Saturday, January 31, 2009


Seven unexpected things that happened this week.

1. This is my 300th blog post. And to think I hemmed and hawed about blogging.

2. Wednesday was a snow day. Though it wasn't totally unexpected because the weather guys had been yammering all weekend about the storm coming. They called this one right.

3. I enjoyed the movie Devil Wears Prada I usually don't watch chick flicks, but a friend told me Simon Baker was in the movie. The movie had a good storyline besides Simon as eye candy.

4. I got my idea for The Graceful Envelope Contest This year's theme is Address the Environment.
5. I stress ate coffee cake (not in one sitting!) while dealing with phone calls every day from my dad to talk about the same thing.

6. Because of the snow turned to freezing rain Wednesday afternoon, my car tires froze to the driveway. See the rant entitled Ice Blue below.

7. Because of my stressful day with unfreezing the car tires, Himself brought home a box of chocolate biscotti just for me.
Anything unexpected happen to you this week?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ice Blue

This morning began like any other school morning in winter. Up early to check the no school reports. The Young One had a two hour delay because of the ice. I went back to bed.

Now a two hour delay today seemed rather silly. The Young One began mid-terms today which means they go on a short day scheduled. Be to school by 9:30 and out of school by 11:30. How were they going to manage home room and the two exams? Not my monkey.

I went out early to warm up the car and to scrape the windows. The driver's door was frozen shut. I uttered some phrases like @!$@!# and $%&%$^ and ^%&%^. Finally, after a few good yanks, the door opened. I got the car started and went inside to finish my tea and to give the defrosters time to heat up. So far, so good.

I went back out to scrape the windows. I noticed ice built up around the left front tire. Gave the tire a kick to break a bit of the ice. Got in the car to move it and rrrrrrrrrrrr. Back tires spinning and going nowhere fast. I tried reverse. I tried drive again. The car wouldn't budge. I started speaking in tongues again while I got the sand bucket and spread sand under all four tires. No go.

By now, I was running out of colorful phrases and the Young One was close to being late for the first exam. So I called her in or tried to. The line was busy busy busy. Other people must have been having problems too. Misery sure loves company. I dialed *66 for callback and waited. When I got through, the secretary told me because of the delay, the kids would be getting out at the regular time (1:50pm) and the second exam would begin at noon if I could get her there. Fine.

I thawed out. Had another cup of tea. While waiting and sipping tea, I emailed a whine to Himself. We talked about things to try. I waited an hour. The temp had gone up a degree to 24. I tried more sand. Nope. I tried a kettle of boiling water. Nope. I tried ice melt and another kettle of boiling water. Eureka! The car moved and I moved it to the end of the driveway. Got the Young One and off to school we went. I went with her to the office to make the official excuse.

I walked out with another mom who was there dropping off some cash so her child could buy lunch. See, they were supposed to be home for lunch. I asked her if there had been a memo about the kids getting out at the regular time. Nope. The school has a contingency plan for a snow day, but I don't recall hearing anything if school was delayed. The other mom and I agreed school should have been cancelled today.

On the way home, I noticed how the ice glittered on the trees. Gorgeous glittering diamonds. The sky was a beautiful shade of blue. Though a frustrating morning, it could have been worse. We didn't lose electricity this time around. The sump pump didn't go out and the basement didn't flood. I guess that's why today is called the present. Each day is always a surprise.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In

Since today was a snow day, I decided to boycott the weigh in. I had baked a coffee cake last night and was determined to have a slice or two today. I didn't bother to weigh myself. Actually, I don't feel any different than I did last week or the week before. So I had my slice of cake, watched dreamy Simon Baker in The Devil Wears Prada.

And I watched it snow, and snow and change to sleet. Around 4pm, The Young One and I went out to shovel before things froze over. It was raining and sleeting and we were both soaked to the skin. Hard to say how much snow we got. It was wet and very, very heavy. Here's my shovel taking a break at the end of the driveway.

So even though I boycotted weigh in day, with the amount of shoveling I did, I probably worked off the coffee cake. I wonder how many calories are in Advil?

Saturday, January 24, 2009


My music of choice is classical though I do love semi-classical music (old time rock and roll) especially Do-wop. I got the idea for this Seven from watching the Inauguration this week as one of my favorite pieces was played during the ceremony. (Number 5)

1. Pachelbel's Canon in D. First heard this piece from Robert Redford's directorial debut Ordinary People. I wanted to have this piece as the processional at my wedding, but the organist thought it was too quiet and he suggested...

2. Trumpet Voluntary (Prince of Denmark's march) by Clarke. The organist was so right.

3. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by Bach

4. Beethoven's Symphony Number 6, The Pastoral. Yup, I was completely charmed by Disney's Fantasia interpretation.

5. Variations on a Shaker theme from Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copeland.

6. Ode to Joy from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony

7. Peer Gynt Suites numbers 1 and 2, especially In The Hall of the Mountain King, by Edvard Grieg I used to listen to the suite while studying on the fourth floor of the Mugar Library overlooking the Charles River. I probably spent as much time watching the river as studying. Love that dirty water!

Do you have a favorite song or favorite piece of music?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Took this meme from On The Write Path Erica found the interview with Josh Grogan, the author of Marley and Me interesting. I needed a blog for Sunday so borrowed this topic. (-: Why don't you play along too? Either answer the questions on your own blog and let me know so I can be nosy. Or pick a few questions and answer them here.

Q What item in your home says Ceej lives here?
My blue fugly shoes. Most times I'm wearing them. Sometimes they're at the entry way waiting for me to come in from the cold.

Q What are three things on your nightstand?
Dust, my alarm clock, and a pair of polartec fingerless gloves.

Q What is one thing on your living room wall?
A framed piece done on pastepaper I did for the WAM faculty show a few years ago. "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars." - Les Brown. The "moon" in the photograph is the reflection of the flash.

Q What is one thing you have in your house from your childhood?
A book called The Language Book. It was given to me as a Christmas gift by friends of my parents when I was 11. From the cover: The whole dramatic story of language. What it it it changes. From Tom Toms to Telstar. I just loved poring through this book. Still do.

Q What are three things we'd find in your medicine cabinet?
Tylenol, Pepto-Bismol, and Band-aids.

Q What are three things we'd find in your refrigerator?
Weight Watchers yogurt cups, mystery leftovers, eggs

Q If you had to save one thing from your home, what would it be?
Family pictures.

Q What is the biggest collection in your home?
Besides the dust bunnies, DVDs.

Q What is the most embarrassing thing in your home that you hide when guests come over?
My bedroom. The door is firmly shut to hide all the clutter that gets tossed in there when company comes over.

Q What's the best furniture bargain you ever got?
We found a beautiful mahogany bed in a second hand store. We had it refinished for The Young One.

Q What CD or artist would we find in your player?
None. I don't really listen to music.

Q Do you do any snooping of your own when visiting friends?
No. Unless I'm stuck in the bathroom and hunting for bathroom spray so someone else can use the bathroom after me without choking to death.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Seven uses for a laptop disk drive.

1. The primary use is to hold electronic data.

But what happens when the drive is blown? What do you do with it?

2. It can be used as a paper weight.

3. It makes a handy place to lay your pen or pencil so you can easily find it amid the clutter on your desk.

4.Put it inside a vase and use it as a floral frog (the pins will hold your floral stems in place)

5. Whack someone upside the head with it.

6. Use the pin end to score lines.

7. It makes a very nice coaster.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Out of the Comfort Zone

A friend asked me to do some lettering she wants to silk screen onto a tee shirt for her son. I thought it might be fun to offer a funky design besides a more traditional look.

I stepped out of my comfort box this week and played around with some altertate writing tools. I tried a reed pen, Kangaroo pens given to me by my friend, Karen Ter Haar from Australia, and a variety of folded pens made from beer and soda cans.

This design was done with a beer can pen. After week's worth of practice and a ream of paper, I finally got loose enough to enjoy what I was making. It's pleasant. Potentially harmless. (Stuffed the Little Inner Critic in her envelope with a piece of duct tape over her mouth!) I especially like the first "R", the "O" and the "N".

What have you done recently that made you get out of your comfort zone?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

National Handwriting Day

Why is National Handwriting Day celebrated on 23. January? You'll have to go to Alesia's blog to find out. While you're at Alesia's blog, leave a comment and enter to win a fabulous prize. Want to know what the prize is? You guessed it in the cheap seats. Go to Alesia's blog to find out.

Hey Cos! Auntie Rose would be so proud of you!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In

Back in the saddle. Still struggling with carb cravings around 4pm and after dinner. Need to boost the excercise. I haven't been walking unless you call running everyone to their appointments exercise. So, down one and four to go to make the first five goal.

How did you do this week?

Monday, January 12, 2009

What's New

The other ATC theme this month is What's New. My interpretation using my new colored pencils, sumi ink, Nikko G nib on watercolor paper.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Remember Miss Jean from Romper Room?

Romper, bomper, stomper, boo,

Tell me. Tell me. Tell me do.

Magic Mirror tell me today,

Did all my friends have fun at play?

This week I saw The Salina Kid, Hummingbird, Lindabrit, Lilly, Mom, Teague, and Paroo.

Remember, Miss Jean says, Do Bee a commenter, Don't Bee a lurker

Friday, January 9, 2009


A lot of people came to the Worcester Art Museum Open House. I think there were more visitors than at the Fall Open House. I'm not complaining, mind you. With all the talk of the bad economy I didn't expect a lot of visitors. Maybe people were tired of being cooped up by the snow and ice. Any way, it was a nice turnout.

My Fall students had done bookmarks and weathergrams as their final project. The work was displayed in a glass case. The display is awesome. I'm so proud of the students' work. I hope they make it up to the exhibit to see their work.

I brought my sketchbook and worked while people walked by. Some people were shy and were watching me from a distance. Had to tell them I don't bite, well not since I was four. Others were fascinated to watch. Though I think the fascination came from watching a Southpaw work.
There was a lot of interest in my ATCs and I was glad I had made the display stand. The rolo-dex design encouraged people to flip through the cards.

I was pleased the Moon Palace ink didn't feather and bleed on the sketchbook paper. I had brought a package of Diploma Parchment, just in case. I used a Brause 1.5 mm and a Nikko G nib.

I decided to write without making guidelines. I didn't do too badly. The lines are pretty straight and the x-height is pretty close. There was a recent thread on Cyberscribes about lines being a crutch and one shouldn't use them. That wasn't why I decided to write without guidelines. Just too lazy to make them.

I didn't make any bonehead moves like putting my hand in the wet ink and smearing the work. I even spelled corrrectly! Though as an English major there's a ready comment for misspelled words: Oh, that? It's an archaic form of spelling used during the Middle Ages. (-;

Thursday, January 8, 2009

ATC Stand

I've been looking for a way to display the ATCs I've made. I like to be able to look at the ATCs in the orientation they were made, i.e. portrait or landscape without turning a book around or tilting my head. The baseball card display pages just hold too many to get a get a good look. MHO A photo album won't close flat because of embellishments.

I was flipping through the pages of a perpetual calendar and thought this could work for displaying ATCs. I could keep the latest on top or select one that matches my mood for the day. I took the calendar apart. It consisted of matte board that had been cut and taped into a triangle. A pair of binder rings. The calendar pages were 4 x 6" sheets with holes punched at the top and secured by the rings.

I bought 2" binder rings at Staples. Found a matte board scrap in the scrap box that was nearly the same size as the calendar stand. Instead of cutting the matte into sections and securing with tape as the calendar stand, I just scored the matte board and folded. The bottom was secured with good ol' duct tape from the underside so it won't be seen. Anal much?

At Michael's I found 4" x 6" photo albums for $1. I ripped the album pages out, punched holes in them for the rings and Eureka! I'm insufferably pleased with myself.

How do you display your ATCs?

Conventional/Unconventional Women

The theme for one of this month's ATC exchanges is Conventional/Unconventional Women. I found the quote: Well behaved women rarely make history attributed to Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. The quote was written in walnut ink on Diploma Parchment. I tried a new nib, Nikko G which I really liked. It was a tad sharp picking up paper fibers, but even gives my heavy hand a fine hairline. A picture of a suffrager holding a Votes for Women sign was printed in reverse and then transfered to the card using an iron. I loved playing with this technique.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In

With the flooded basement and the holidays behind me, it's time to get back on the wagon. Instead of looking at the big picture of how much weight I still have left to lose, this time around I'll focus on a short term goal. My first goal will be to drop 5 pounds. I hope I can manage to drop one pound per week.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Image Transfer

One of this month's ATC exchange themes was just begging for an image transfer. I'd read about the technique in a book, Altered Imagery. Could I find the book? That's right, in the cheap seats. No, because Ceej doesn't always put her toys away where they belong. I've hunted but the gremlins ran off with the book.

I've done image transfer using packing tape, but didn't want that glossy effect. What to do? Search online. And lo and behold an EBSQ artist website with a wonderful education link with all kinds of techniques including image transfers.

Most image transfer processes I have read about involve using matte medium, acetone, or nasty carcinogens like xylene. Just a little too messy for me and in the case of using xylene, too toxic.

On the website was a technique using heat from an ordinary iron used to press clothing. I printed out a test image using the color laser printer. Dug out my iron, dusted it off because it doesn't get much use. Set the heat indicator to cotton, no steam. Placed my image color side down in my art journal and using circular motions with the iron, ironed the back of the image. I didn't keep track of how long I kept the iron on the paper. Maybe as long as it takes to sing the alphabet song. I carefully peeled back a corner of the image. OMG, it worked! I ironed the image a little more to get a deeper color. Peeled the paper off and ta-da!

Now to get busy creating the actual ATC.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


I love widgets, small desktop programs that keep information at your fingertips. Vista has a handy sidebar that keeps widgets neatly in alignment or you can remove them and move them all over the desktop like the moon phase. Seven widgets on my desktop:

1. Moon phase. Because it's cool especially against a night time wallpaper like the current picture of Neuschwanstein. It's helpful to know when there's a full mooon to adequately prepare for the crazies that crawl out of the woodwork. Another nifty feature of this widget, is you can select your area from a list around the world so you can see what the moon will look like in your night sky. I have the moon phase set to Munich as that was the closet city to correspond to Neuschwanstein.

2. A To Do List. Nice not to have bits of paper floating around and satisfying to check off and delete tasks.

3. Date/Time/Countdown with military time. Just to be different

4. Weatherbug so I can worry about the weather

5. Mail Checker. So I instantly know when email hits the mailbox. Mainly for the no school alerts I signed up for with the local tv station.

6. My Agenda for the day so I know where I'm going and what I'm doing, plus where everyone else is going or doing. We're all color coded.

7. A calendar just practical so I don't have to constantly call up Outlook

What's the background picture on your desktop? Do you have any widgets?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

A new year, a new look for The Heap. Here's to a happy, healthy, and creative 2009.
Wrapping paper and tissue paper collage, stickers, Ziller Winter White on mat board. I forget what size Brause nib I used as this piece was done several years ago.