Sunday, January 31, 2016

Seasonal Tree

It was snowing, and I was bored. I was in desperate need of color. Reading through my blog roll, I found some happy looking 3D hearts. Perfect and I had a ton of scrap paper so I made a dozen or so. And then tried to find a place to put them.

Several years ago when I was making Christmas ornaments for craft fairs, I had Himself help me make a crazy Dr. Seuss-ish tree. I thought it would be perfect in the front window. That space looked rather bare now that the Christmas tree was gone.

A leftover candy cane striped bow would make an excellent topper. The hearts looked a bit lonely. Out came some curling ribbon. Better, but not quite there, yet.The spun tin, icicle ornaments missed being put in the Christmas box as well as some of the skater ornaments Ma made as shower favors when I got married. Ta-da! Festively decorated for February.

And now working on the theme for March.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Call for Mail Art

Saw this item of interest on the ArtSake blog.

Call for Art Greenfield Community College’s Art Club has announced a call for mail art. Painting, drawing, collage, photography, and writing can all easily be mail art. Stamps, how the piece is addressed, and the marks made by the post office all add to the final art that arrives at its destination. Anyone is welcome to create an anonymous or signed postcard, card in an envelope, or other mail-able art and send it to the Art Club at: GCC Art Department, Jen Simms, 1 College Drive, Greenfield, MA 01301. All mail art will be exhibited in the South Gallery at GCC in June 2016. Exact dates will be posted on their website in the spring. Selected mail art may also be included in a zine that would accompany the exhibit. For more info, contact Jen Simms at
Deadline: April 28, 2016

And there's still time to get your entry into The Graceful Envelope Contest, too. Deadline is March 28, 2016. You can find the rules here

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Calls to and from my iPhone were breaking up after I updated the iOS. Did a soft reset before contacting tech help. Reset worked. Haven't lost my programmer's touch. When in doubt, turn it off and turn it back on.

2. The Young One and I had lunch at Panera. At home, we settled in to watch The Husbands of River Song, the 12th. Doctor's Christmas special. I had seen it, but the Young One hadn't.

3. Two week check on the hardware for my bionic tooth. So far, everything is A-Ok.

4. I celebrated National Chocolate Cake Day with a chocolate cupcake.

5. My new eyeglasses came in earlier than expected. Blessed be! I can see!

How was your week?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Throwback Thursday

When I was growing up, Ma had dresser and table scarves under glass tops to protect the furniture. When I asked about the scarves, she said Grandma made them. I don't remember if she said which Grandma, her mother or Dad's mother.

I think they were made by her mother. Grandma tatted. I remember her making window shade pulls. Ma called the needlework "Cutwork". Embroidery is done with threads to match the color of the cloth and then threads are removed leaving an open pattern. The edges of the squares have been tatted and joined together.

Whatever the needlework is called and which ever grandma did it, Grandma's scarf now graces my diningroom table.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Grandparents' Card

Some friends of ours just became grandparents for the first time. I made this little card to celebrate.

Though truthfully, it doesn't seem possible that L has a baby girl of her own. I remember L when she was 4 years old, yesterday. She was sitting in my kitchen happily writing her name in cursive while her mom and I had tea. K and I were also pregant, she with her second and me with the Eldest.  J was helping Himself figure out the wiring in the bathroom for the new light and medicine cabinet.

Himself and J. taught at the college and shared an office eons ago. That's why the little bears are wearing caps and gowns.


You've been promoted to

Grandma and Grandpa.

Monday, January 25, 2016


A friend told me I should sign up for an Instagram account. Instagram is a picture and video social media sharing site using your smartphone. She said there were a lot of art challenges and contests that I might like.

Bored while watching it snow on Saturday, I signed up for an account. My first pic to upload was a storm picture.  Instagram then suggested people for me to follow.

I'm still trying to figure the ins and outs of the app. The app allows you to edit your images though what you can do with them seems quite limited to me. Maybe I just haven't figured it all out yet.

I'm also not sure of Instagram etiquette.  How often should you spam share pictures with your followers? Once or twice a day? Once or twice an hour? (-;

You can leave comments or click a heart to like someone's pictures. With Twitter you can retweet, and with Facebook you can share, but there doesn't seem to me to be a way to share Instagram content  with  friends. Maybe I haven't figured that out, either.

My website promotes my calligraphy services. Twitter does, too, to a certain extent. I can show my work on the blog. I can also whine, review tools, software and services which hopefully will show more of me beyond calligraphy. I use Tumblr as an electronic portfolio. But I'm not sure how Instagram goes beyond the social media I already use.  The people I'm following and who are following me back already see my stuff on the other social media sites.

I'm also more of a computer person than an app person. Call me old(-fashioned). I'd prefer to edit my photos on the computer and upload them to a site. I can tweet, Facebook, and Tumblr all from the comfort of my computer keyboard. That doesn't seem possible with Instagram.

So, the jury's still out as to Instagram's value for me. Perhaps I just need more time to figure it out.

If you're on Instagram and need another follower, you can find me at cjkennedyink. And if you want to let me know what I'm missing, that would be great, too.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


I recently heard the musical Cats is being revived on Broadway. In all that is good and holy, WHY? Some things should stay dead.

This is a reprint of an August 2013 blogpost about my thoughts on the play.

A television commercial for the musical Cats brought back some memories. Several years ago, my friend, Teague, wanted to take my girlies to the theater for their birthdays and introduce them to the excitement of live theater. I got to tag along, too even though Teague had introduced me to live theater eons ago.

Canvasing friends for suggestions the consensus was we had to go see Cats. They said it was Amazing! Spectacular! A must see! Their kids loved it. Now, I'm not a big fan of musicals, but this one sounded too good to pass up.  Teague got tickets, and we arrived at the theater in anticipation. The house lights came down, stage lights went up. Orchestra started playing and the actors, dressed up as cats, came on stage.

If you haven't seen the play, it's loosely based on T.S. Eliot's The Song of the Jellicles. (I'm not a fan of Eliot, either, though the only poem of his I was forced to read was The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.) The actors with their faces painted like cats and in leotards creeped onto the stage and danced, stretched, brushed their ears with a paw and mimicked other cat-like moves. And this went on ad nauseum for the entire first act. I was squirming in my seat, and I could see my girlies were bored. Even Teague, a lover of musical theater, was trying not to look like the definition of ennui. It was a mercy when the first act ended, and the house lights came up.

The cat make-up was pretty good. Most of the actors were able to pull off wearing spandex which is a very unforgiving fabric. Their cat moves weren't bad. Though none of them really captured the real feline essence. None of the actors stretched a leg straight up in the air for grooming nether regions or contorted and writhed while making death rattles and hawking up a hairball or kibble tube. I never felt as if I was watching cats on stage. Just actors in cat costume.

During intermission, Teague and I debated leaving, but the tickets had cost some geld and it was a long ride up. We might as well finish. The second act had a thin plot as well as Memories, the signature song. When the play ended, none of us could figure out what  everyone had raved about. Obviously, we didn't see the same Cats they did because this emperor was clearly naked.

The play wasn't totally wasted, and it became a benchmark to gauge experiences.

"I'm having a root canal."

"That's not as bad as Cats"

"I got called up for jury duty."

"That's not as bad as Cats."

"The IRS is auditing me."

"Still not as bad as Cats."

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. The new printer is up and running.

2. Enjoyed watching football with Himself.

3. The return episode of Supernatural didn't disappoint. Predictable, but I loved it.

4. PSP X8 arrived earlier than expected. Install went smoothly.

5. Worked on an idea for the Graceful Envelope contest.

How was your week?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Throwback Thursday

If you grew up in Natick and moved out of the area, you might not recognize the intersection of Route 9 and Oak Street.  The jug handle turn is gone!

 The image is a screen capture from WHDH-TV 7's traffic camera facing West. Three lanes of traffic on each side of Route 9 with a left and right turn lane. The exit by the Scrub A Dub has been blocked off.

The new configuration was supposed to help the traffic jam on Route 9. It probably would work if the lights at McDonald's, Oak St. and Overbook Dr. were in sync.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Essential Oil Storage Dividers

I keep my essential oils in a Sterilite Stack and Carry 3 Layer. I only use one box without the lid, though if I need to travel and take all my oils with me (not likely), the lid does fit.

The problem is without some sort of a grid or holder, the bottles shift around. I was looking at wooden storage boxes, but they can be expensive. On a search, another user found foam inserts, but the shipping cost was almost as much as the foam. Also, the company either went out of business or changed their domain name as the page is no longer found.

Last week, my essential oil order arrived. There was a sleeve around the box to keep the box from opening. The sleeve length was the perfect size for the Sterilite case. The stock was stiff. Not as heavy as corrugated cardboard, but a bit heavier than cardstock. Perfect.

Using a paper cutter, I cut the sleeve into 1 inch strips to fit inside the box horizontaly and vertically. With a pair of scissors, I partially cut each strip at 1 inch intervals. The strips were notched together to form a grid. which can hold 48 bottles. Ta-da! The oil bottles fit neatly inside. Won't rock and roll when the case is removed from its hutch. I can also alphabetize the bottles so oils are more easily found. Maybe not the prettiest of solutions, but it works for me.

How do you store your essential oils?

Monday, January 18, 2016

New Printer

Lately, my little printer left me frustrated. It seemed like every other month, I had to buy new printer cartridges. It felt like the ink was dry right out of the package. I was whining about this to Himself. He said he heard an ad on the radio for an Epson printer where the ink lasted for 2 years. No way!

He stopped at Staples and way! Epson had a line of Eco Tank Printers. The printer runs off of a 4 color (CMYK) refillable ink tank. The ink is supposed to last up to 2 years. 4,000 black and white pages or 6500 color pages, according to the specs. I had to see this.

We looked at the Epson ET line. It's an all in one printer. Wireless. That's a plus. I won't get kicked off my machine when someone else needs to print something. Mobile printing which means a document or photo can be printed from a smartphone or tablet from anywhere in the world. Cool!

There were two models ET-2550 which also had a slot for a memory card. Nice feature. It was also a copier and scanner. The other model, ET-4500 also functioned as a FAX, didn't have the memory card slot, and yielded the same number of pages per ink. Both were moderately priced and Staples offered a $50 rebate on both models. The 4500 display panel was larger, and that was a good feature for old eyes.

Since we don't have a landline anymore, and we never could get a FAX to run off it even when we did, I decided the smaller, and slightly less expensive, ET-2550 would work well. The printer was light enough for me to carry. Set up was a piece of cake with easy to follow and clearly explained instructions. A CD was included for installing drivers and firmware. This also made it easy for others to install the printer on their laptops so they could print from remote areas of the house. The test print was crisp and the colors looked true.

Staples also took an old, color laser printer I had for recycle. I was sorry to give that printer up, as it printed beautifully. Canon in their wisdom never offered drivers for it when Windows upgraded to version 7. The printer was just languishing in the basement collecting dust, and could only function as a giant paper weight or a boat anchor. Yeah, it was that big.

So, if you're tired of constantly replacing ink cartridges, check out the Epson Eco Tank System to see if it answers your prayers. And (sadly) I'm not being paid to endorse the Epson printer.  (-;

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Dryer Sheets

A couple of months ago, I extolled the virtues of felted dryer balls to replace dryer sheets in the dryer. The benefits are they are reusable and have no toxic chemicals on or in them. They did work great up until now.  Clothes in the dryer, especially mixed loads of natural and synthetic fibers, come out with lots of static cling. I suspect low humidity due to the dry Winter weather.

I really wanted a more natural way of drying clothes. Yes, hanging clothes on a clothesline would eliminate static, but a clothesline isn't practical during a typical New England Winter. Looking around the natural cleaning products aisle in Target, I came across Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Dryer Sheets scented with Lemon Verbena. There was a Lavender flavor, but I'm sure Himself wouldn't want a floral scent to his clothes. The sheets are made from a paper, coated with "a vegetable-derived softening agent" and essential oils. After it is used, the dryer sheet can be recycled. Very green.

The dryer sheets work surprisingly well. There are 80 perforated sheets in a box. So you use half a sheet. My only comlaint is you have to tear the sheets in half yourself. They are a dollar or so more expensive than the national brands. However, they are toxin free and can be recycled so in my mind, that offsets the expense.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Continued watching the anime, Blue Exorcist, with The Eldest. Interesting story. Can the Rin,the son of Satan, prove he's not evil. Entertaining teen angst. 

2. Picked the Young One up from the airport after a weekend trip to Ohio to visit a friend. Flight delayed only a half an hour due to weather. Himself even found a spot in a free cellphone lot where he could wait.

3. Had the hardware installed for the first part of my bionic tooth. All went well. Very little swelling, little discomfort, no pain, and no reaction to the antibiotic. Have to wait 6 mos for part 2.

4. The new diffuser for the essential oils arrived. This one is beautiful as well as functional. It's also larger so will cover almost half of the first floor, and was on sale.

5. I didn't win the lottery, but had a dream about my dad. That was my prize. In the dream, Dad was standing outside the BMW of Natick car dealership and was in a television commercial. The interview was a kind of man on the street. Dad must have been on his way to Donlan's grocery store when he was stopped for the interview. Dad was wearing his favorite, ratty, long sleeve, blue sweater/shirt and a baseball cap. Dad never left the house without a hat.

Himself and I were watching television when the commercial came on. I was excited and yelled, "That's Dad! I have to text The Brother."

How was your week?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Throwback Thursday

Out of the parochial school uniform in 1969 and into another uniform 1970. First day as a Candy Striper at the local hospital. I was assigned to work in the coffee shop or in the gift shop. I was 15 years old.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Grinchy Idea

Now that the wrapping paper has been torn open and recycled, gifts have been oohed or exchanged, I had a thought about gift giving to adults.

I give you a gift card to your favorite store. You give me a gift card to a restaurant. It's very nice and wonderful, but let's think about this. What can you give me that I can't buy myself? And ditto for you? We just seem to go through an endless cycle of buying, giving, sometimes returning.  Honestly, how many scented candles do we really need? And sometimes, buying gifts for everyone puts a real strain on the wallet. What if we took a different approach?

We probably should think about donating to people and causes that could really use the cash. It's a good feeling to know you are helping out. Are you a teacher? I'll make a donation to a scholarship fund. Have a family member who suffered with Alzheimer's, Cancer, or some other ill?  (Though research to see how much of a donation actually gets allocated to the cause. Some agencies pay their executives huge salaries, and that's where the bulk of your donation goes.)

So, we've made a donation to a worthy cause. We feel good. Our homes aren't clutted with items we don't know what to do with, and we don't have to fight crowds to return items not really wanted.

Still it's fun to be surprised and open a gift chosen just for you. Here's the best part. Money is no object. What if, we gave virtual gifts? No money involved. Just happily searching the Interwebs for gifts?

I have some writer friends. Maybe one of them would like a writer's retreat. Well, Pound of Tea Island in Freeport, Maine is for sale. Wouldn't that make a great gift? Doesn't cost anything but time. Doesn't take up any physical space in your home. If you need a break, feel stressed, you can escape to your private island retreat. All without leaving your home.

So a good idea or grinch?

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Infused Water

Himself brought home a wonderful gift from a friend. It's a pitcher with a section to include fruit and veggies. The water becomes infused with the fruit and veggie essence. Drinking fruit juice has too many sugar calories. The recipe pictured is lemon, cucumber, mint, and ginger. It's quite refreshing.

I'm not a big water drinker especially plain water. This may help me drink more water through the day. Thanks, D. I also like the pitcher as it is slim and doesn't take up a lot of room in the fridge.

Have you tried infused water? What are your favorite fruit and veg combinations?

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good this that happened this week.

1. Started the New Year with gingerbread waffles. Used the mix Himself's sister gave us. Might be a new tradition as everyone really liked the waffles.

2. Had Christmas with my Brother and his family. Good food, lots of laughs. Hope we didn't frighten The Nephew's Fiancée

3. I had a funny dream which I told The Young One. Dreamt I had dropped my iPhone in the toilet. In pee water! I had to fish the phone out of pee water!

The Young One asked me, "What did you learn?"

I meant to say Don't use your phone when going to the toilet, but I got ahead of myself and it came out, Don't use the toilet."

Silliness that reduced us to gales of laughter.

4. January 6, Three Kings' Day, and the Christmas decorations were taken down. It still counts if the tree is up, but not disassembled, and the ornament boxes aren't put away, right?

5. Went on a date with Himself. We went to see Star Wars in 3D and then late lunch/dinner at the Outback which is across the parking lot from the theater. IMNSHO, the movie was entertaining enough. Highly predictable, and didn't live up to the hype. Himself said he was glad to have seen it on the big screen, and won't really care if he doesnt see it again.

How was your week?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Throwback Thursday

Around 2002, I had another commission from a gentleman to give to his fiancée. His hobby was scuba diving, and he asked me to write out song lyrics on a couple of sand dollars. The sand dollars were very fragile, and he had extras if there was breakage. Fortunately, I wasn't ham-fisted. I practiced the layout by photocopying the sand dollars and writing on the photocopy. Again, the writing was small at 1/8 inch high. And no pencil lines.

So far, this has been the most unusual writing request I have had.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


A week before Christmas, a gentleman contacted me for a special commission. He had written a declaration of love to his fiancée and wanted it scribed as a gift. At first, I was worried he wanted it for Christmas because that wasn't going to happen. Fortunately, he wanted it for 4. January, her birthday.

His text was long ( letter height at 1/8 inch) and worked out to fit a 16 inch x 20 inch  sheet of Arches Text Wove as he wanted to roll it as a scroll to present to her. The Text Wove is a soft paper and could be rolled without creasing. Color palette was blue, green, and pink gouache with a blue illuminated initial on a gold ground (Schminke Gold Perl watercolor)  and a vine with suitable decoration.

I'm always a little nervous delivering these works. Have I correctly interpreted the writer's vision? Will they like it? Art is so subjective. The gentleman was very pleased and complimented my work. I'm wearing two cowboy hats today.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Patron Saint for Home Buyers

Talking with The Nephew and his Fiancée, and their dream of buying a home sometime this coming year. Talk turned to (the superstition of) selling a home by burying a statue of St. Joseph in the front yard of the home to be sold.

The statue can only be of St. Joseph. Most times he's shown with his foster son, The Christ Child. The statue is buried upside down with the eyes turned towards the curb. The idea is St. Joseph then draws in potential home buyers.

We began to wonder if there was any sort of patron saint and ritual, besides a good realtor, to help a buyer find the perfect dream home.

Anybody? Anybody?

Sunday, January 3, 2016


Sometimes it is so hard to resist the urge to be a smartass. Especially when an opportunity presents itself. Yesterday, an unknown text pinged my phone. I think it was from the dealer for Himself''s car.

"Happy New Year! How are you making out in your vehicle? Thanks"

I so wanted to reply:

Because of the shift console, bucket seats, and a bit of girth around our middles, we find it's not comfortable making out in the vehicle. We prefer making out some place private (i.e. our bedroom, a hotel room) And especially at this time of year, we like warm and cozy without the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning. But hey, thanks for asking!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Good Things Journal

Another year. Time to start another Good Things Journal and something different for this year. As much as I love the journal, the dollhouse just doesn't have the space to keep lot of things. I'm in the process of decluttering not to make more space for more stuff, but to keep less stuff around. That will include another physical journal.

This year, I'll be journaling in an electronic diary. I use Evernote for keeping recipes, craft ideas, genealogy stuff. garden plans, user manuals etc. I like Evernote because it's simple to use. There's a web clipper app that allows me to clip webpages. I can also upload documents and pictures. I can access my notebooks across all my devices. And I don't have lots of paper clutter.

Evernote is free, but I outgrew the free version so bought a subscription for their premium service which allows unlimited notebooks and notes. As Martha says, "It's a good thing."

Do you use Evernote?

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Himself gave me a little, meditating bear for the Zensical garden.

2. It was so warm at the Clan Gathering, we were able to go outside to take the family photo. And it only took 4 takes! Lol

3. Enjoyed Jackie Chan's Legend of the Drunken Master with Himself.

4. A trip an hour or so away to meet a friend ended with a flat tire for The Eldest. Driving on the donut in freezing rain got her home late, but safe and sound.

5. Finished a commission well before the 4. Jan. due date.

How was your week?