Friday, December 31, 2010

The Friday Five

We're not ones for big parties and prefer quiet celebrations. Five ways we celebrate New Year's Eve at my house.

1. We have Chinese food for dinner. So doesn't everyone else in my town so the wait at dinner time can be upwards of an hour or two to get your food. I beat the rush by calling in our order around lunch time. No wait. Little boxes and foil trays sit in the fridge all afternoon, and when we're ready to eat, everyone nukes their favorites on a plate.

2. We watch The Three Stooges marathon. We're a household of Stooges fans. Can't think of a better way of waiting for midnight than watching the boys. No matter how many times I've seen the routines, the jokes and schticks never get old.

3. Just before midnight, we will switch the television station over to watch the ball drop at Times Square, and marvel at how well preserved Dick Clark is.

4. Himself will pour us a festive beverage to toast in the New Year as the ball countdown begins. Egg nog, soda, sparkling juice in wine glasses. When the girlies were little, they got a big charge out of this.

5. After the toast, the old folks will immediately head to bed with a reminder to the girlies to make sure the house is locked up, and the lights, computers, and television are turned off.

How do you celebrate New Year's Eve?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ice Lantern

This idea came from my friend, Bev. At least, I think it was Bev. Anyway, this is a candle holder made from ice. Bev used a star shaped mold. You can see a picture of a lantern used at the Alphabeas Holiday Luncheon.

I thought the lanterns would make lovely luminaria to line the front walk on New Year's Eve as well as a hostess gift. Very pretty and a lot safer than immolating a paper bag. I didn't have time to go out to look for a mold so I improvised. 

All you need are two containers a large one, and a smaller one that fits inside the larger one. And some sort of item to use as a weight: stones, marbles, hand-weights. Water, and a votive candle.

I used a plastic Mason jar for the larger container and a 9 oz. plastic cup for the inner container.  Fill the larger container with a couple of inches of water and let freeze until solid. Insert the smaller container and fill the space between the containers with water. Don't fill to the top, leave some room for the ice to expand. Insert your weight into the cup.

I used a one pound hand weight and duct tape to keep the weight from shifting. If you like, you can drop food coloring into the water. I wanted to freeze bits of holly and greens, but the space between my containers was too small. At the Christmas luncheon, fruit was use in the mold. Very pretty. Put your containers and weights into the freezer and freeze until solid.

To unmold, remove the duct tape and weight. Hold the container under hot running water. Place on a plate to use for a centerpiece, or place outside. Tie a bit of ribbon if you wish for a dash of color. Insert the votive candle and light.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I got tagged in another all about me meme on Facebook.

1. What time did you get up this morning? 
The first time, 5:15. The second time 6:30.
2. How do you like your steak? 
Medium well  
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? 
Avatar in 3D
4. What are your favorite TV shows?  
5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?  
  Somewhere warm all year long  
 6. What did you have for breakfast?  
Waiting for Himself to get up to have a muffin with him.
 7. What is your favorite cuisine?  
 8. What foods do you dislike? 
Cheese, especially when it’s not cooked.
9. Favorite Place to Eat? 
Anywhere I don’t have to cook the food
10. Favorite salad dressings?  
Balsamic Vinaigrette
11.What kind of vehicle do you drive?  
2004 Ford Taurus Wagon
12. What are your favorite clothes? 
Tee shirt and blue jeans
13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?  
Germany (again), Australia, Tasmania, Scotland, Greece
14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?   
½ full
15. Where would you want to retire?  
In the lap of luxury
17. Where were you born? 
In a hospital
18. What is your favorite sport to watch?  
Not much of a sports fan. Used to follow men’s tennis back in the olden days of Cliff Drysdale, Rod Laver, John Necombe, Tom Okker.  (I liked the packaging of the tiny white shorts (-;  )
19. Who do you think will not tag you back? 
20. Person you expect to tag you back first?  
21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this?  
 Anyone who answers  
22. Bird watcher? 
Would rather watch the Blokes
23. Are you a morning person or a night person?  
Mid-morning person
24. Pets? 
A black cat named Ink
25. Any new and exciting news that you'd like to share?  
Nope, SSDD (same sh…stuff, different day)
26. What did you want to be when you were little?  
A cowboy
27. What is your best childhood memory? 
When I was 10, I got a bike for Christmas. There was no snow that year and it wasn’t freezing cold so I spent the day riding my bike up and down the street.
28. Are you a cat or dog person? 
29. Are you married?
30. Always wear your seat belt? 
31. Been in a car accident? 
Yup. Christmas Eve morning 1984. I spun donuts across 3 lanes of a highway ( 128/95) and back. Thought I wasn’t going to be engaged that night.
32. Any pet peeves? 
I’ve never owned a peeve. Are they easy to keep? I like a low maintenance type of pet.
33. Favorite pizza topping? 
Sausage and mushroom
34. Favorite Flower?
Blue hydrangea, white roses, gardenias
35. Favorite ice cream? 
Heavenly Hash
 36. Favorite fast food restaurant? 
Wendy’s. I’m partial to the #4 heart attack on a bun
37. How many times did you fail your driver's test? 
3rd time’s a charm
38. From whom did you get your last email? 
The bride sent me her guest list
39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? 
Amazon, would be a toss up between books and electronics
40. Do anything spontaneous lately? 
41. Like your dinner last night? 
42. Broccoli? 
43. What was your favorite vacation? 
1998 Trip to SC to visit Himself’s college roommate and family, saw Lurray Caverns on the way down and Hershey Park on the way back., 2005 Legacies in Dallas, TX where I got to meet Nutterone and go to my first rodeo, 2006 trip to the Twin Cities with The Young One, got to meet Erica and Nutterone took us to the MN Zoo, Mall of America, and Sunrise, MN birthplace of Richard Widmark.
44. Last person you went out to dinner with? 
45. What are you listening to right now? 
46. What is your favorite color? 
47. How many tattoos do you have? 
None, but I’ve done 2 designs for clients and working on a third design
48. Coffee drinker?
Nope, tea.
49. How many children do you have? 

If you want to play along, copy and paste. Then let me know.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Blizzard 2010

We're still in the middle of the first significant snowstorm of the season. By Minnesota standards, our foot of snow (so far) is  a flake on the shovel. The weather dudes are calling this the Blizzard of 2010 (nothing as colorful as Snowmageddon, the storm that collapsed the Metrodome roof) Our storm met the criteria for blizzard conditions (sustained winds or wind gusts over 35 mph, snow, and reduced visibility for 3 hrs or more).

It's still snowing this morning (7:30 am) though hard to tell how much snow we've gotten because of the drifts. Still windy as the ribbon on the lamp post is acting like a windsock. The wind is blowing in from the northeast. Happily the mailbox survived the plows (so far), we still have electricity, and there's still candy in the candy house.

It would be nice if this was the first and last storm for the winter, but I doubt it. In the meantime, I'll keep my eye on the First Day of Summer widget I installed. Only 175 more days!

What's it like out your window today?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

Richard Widmark Tribute

Craig | Myspace Video

and vikings, and soldiers, and homicidal psychopaths, and detectives, and naval officers, and down on their luckers, and...

Richard Widmark
26. December 1914 - 24. March 2008
Gone but still greatly admired.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Friday Five

Christmas Eve seemed like the longest day of the year when I was a little kid. Emotions and excitement both ran high. Was I on the naughty list? What would Santa bring? Five of the best gifts Santa brought:

1. Etch-A-Sketch, the magic drawing screen that you shook to erase your drawing and start all over again. I loved to try to write in cursive.

2. Colorforms, die cut vinyl shapes you stuck on a plastic laminated board. Though I loved all the sets, I was partial to Miss Weather and Miss Cookie's Kitchen.

3. As a tomboy, I didn't care much for playing dolls. (Did you ever notice how incredibly ugly the 1960's Barbie doll was?) However, the Christmas I was 4 or 5 (1959 or 1960) I received a doll I absolutely loved. The doll was just my size (around 3 ft tall) and walked albeit stiff legged if you held her hand. She could even wear my clothes. She had short curly blonde hair and blue eyes. Santa propped her in a real baby bassinet for me to find at 5am Christmas morning (we have home movies to prove it). The doll was about the only doll I ever really enjoyed playing with. Until The Brother decided to use her for target practice and shot her eye out with a bb-gun.

4. Spirograph, a drawing toy consisting of small gears, that fit into larger rings. You pinned a sheet of paper to a piece of cardboard. Pinned a ring or gear on the paper and fitted another gear to the inside or outside of the ring or outside of the gear. Each gear had a bunch of holes. You fit a colored ballpoint pen into one of the holes and carefully engaged the gears going around and around creating wicked cool geometric shapes.

5. The box of 64 Crayola Crayons with the built in sharpener.  So many colors!

What was your favorite toy to play with when you were a kid?

Monday, December 20, 2010

'Tis The Season

Wearing a sweater, sweatshirt or polartec, and rubber soled shoes plus dry air adds up to making the human body a giant van de Graaf generator. Static electricity flies from my fingers every time I get up from my nylon covered computer chair. The Young One has a door chime in her room. My electric presence in the kitchen 10 feet away from her room has set the door chime off! While I think lightning shooting from my fingertips is a pretty cool super hero power to have, most others don't agree. To lessen the impact of a hug, I usually carry around a twist of tin foil so I can de Guass myself, that is get rid of the static charge. When outside my home, I wear a wrist watch with a metal band. (The foil twist is dorky and too Harry Potterish)  A must to touch the band to the car door before filling up the car with gas!

If you could choose a super hero power to have, what would it be? 

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Friday Five

The weather dudes are humming about our first major snowstorm. I think they're jealous of the amount of snow that has piled up in the Land of Here There Be Dragons. (MN, IA and places further west of 495 (-;   ) I think the weather dudes also get a kick back from the grocery stores by creating a panic so that shelves of bread and milk are wiped out. Though I hate to get sucked into the panic mode, I also want to hedge my bet. So five things we do to prepare for a major storm.

1. Himself will fill up the gas can with gas. Both for the snow blower (though that needs to be fixed) and more importantly for the generator to keep the sump pump running in case the electricity goes out or the basement may flood.

2. I will fill up empty kitty litter buckets with water. No, not to drink. If we lose electricity, we also lose the pump to the well. No electricity, no well, no water to flush the toilet. The joys of life in the Back of Beyond. I will also fill the tea kettle and a couple of pitchers of water to drink.

3. Himself will go to the grocery store and will buy milk. Tea without milk is so barbaric as Blythe the Forger in The Great Escape tells Hendley the Scrounger.

4. Himself will also buy candy. This will be under the guise of filling the candy house for the holiday. (Four bags of candy have already disappeared. Damn elves.)

5. And just so we will have some nonperishable food stuffs, Himself will also tote home cookies, crackers, and chips. If the storm fizzles, Himself will be able to keep up his strength while watching the Patriots game on Sunday.

What storm preparations do you take in case of a major storm?

in the past we have found if we complete steps 1 and 2, the storm fizzles.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Love it, or Hate it?

I was savoring the last treat from the bag. A soft, puffy marshmallow enrobed in toasted coconut. I love coconut. Coconut shrimp, macaroons, cake, donuts, Hostess Snoballs (even if they are pink), Almond Joy, Mounds. Pina Collada.  The list goes on and on. I think coconut is one of those food you either love or hate. No middle ground with coconut.

What about you? Coconut, love it or hate it?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Dishes

Several years ago, a friend gave me 4 place settings of the Spode Christmas Tree pattern. She didn't use them so gave them to me. The family grew but the budget didn't. I've been adding place settings from the Christopher Radko Christmas Tree pattern found at Target. I love using the Christmas dishes during this month. Even plain old meat loaf seems festive when presented on a Christmas plate.

Do you use Christmas dishes? What's your pattern?

Monday, December 13, 2010


Finished the wreath and hung it on my front door.

What's on your front door?

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Friday Five

This week's five topic came from Himself. Five things that should never be empty

1. the tissue box

2. your wallet. As the Irish blessing goes, "May your purse always hold a coin or two."

3. a candy dish

4. the refrigerator

5. the toilet paper holder

Want to add to the list?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

On the Drawing Board

I've been asked to illustrate a Christmas poem. The 36 line poem was too long to fit into a small sized frame. So I typed the poem in Word using 12 pt Lucida Calligraphy, a "calligraphic" looking font. (Technically, if it's not done by hand, it can't be called calligraphy) The poem was printed on Diploma Parchment a lovely cream colored paper using a laser printer. The Diploma Parchment is not that mottled junk you find in pads in some art aisles of chain stores. I don't know the paper mill, but Diploma Parchment is one of my favorite papers to work on. It takes both ink and paints well and doesn't buckle.

In the poem, a homeless woman visits a crèche in a city park. The illustration, a decorated initial for the first word of the poem measures approximately 1 3/4" x 1 3/4". Painted with gouache, watercolors, Pigma pen. I was asked to make two copies, one for the client to give as a gift to the poet's daughter and one for the client to keep. This illustration is almost complete except for adding the features to the faces of Mary and the baby. The figures of Mary and the baby are surrounded by a wash of Schminke Goldperl watercolor.  The scan is meh.

What letter do you see in the illustration.?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


threw up in my kitchen! Must mean it's wreath making season.

This is the wreath I made for my parents and elderly neighbor. Hard to see in the pic. There's a little bird and pinecone on the left, pinecones, holly leaves and berries.

Do you make holiday decorations?

Monday, December 6, 2010

A First

Last week, I bought a graphic novel for the first time. Oh, I've read them. My girlies are heavily into anime and manga so I've read their graphic novels. (Ssshhh) Gundam Wing, Ruroni Kenshin, Card Captor Sakura, Heat Guy J to name a few.

As reading material goes the graphic novel (comic books for us old folks) was enterntaining enough, but not a genre I embraced. As a kid, reading comic books was severely frowned upon by the nuns and my parents. Perhaps it was a gender thing. Not suitable for girls, but considered more of a boy sport. If I wanted to read a comic book, I went to Himself's house and read his comic books. Superman, The Hulk, Captain America, The Mighty Thor, and a bunch of Micky Mouse and Donald Duck. Himself even had comic book versions of classics like Treasure Island.  I always preferred to read the book version of the classics.

When author, Diana Gabaldon, announced a few months ago, she was releasing a graphic novel based on Outlander, I was both excited and skeptical. How could an intricate story be condensed into the graphic novel format? The entire Outlander series has captivated me, and I wondered if the graphic novel would hold up.

The Exhile tells the story from the Jaime, the hero's point of view and that of his godfather, Murtagh. This version allows us to see things that Claire, the heroine, didn't see or know. (Outlander is told from Claire's perspective.)

The illustrations by Hoang Nguyen are very lush. The pages are thick with a lovely glossy finish. I wondered how the artist would be able to translate the description of Jamie. Each reader as her/his own idea of what Jamie looked liked. Mr. Nguyen came pretty close. Though in some later panels, faces seem to be a bit distorted. As if a square drawing had to be put into a rectangular panel. One amusing point is the drawing of Claire.  She's described in the book as having a well rounded figure. She starts out in the graphic novel as a well endowed woman, and ends with Mother of Heaven, but did you see the size of her MacGuffies? LOL

Perhaps that's part of the graphic novel/comic book genre. All the heroines and villainesses in the comic books seemed to have enormous MacGuffies and very tiny waists. I always wondered how Wonder Woman, for example, could stand up without toppling over let alone run as she was so top heavy.

I enjoyed reading The Exhile. And had the same thought I always have at the end of Gabaldon's novels. That's it? That's it? Though I found the graphic novel to be entertaining and a quick read, I'd rather wait for the 8th book in the series to come out.

Do you like the graphic novel genre or prefer to have your own imagination furnish the illustrations for a novel?

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Friday Five

It's Grinch season. I'm with Ocscar ; the season starts too early and lasts too long. Six months of Summer? I'll be first in line to by a ticket. Six months of Christmas? Bah humbug! I whined about things that make me grinchy last year. You can read about them here.  In the meantime, enjoy a little Oscar.

Are you a grinch, too?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What Do You Do?

What do you do when your barely over five foot tall daughter (though quite tall for a Hobbit) brings home a gown she must wear for the Festival Chorus?

What do you do when she tries on the dress which was made for an Amazon woman?

What do you do when most of the skirt pools around on the floor  like a black, satin lake?

What do you do when you are told, the gown may not be permanently altered to fit your daughter?

First you panic!

Why didn't they give you this dress last week when the new dress order was placed? We could have had time to think. Think.

And I thought.

We could pin the hem!

No, the pins would be pokey when she walked. And they would leave holes.

Staples! If they didn't leave holes going in, they certainly would leave holes when pulled out.

Scotch tape.

Not sticky enough.

Duct tape.

Too sticky. The glue residue might remain on the dress.

What then? What then?

Light bulb!

Painter's tape!

Sticky enough to hold the substantial satiny fabric, but not too sticky. 

Up went the hem.

Six and a half inches all the way around.

The hem is up.

As she slowly turns, the hem appears to be even!

She walks in safety in the night.

Hopefully, the tape won't give way as she climbs up on stage and her riser.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

D.I.Y Greeting Cards and Tags

Yesterday, Jill commented on the gift tag post:  I never thought to make my own. Do you print them on stickers or paper? How do you like Publisher?

Yes, or yes. I usually print on whatever I have hanging around. Stickers, business cards, card stock. I've used Publisher for many, many years so I'm very comfortable with it to make greeting cards, labels, tags, business cards, and long ago my webpage. I like Publisher especially if I don't have label paper or business cards that are already marked and scored. In the Print Set up function, Publisher allows crop marks which makes it easier to know where to cut if you are using plain paper or cardstock

However, you're not limited to using Publisher, espeically if you don't own the program. You can design cards and labels in Word. Microsoft Office On Line offers hundreds of templates for all Office products. The service is free. The templates are easy to use as is or to edit for your own desgins.

Don't have Office? Not to worry. Avery Products offers free templates plus free software for their paper products. Avery also makes it easy to customize a template. The site also has project ideas with step by step instructions. A myriad of Avery products can be found at office supply stores like Staples and Office Max.

Long  before Publisher came along, I used  Print Master  by Broderbund to make cards and things. This program is not free, but provided a lot of entertainment for my girlies when they were little as the program was easy enough for them to use.  I liked it because I could scan in my own artwork or my girlies' art as well as use the clipart provided. Got artsy-crafty kids? This would make a great gift. You can find the software at Staples, and I think I've seen it at Target.

Wouldn't Grandma love a set of address labels with artwork by the kids?

And of course you can hand make items without using a computer. The Welcome sign above was made by decoupaging wrapping paper snow people onto a scrap of mat board using Mod Podge as the glue. Torn tissue paper was glued on for the snow. Snowflake and holly stickers were added. Don't have Mod Podge around and don't want to buy it? No worries. Use a 50-50 mix of PVA glue (good ol' Elmer's white glue) and water.

Have fun crafting!

Monday, November 29, 2010


Before being dragged into the season crush, thought this little drawing would make a cute gift tag. Will import the image into Publisher. The business card template will make a nice size and yield 10 tags on each sheet.

Have you started your season preparations?

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Friday Five

Four things I won't be doing today. One thing I will be doing.

1.  I won't be getting up at the crack of dawn. Not if I can help it. Himself is an early riser getting up between 4am and 4:30am.  I usually try to roll over while he goes out to milk the chickens or whatever he does at that ungodly hour.

2. I won't be out and about at the malls looking for those Black Friday deals. I'll leave the thrill of the hunt to the experts, BVMom and her sister. I may get a jump on Black Monday point and click shopping.

3. I won't be driving. Anywhere. Not here. Not there. Not in a car.

4. I won't be cooking. When someone asks, "What's for lunch?" I'll reply, "Pretend I'm dead." Same reply to dinner question too.

5. What I will be spending a good portion of the day on will be figuring out why the smartphone no longer syncs properly. The calendar syncs, but not the contacts and why my administrator settings crashed and burned. Thank Gawd the data is backed up all over the place.

What are you doing today?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Today is...

Pie Day! Well, not THE pie day. That's 3/14. Today is pie making day. Pumpkin pie, coconut custard, and I shall attempt Dreamy Apple Pie from The Pioneer Woman.

Are you baking pies? What kind?

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Friday Five

One of my favorite places to hang out when I was a kid was the library. Sometimes I would just wander through the stacks running my hand along the spines of the books. I used to dream of one day having a library of my very own. Floor to ceiling bookshelves and a ladder on caster tracks to reach the highest shelf and roll from wall to wall.

I also love electronics. Shiny, sleek gadgets, with glowing screens and the gentle hum of power. Wouldn't it be great if someone could put a library ino the palm of your hand? Enter e-readers and my dream come true.

1. iPad. A Holy Grail of bells and whistles is out of my price range unless I win a lottery. I think I have a better chance of being struck by lighting.

2. Kindle. Affordable. 3500 book storage. Be still my heart. Wi-Fi and free 3G for life. Limited Internet. Upload your own PDF files, but may need to pay small upload and reformatting charge

I was lusting after the Kindle and came very close to purchasing, but as I always think when a new gadget comes down the Pike, will something better come along shortly? Should I jump in or wait and see?

3. Barnes and Noble Nook COLOR. Affordable. Wi-Fi and an SD slot. Be still my heart SD. That means unlimited amounts of storage. That means more than 3500 books even if I couldn't read them all in my lifetime. Upload PDF files with USB cable. No fee

4. Wi-Fi vs. 3G. Wi-Fi not as fast as 3G still able to connect to my own home network and can pickup the hotspot in any Barnes and Noble store, airports

5. 3G fast and free for life. But what happens when  4G (that is fourth generation) comes along? Will 3G still be supported and will it still be free or is that for a short time only?

I am leaning towards the Nook Color.  with the SD slot the storage becomes giddily unlimited. Color makes it atrractive to read magazines. I have some PDF art technique reference files and would be nice to have them handy to the drafting table instead of running back and forth to the desktop or having to print out and store a hardcopy. ditto recipes in the kitchen. Not having to pay even a minimal fee is attractive too. I was hoping to see a demo at my local Barnes and Noble, but as the product hasn't been released yet, the store didn't have one. They are supposed to get one in on Black Friday (sales high holy day the Friday after Thanksgiving). I'll wait until Monday to go see it as the crush of crowds and the thrill of the hunt do not beckon me.

Now, if someone could just create a device: lightweight, thin, small, but with a large enough screen, powerful to surf the web, color, capable of unlimited storage and had phone capabilities (with a Blue Tooth headset for privacy) so I didn't have to carry around a bunch of devices: laptop or netbook, phone, and e-reader, I'd be right there.

What do you think?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wed Letter Day

While it's still Wed, today and last week's letter B and Z. B Sharpie markers over tissue paper. Z, Ziller Glossy Black with the ever faithful Nikko G, Pearl Ex pigments because I felt sparkly today.

What are you working on?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Counting Blessings

One of my guilty pleasures is fresh, baked cinnamon buns. My friend, Lambie, would make them when I went to visit. I was over her house so often, she gave me her recipe. LOL On Sunday morning, I got up at 5am to make a batch. The process is not fast, but so worth it. The heady smell of cinnamon, a light and fluffy texture, drizzled with a sticky sweet icing. I'm  dying just typing this.

Walnut ink, Nikko G, colored pencil, Painters white calligraphy pen

What's your guilty pleasure?

Monday, November 15, 2010


I was hoping to get a chance to demo Barnes and Nobles new e-reader,  Nook Color today. My local BN didn't have a demo model. The sales clerk gave me a brochure (where the graphic came from) and a sign up slip to be notified when the Nook Color comes in store. Supposedly, it will be on site for demo on Friday, 26. November 2010. Black Friday. No way will I be at the mall on that day. More thoughts on e-readers on The Friday Five.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Friday Five

The holiday season is just around the corner. With the stress of cleaning, preparing meals, shopping for the perfect gift, and dealing with in-laws, family and outlaws, sometimes it's tough to keep a sense of humor.  Five movies that crack me up no matter how many times I've seen them:

1. The Russians are Coming, The Russians Are Coming,  A Soviet submarine runs aground off theNew England coast. Misunderstanding and hilarity ensue as the Soviet landing party tries to find a boat to free the sub and the town residents are under the impression they are under a full blow attack. Wonderful cast with Carl Reiner, Alan Arkin, Brian Keith, Theodore Bikel and Paul Ford. The movie is especially funny as there are no subtitles when the Soviets speak to each other, but there are enough cues for the audience to easily follow along.

2. Young Frankenstein. The grandson of the infamous Dr. Frankenstein tries to live down his family's repuation and fulfill his destiny. A Mel Brooks classic. Just looking at Gene Wilder (Frankenstein) is enough to reduce me to fits of giggles. Add Marty Feldman, Madeleine Kahn, and Peter Boyle as The Monster and prepare to laugh until your face hurts.

3.  Coneheads Beldar and Prymatt an alien couple from planet Remulak on an invasion scouting mission to Earth become stranded. In their own way, they try to blend in and settle for a comfortable life on Earth. Until the INS and the invasion force from their home planet catch up with them. Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtin

4. Some Like It Hot. Musicians Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon witness a mob hit. The only way they can escape is to disguise themselves as women and join an All Girl Band. The plan goes well until Tony Curtis falls for Sugar (Marilyn Monroe) and the millionaire (Joe E. Brown) tries to woo Jack Lemmon. Both Curtis and Lemmon are superb as they try to negotiate girdles, high heels, and a feminine walk while trying to maintain their secret.

5. Arsenic and Old Lace Poor newly married Mortimer (Cary Grant) just wants to take his bride and go on the honeymoon. Before any happily ever after, Mortimer must deal with his two dotty aunties who put lonley old gentleman out of their misery, a brother who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt, and the return of Johnny an evil thug of a brother who resembles Boris Karloff.  The Karloff schtick is a riot as is Grant's performance from sane to nearly being a candidate for The Happy Dale Rest Home.

Do you have a comedy I can add to my list? By the way, these would make great holiday gifts.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Begin Again, Finnegan

Plateau dreaded word. Three weeks of not moving forward even though I was sticking with the plan. I didn't think I'd hit this point so soon. Thought I would reach this point when trying to lose the last 10 balloons, not the first ten. Poor body went into shock. I even tried adding an extra lap to the morning walk. Nothing yet.

So no loss, but no gain. How's your week?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


"He who findeth a wife findeth a good thing. Proverbs 18:22 And occasionally I telleth my husband" A small amuseument done at the WAM Open House demo. I set it aside and came across it the other day. Brause  1.5 mm, Higgins Eternal on Diploma Parchment, watercolor pencil. Digitally framed in PSP X3

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Counting Blessings

Falling back to standard time has its advantages. An extra hour of warm feet.  What do you like about going back to standard time?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Time Change

To bad the Fall Back time change rule, didn't include the weather. I wouldn't mind the weather falling back to July.

What's the weather outside your window?

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Friday Five

As a kid I loved watching television. Ma worked and as a latch key child (only we didn't have a name back then) I spent a lot of time in front of the electronic babysitter. The television was controlled by The Brother, sixe years my senior, but I loved most of the shows he watched. Shows I watched when I was around 8 or 10 years old.

1. Lost in Space. A family of space explorers knocked off their course to Alpha Centauri. Too bad they didn't have a GPS. Hokey even back then with monsters made from plastic garbage bags and giant artificial palm fronds, I loved this show. Starred Guy Williams from Zorro fame.  Loved the Robot the best. Family Network is now showing this chestnut at 5p and 6 p EDT. I sometimes tune in while making supper. Still hokey, but lots of fun especially seeing some big name actors guest starring: Albert Salmi, Michael Rennie.

2. Before Guy Williams starred in Lost in Space, he was Zorro righting wrongs in Spanish California. I loved the way he slashed a Z on poor Sgt. Garcia's ample girth.  As an adult I watched the movie starring Tyrone Power. Wonderful movie, but Guy Williams is still Zorro to me.

3.  From Irwin Allen, the same producer as Lost in Space came Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Following the adventures of the submarine Seaview and her crew. One of the first shows produced in color (second season on) Monsters from Lost in Space were recycled for this show. My favorite character is the Exec, Chip Morton. What can I say, hard to resist a blond fella in uniform. 20th Century Fox has been releasing the series to DVD. Happy to say the 2nd half of season 4 the final season is scheduled to release just before Christmas.  The show is as outlandish as ever but wonderfully entertaining.

4. The Outer Limits a sci-fi show was good for producing heebie-geebies. The show opened with a voice announcing "We have control of your television...." One episdode especially gave me the shivers. Something about a group traveling to Mars. Everyone was sitting in the space ship all excited. The pilot was wearing a helmet with the sun visor down. He lifted his visor and his eyes!  Oh my gawd! They looked like fried eggs! At that scene, I buried my face in the carpet. Later, The Brother thought it was hilarious to circle his thumb and forefinger and place his hands over his eyes and chase me around the house, the fried egg-eyed pilot chasing me. I was not amused.

5. One of our favorite shows came from England, The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Richard Greene. This show was broadcast on WMUR TV channel 9 from Manchester, New Hampshire. The only way we could see this show was for me to hold onto the television rabbit ears and dance around until the static snow cleared to a grainy image. Didn't matter I loved the handsome and dashing Richard Greene.  I even got to wear the Robin Hood hat I coveted from The Brother's Halloween costume. It wasn't until I was a young adult that I saw the movie starring Errol Flynn as the outlaw hero. The fencing scenes in the television show aren't nearly as well choreographed as the movie, but Richard Greene cuts a fine figure and makes a very believable Robin of Locksley  fighting for good and justice. I also fell in love with the book adventures of Robin Hood illustrated by Howard Pyle. Most likely this was the seed that led to my studies of Middle English Literature in college.

 A year or so ago, I found the entire first season of the show in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart. I couldn't resist. I still love the show. Last week, The Young One pulled out the DVDs and became totally engrossed in the story.  Made me proud. Good to edumucate the younger generation.

So what "modern" novel does the character of Robin Hood first appear? Cue the Jeopardy music...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Begin Again, Finnegan

A gold star for me! That's my familiar, Ink, and me in the illustration. I'm wearing my Jack O'Lantern shirt.  A darker color blob made an interesting shape that looked like a cape. Not my hair blowing in the wind. My hair isn't that long. Gouache, Sharpie marker, crayons, and stickers. Lettering needs to be added.

And why did I award myself a gold star? I did not eat any Halloween candy. That's right! Not a morsel passed through my lips. I asked Himself to buy a bag of Reese's Cups to hand out to the Trick or Treaters. I don't like Reese's Cups. Adding peanut butter is a waste of perfectly good chocolate in my opinion. So it was very easy for me to stay away from the pumpkin treat bucket.

Week 5. Another week where I plateaued. I didn't expect this to happen so quickly. Deep sigh. Forlorn look.

How was your week?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wed Letter Day

A re-do of the letter S. The first one was a wax resist on a pale blue watercolor background. It didn't show up very well.

Have you scrapped a project and started all over again?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Counting Blessings

I was taught this little rhyme when I was in Kindergarten. It's stuck with me ever since. And remember, if you don't vote, you don't get to whine.

Ziller Glossy Black, Brause 1 mm., Ziller Cardinal Red, Nikko G

Monday, November 1, 2010


Another study of hands. I found the left hand exceedingly difficult to draw. Just couldn't "see" the shapes and get my head and pencil to go around them. Barbie says, "drawing hands is hard." I'll set it aside and come back to it later.

Have you found a task difficult to comprehend and execute? Do you just plow through it or, do you set it aside for a later time?

Sunday, October 31, 2010


From the Working Stiff and The Ninja, have a Happy Halloween. Oh, and wish Ink a happy birthday. He's 13 years old today.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Friday Five

I love Halloween. It's my favorite holiday. I love the spooky decorations, the costumes, and of course, the candy.  Five Halloween memories:

1. My ma was a seamstress. When I was six, she made me an Indian princess costume. She sewed a fringed dress out of suede. The suede was pink. I wanted to wear The Brother's Robin Hood costume which he had outgrown. I didn't win the argument.

2. One year, The Brother decided he was going to go trick or treating across the entire town. He had a pillowcase, and he wasn't going home until the pillowcase was full. It was pouring buckets that year, as it did most Halloweens I remember. Ma must have made Dad drive us around trick or treating. We were on Bacon Street, about 1/4 mile from the house. The Brother with his pillowcase and me with a brown paper shopping bag. Crossing the street the bottom of my soggy shopping bag let go. All my treats ended in a wet mound on the street. I remember wailing like a bansidhe (banshee), Dad speaking in tongues as I was hauled into the car sans candy. That was the end of Dad taking us trick or treating.

3. We had a costume parade in the lower grades (1-4) of my parochial school. Only rule, everyone had to dress up as a saint since the holiday was All Hallow's Eve followed by All Saints Day (a holy day of obligation and a day off for us kids after attending Mass) Anywho, there were only two costumes. All the little girls dressed up as The Virgin Mary and all the boys dressed up as St. Joseph. Except the twin boys in my class. They came as Sts. Peter and Paul because their names were Peter and Paul.

4.  After the Halloween in the Rain fiasco, I went trick or treating ( in the rain) with Himself and his siblings. His mother walked us around the neighborhood. I can still see her in her tan trenchcoat, her giant mushroom of an umbrella, a kerchief on her head, and her flashlight. Most of the time we had winter jackets on because it was so cold.

5.  The scariest Halloween was when I was five years old. The Brother was eleven. I was dressed as a gypsy. Ma bought the costume for a buck or two at the Five and Ten Cent store. The Brother was wearing the Robin Hood costume I coveted. My costume was made of cheap nylon. A green bodice with a gold skirt that fell to my ankles. I wore my winter jacket over this. There was also a plastic mask of a gypsy face with red lips, black hair, and painted hoop earrings. The Brother took my hand and we trick or treated to the six neighbor's houses on our street. The most popular house on the street was the Hunter's because they always invited all the children into their home. Yes, this was in the real olden days when Halloween was first celebrated. At some houses you would be invited in for doughnuts and cider or candy apples, and a small Halloween party. Even though the Hunter's children were all grown, they still invited kids in for doughnuts and cider. Mr. Hunter was kind of a big kid himself. He loved to dress up. We climbed up the Hunter's front steps. The Brother rang the doorbell.  We could hear the Halloween party noises inside. I was very excited as this was probably the first time I was allowed out to go trick or treating. The door opened very slowly. A huge green ghastly hand was pulling the door open.  A hideous ghouish face peered around the door. The Brother let go of my hand and crossed the threshhold. The ghoul was making hideous moaning sounds at me, beckoned me to come in and then reached to take my hand. The whole time this was going on, my mouth was frozen in a wordless O. As the ghoul's hand came closer to mine, I recovered my wits along with a heaping lung full of air. I flipped off my mask and let out a blood curdling scream that to this day is still echoing in the frozen voids of space. I leaped off the front steps. My trick or treat bag went flying. The skirt of my costume tore with a loud rrrriiiiiiiiiiiiippp as my feet tangled in the hem.  Finding my footing, I went screaching up the street to my house waving my arms over my head to give me speed. The ghoul was close on my heels calling to me.

"Wait! It's me! Mr. Hunter!..."

I wasn't falling for that old trick.

Do you have any Halloween memories?

Happy Halloween. Blessed Samhain.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Begin Again Finnegan

I've been doing pretty well with not snacking between meals. I even set Sunday as a you-can-eat-what-you want day, and I haven't gone overboard. Himself had a bag of Halloween size Hershey bars, and I only had one! One! Usually with chocolate around, I'd be in and out of the bag a dozen times. But I only had one! So I was insufferably pleased with myself.

Then came Saturday. Mole Day., a chemist's holiday celebrating Avogardro's Number 6.0221415 × 1023

If you've forgotten your chemistry or are just curious, you can read about it here Since it was Mole Day, we had to celebrate with special food. After trying to decide what to make, Himself suggested Molasses Cookies. So I baked and then had to taste one which led to tasting another and another and... (They were sinfully good!) This wouldn't have been so bad except The Young One was home on Fall break for the week. Which meant, I didn't go for a walk around my block. I didn't even dust off the treadmill. And I had lunch out twice this week.

After week 4, I didn't lose any balloons, but I didn't gain any either. Just stayed the same.

Cookies are my downfall. What's your downfall?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wed Letter Day

A letter for last week, and a letter for this week.  Word of the week is Whimsy. The W is from a decorative element in Timothy Noad's The Illuminated Alphabet. That's my go to book for inspiration.

What books do you turn to for inspiration?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Counting Blessings

The Young One's college was on Fall break. We had an errand to run out in the western part of the state, not far from The Eldest's college. After we were finished, we went to the college. The Eldest had no afternoon classes, so we went to the nearby mall to hang out a bit. And then we went to Ruby Tuesday's for lunch.

Fun listening to them talk about school, what they're doing. What they hope to do.  No longer little girls, but young women.

Ziller Glossy Black, Nikko G nib, water soluble oil pastels, Sharpie marker.

Where's your favorite place to have lunch?

Monday, October 25, 2010


Another view of MAHAND. Anybody but me remember the ventriloquist from The Ed Sullivan Show? He had a face painted on his hand, moved his thumb up and down to make the face talk. He rested his hand on a wood stand with a little suit. I thought it was hysterically funny so of course I painted my hand with a little face and made it talk.

Anybody else do this as a kid? Anybody still do it?

In case  you were too young to remember The Ed Sullivan Show, you can see a clip of Señor Wences on YouTube

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Friday Five

Five pets that have owned me:

1. When I was very little, maybe 4 or 5 yrs. old, we had two goldfish, one for The Brother and one for me. The Brother liked to go fishing in the goldfish bowl and pick up the goldfish, usually by their dorsal fins. I don't think the goldfish lasted very long.

2. I had a little turtle (the kind that comes from the pet store) named Sidney.  Sidney lived in a plastic turtle bowl that had a plastic palm tree. I also found a nice flat rock so he could sit under his palm tree. When Sidney passed, I had an elaborate funeral for him.

3.  The Brother was dating a girl and her family was going on vacation. She asked The Brother if he could take care of her kitten, Jeanette.  The Brother said yes. Shortly after the girl came back from vacation, she and The Brother broke up. She never came to pick up Jeanette. My ma was not happy. I was. I loved the kitty who turned out to be a male who got stuck with a girl's name. Jeanette would sit on the stairs and wait for me to come home from school. When he saw me, he would run down the street to walk  me to the house.

4. Mitty was a charcoal grey and white cat we got when The Eldest was 8. She was afraid of animals. I didn't think that was a good thing. I convinced Himself we needed to get a pet, a cat.  It took a lot of convincing since Himself is not a catophile. Walking a dog at 11pm on our dark road in the dead of winter didn't sound so appealing to him either. We went to the animal shelter and there was Mitty. Mitty was such a lovable kitty. I think he was so happy to get out of the shelter. He taught The Young One to eat a little faster, too. She was a dawdler when it came to breakfast. He would jump up on the table and lap the milk out of her cereal bowl.

5. Ink is the current ruler of the roost. We got him a few months after Mitty got hit by a car. I wasn't sure I wanted another pet so soon, but the girls wanted another cuddly kitty. The vet's receptionist had  a neighbor with a litter of kittens. She brought a boxful of kitties to the house. There was one carmel tabby with the most beautiful blue eyes, but she was already spoken for. Most of the other kitties were black and white and they reminded the girls of Mitty. Two kitties were all black, a male and a female. The Eldest wanted a girl kitty. The Young One wanted a boy kitty. I didn't see why we couldn't have two kitties, but Himself had the don't even think about it look on his face. The girls finally chose the runt of the litter. Ink was so small he couldn't eat the kitty kibble. On the vet's advice, I had to make oatmeal and scrambled eggs for Ink until his jaws were strong enough to crunch the kibble. Himself was not happy that I cooked breakfast for the cat, but not for him.

Do you have pets that own you?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Begin Again Finnegan

 A few years ago, I heard 10,000 steps was the magic number. If you could make 10,000 steps during your day, you would shape up, lose weight. Apparently, 10,000 steps is equal to 5 miles.  I thought it was worth a shot so I bought a pedometer. Once around my block is a little over 1/4 mile. The first day I wore the pedometer, I managed some 6400 steps. Not bad, except it was real easy to cheat. Just clipping the pedometer to my pocket earned me 3 steps. Up down chairs, up down porcelain throne also garnered extra steps.  LOL

After week three, I lost another balloon for a total of 5 balloons gone.

How many steps do you think you take in one day?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Counting Blessings

 Apparently, decorative  tape to spruce up packages, envelopes, and art journals is all the rage. DIYSara has a simple tutorial that can save you some do-re-mi by using items you have around the house: masking tape and colored markers to make your own deco tape. This would also make a great project for the kiddos to decorate tape to send gifts to Grandma or to personalize their own stuff.

Bev's guild, Alphabeas, recently had a workshop using Frank Lloyd Wright's architect's printing. Since distance prevented me from attending the workshop, Bev's post allowed me to play along.

I'm  always happy to have new things to learn.  Ziller Glossy Black, Nikko G nib, drafting tape (like masking tape only removable), Sharpie markers.

What new things have you learned?

Monday, October 18, 2010


Today's M.A.H.O.D. is MAHAND. LOL I just slay me!

Color me surprised. Usually I have trouble drawing hands that look like hands. I'm quite adept at drawing a hand that looks like a mitten, or a cartoony hand with four fingers, but not a real hand. Still have to draw my hand in two other positions to complete this assignment.

What's your take on puns? Love 'em? Leave 'em?

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Friday Five

Well, I never...

1. I've never been skiing. Not one for cold and snow. Though the idea of curling up before a fire with a good book and a lovely hot beverage is appealing.

2. I've never been impaneled on a jury. I came close one time. My juror number was two away from being called when both attornies finally accepted the jury panel.

3. I've never participated in karaoke. A good thing since I sing like a hinge.

4. I've never been horseback riding. A high school friend showed horses, and I went with her to a show. She had a friend who had a big, ol' plow horse named, Amy. Amy was a companion to another horse named Russell T Boomer. The friend asked me if I wouldn't mind giving ol' Amy some exercise.  She said Amy was real gentle so I agreed. I was boosted onto Amy's back, handed the reins and told riding Amy would be like riding a bicycle. Pull left to go left, right to go right, give her a little nudge in the ribs to go forward, and pull back on the reins to stop. Simple enough.  Amy had a shape like an oak barrell, and me being short (though I'm quite tall for a Hobbit), my legs stuck straight out from Amy's side. We were doing okay, she ambling across a field, and me bumping along on her back, when Amy caught a whiff of Russell T. having a snack. The ol' gal took off like a shot with me trying to hang on like a tick on a dog. No amount of pulling back on the reins, and yelling "WHOA" would help. That ol' mare wanted a share of the snack and that was that.

5. I've never had a professional manicure or pedicure. I don't like the feel of shellac on my nails.

Your turn.