the driveway, there was a small garter snake. He wasn't moving and didn't move as I passed. I crossed the street to retrieve the mail and when I crossed back the snake was still in the same position. I don't know if he drowned in the pouring rain. There didn't seem to be a mark on him. I nudged him with my toe and he remained still. Dead. He was rather pretty in black and golden brown. I related this story to a friend telling her I thought the snake would make a handsome hatband for a cowboy hat.

She replied with much icking and said that snakes creeped her out, or words to that effect. I told her I was not fond of snakes, though this one was only a small garter snake. Had he moved when I nudged him, I would have been Riverdancing at the end of the driveway.

She loved the image and wanted a blog. So, Sunflower, this spud's for you. The step dancing potato and I are roughly the same shape.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Whisper of Freedom ~ Tricia Goyer ~ MEME

Here are the Meme questions:

1. List three things you would do with a chest full of gold (assuming you got to keep it!)
Pay for my girls college education.

Pay off the mortgage, home equity loan, and credit card

Buy DVDs, books and art supplies.

2. List three charities/missions/organizations you support (and why).
Holy Name Central Catholic Jr. Sr. High School, the school my girls attend (The Eldest graduated 2 yrs ago). We support the school fund raisers, bake for the after concert teas - investing in the future through education.

Hmmm, a little weak in this area. Most of the disposable income goes to tuition. (-;

3. List three ways you have volunteered your time/services.
I chauffeur my elderly parents to doctor's appointments, errands and trips to Mahket Basket. Read about our antics at Whine and Cheeze (shameless plug)

I have coffee at least once a week with my elderly neighbor. Also help her solve the mysteries of the DVD player, plumbing leaks, telephone, telephone answering machines, billing questions...(She's at Whine also. Look for the tag Prissy. (-;)

Recently created an award for Himself's top freshman Chemistry student. Scroll down to see the Award (Another shameless plug! LOL)

4. List three things you keep "hidden" when company comes over.
My bedroom, clutter gets tossed in that room so the door is firmly kept shut. Nature tends toward entropy

The playroom/studio because I don't always put my toys away.

The pantry

5. List the last three things you've lost.
The gold from Meme question #1. The shop has called twice about problems with the car. Everytime they call there's a new needs fixin': shocks, tie rod, brake caliper, rotors...k'ching, k'ching

The two oblique penholders I wanted to bring in to class for my advanced calligraphy student

The Zanerian Book of Engrossing I wanted to bring in to class for my advanced calligraphy student.

6. List the last three things you've found.
The two oblique penholders. They were in the drawer where I thought they were even though I looked through that drawer twice!

The Zanerian Book of Engrossing. Found that in the bag I take to class. I never took the book out from the last class.

Ink's new hidey hole. There's a small chest of drawers for hats, mittens, and purses/totes in the front closet. The chest is hidden by the coats and jackets. I moved the coats aside to get my jacket, and jumped back with a start when two large yellow eyes were staring at me.

This meme is part of a promotion for Tricia Goyer's book, A Whisper of Freedom.
****Three brave "players" will be selected at random to win their own lost gold (Gourmet chocolate coins and all three books in the Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War series). To enter all you have to do is answer the MEME on your blog and then leave a comment on Tricia’s blog tour post here

I Found the Meme on Erica's page. Visit Erica to read her Meme answers and then give the Meme a try on your blog.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Chemistry Award

This week was spent working on a chemistry award to be given to one of Himself's freshman chemistry students. The actual award is a book. Book, it's over 8 inches in depth so should really be called a tome. The top freshman student is awarded a very expensive, reference tome from a publisher.

The publisher sends along a 5" x 7" bookplate printed on slick, crack and peel paper which is to be stuck to the inside front cover. The lines to write the student's name and the name of the school are 2 3/4" long. Try fitting Massachusetts Bay Community College in that space! Oh, it can be done, with a pin!

So several years ago when Himself asked me to fill out the bookplate, after much frowning, I worked up a design I could do something with and which would be suitable for framing.

The book hasn't been awarded for the past couple of years. The publisher was bought out by another company.

A few weeks ago, Himself brings home the tome and asks me to fill in the award. No problem! No problem until I couldn't find the clipart scroll design I used! I tried designing something else, but the old design was stuck in my head and nothing else would do. Fortunately, in my electronic portfolio, I found a high resolution scan of a previous award. Through the magic of Paint Shop Pro, I was able to remove the text. The scroll was then brought into Publisher and the new text typed in. The award was printed on Diploma Parchment from my Canon laser printer.

I was using a new (for me) nib. A Gillott #5005, from a box given to me a million years ago by a friend transplanted from MA to Portland, OR. Not sure if it was me, the nib, the paper or the Moon Palace sumi ink. Gouache was used for the illuminations and to paint the ivy leaves. The award was okay so I did another one. The best of the two would go to the student.

Oh, I should mention I was working on this Monday last, thinking I had plenty of time because graduation wasn't until the end of the month. I was thinking the award was going to a graduating student and I had all the time in the world. Himself asked if the award would be finished on Thursday. Thursday! I thought I had another week! Tuesday was a shot day because I had to take the Weebles grocery shopping. So Wednesay, I trotted my curvaceous behind downstairs to print out another certificate and no more Diploma Parchment! I had a ton of Arches Text Wove so ripped a sheet of that down and trimmed to go through the printer. Normally I don't like to write on the Text Wove. I find the paper too soft, but love it to make paste paper.

Well, I don't know whether it was me, the nibs, the paper or the ink, but the Arches Text Wove was lovely to write on. It looked better than the first one. I made a trip to Staples and bought a black presentation folder and stuck the award in using photo corners.

After working toot sweet, after slaving to meet the "I need this yesterday" deadline, what does Himself do? Yup, right out of the house Thursday morning without taking the award or book! Absent-minded professor is not an oxymoron.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Alternative Transportation

With the cost of gas rising daily, and the trend to go green, I'm turning to an alternate form of transportation. Anyone want a lift?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Princess and the Laundromat (based on a true story)

Once upon a time, the Little Princess' washing machine broke down. The washer was not to be repaired for several days, and the Little Princess did not know what she would do. Himself came to the rescue and took the Little Princess to the laundromat.

The Little Princess had never been inside a laundromat before. Armed with two rolls of quarters, the Little Princess followed Himself into the building. He carried two, huge duffel bags filled with towels, jeans, unmentionable, and karate uniforms. He had begged the Little Princess to bring all the dirty clothes, but the Little Princess was too embarrassed to air all her dirty laundry in front of the other patrons.

Himself showed the Little Princess how to stuff the heavy duty machines with lots of laundry. There were two soap dispensers so the Little Princess poured a capful of detergent and divided it between the two dispensers. She set lots of quarters in the slots, pushed and the washing machine magically hummed to life and began washing clothes. Himself left the Little Princess to stuff two more machines while he went to the super, super machines.

When the Little Princess was done stuffing her loads, she went to help Himself. He had stuffed and filled seven machines. The Little Princess went to put the soap in the soap dispenser, but alas, the soap dispenser was on the top of the machine and the Little Princess could not reach.

When all the laundry was happily tumbling in all the machines, Himself found a National Geographic magazine and a chair and settled Himself for the wait.

The Little Princess was thrilled to see two of the washers had completed the cycle. She saw other patrons grabbing cards, emptying their wash, and wheeling the carts to a bank of dryers. The Little Princess grabbed a cart, her laundry, and a roll of quarters and found an empty dryer. She put all the clothes in the dryer, but looked at the dryer with dismay. There was only one slot for one quarter.

Mustering her courage, the Little Princess approached a patron. "I'm a laundromat virgin. How much time does a quarter buy in the dryer?"

The patron very sweetly told the Little Princess, "Eight minutes, but I find it usually takes three or four quarters."

The Little Princess thanked the patron, counted out three quarters, and fed the dryer.

Other loads were finishing so the Little Princess emptied more clothes into her cart, found more empty dryers, and fed more quarters into the slot.

About this time, Himself announced he desired a Coke. The Little Princess looked at her dwindling roll of quarters and told him to wait until he got home and then Himself could guzzle all the liters of soda he wanted.

The load of towels did not dry with three quarters, and the Little Princess had run out of change. Himself showed the Little Princess how to make change from the change maker. He fed a ten dollar bill into the machine and it rained quarters. The Little Princess clapped her hands with delight, scooped up the quarters, and fed all the hungry dryers.

When the dryers finished, the Little Princess, with help from Himself, folded all the laundry and neatly stuffed it into the duffel bags.

Himself and the Little Princess were the last patrons in the laundry.

The proprietor came to chat with the Little Princess. "This was your first time in a laundromat, wasn't it?" she said.

"How could you tell?"

"You didn't chat with any of the patrons."

"Oh, I thought you had noticed my charming deer in the headlights look."

The Little Princess was greatly relieved to see the washer repairman early Tuesday morning. He diagnosed something clogging the pump. He removed the pump and sure enough thee was a little piece of wood inside."

The Little Princess tapped her cheek with her index finger.

"Hmm, who in this household would have a woody in his pocket?"

The Little Princess' washer was repaired, and she stuffed the remaining laundry in it. She happily filled the soap dispenser which she could reach all by herself, pushed the buttons, and played with her altered book while the washer sang.

The End.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Great East Music Festival

The Holy Name Central Catholic Junior Senior High School (try fitting all that on a check!) is off to the Great East Music Festival. Good luck, kids! Last year, they took a gold at the festival, the band took a platinum for their performance.

This clip is from the 2007 Spring Concert. The young man conducting is an HN alum, arranged the piece and conducted the chorus and pit band in the first public performance of his arrangement. Don't they sound great? My baby is wearing red capris and is to the right as you look at the stage in the first row.