Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What I did last summer...

Happy 60th Anniversary Aunt Joyce and Uncle Walter!!!

This summer I'd like to say I sailed around the world, invented the next great infomercial product, won the lottery, or wrote a book. But I didn't. I did develop a complete lack of confidence, a huge roadblock in treatment, and a severe case of writer's block.  Somehow in spite of that I kept plugging away driven by gifts I wanted to make for people I love. There's nothing like the people who hold some of your best memories as well as a piece of your heart to bring out your best intentions :)
Wedding Photo 1950

Their lovely home

The hubs has a very special aunt and uncle who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. This couple is really something. He was in several WWII combat theaters and she was a bride a couple weeks after graduating high school. They're huge patriots and truly love America more than Sarah Palin claims to. They've lived in the same house forever and still have a fabulous 1962 Chrysler 300 convertible that is in mint condition that they bought new. Travel is one of their great loves right behind their family. 

In the Beginning...

In Process

Detail of Chrysler 300 Convertible

This very cool pair has always treated me as if I was a blood relative and I love them dearly!  In honor of this very special anniversary I chose to honor their home and that very special car in a mini quilt.  It's the first truly pictorial quilt I've ever made and came out pretty well if I do say so myself.  On the back is a collage of wedding and anniversary photos through the last 60 years.  The pictures tell the story better than I can.  

Front Detail of the house/front door 

Back Collage of anniversary pictures through the years

Back Detail

Finished mini quilt

Joyce and Walter with their Family and Friends!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day... When does the campaigning end and the governing begin?

Phood for Thought...
"Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all."  Aristotle

Its Election Day, I hope you were an educated voter. I hope you got your facts from reasonable, reliable sources and not talking heads or attack ads. 

My question is for every elected candidate: When does the campaigning end and governing begin??? Will you be able to set aside all the mud and bitterness and sit at the big table as a mature responsible adult. No matter your party, you've been asked and you've given your oath to represent all of us. To do what's best for the country not your party. 

Today's Web Word:  MANITAT
A man cave, boy barracks, guy grotto, cowboy cabin, dog house, fraternity house, generally a habitat for men?

Lotsa "New"s... or all the New you need M-F with Arthur and I

I have a New Header PhotoNew Focus, a New Attitude, and a New Daily Structure for Arthur and I. I'm hoping that by targeting a general subject each day it will help me organize my head and my life. Posting makes me feel productive and I really missed it this summer. I was ready to chuck the whole thing but one of my friends helped me realize it built confidence to put my efforts into words. The failures didn't seem so fatal and the successes led me to new endeavors.  So......

Mondays will be about photos. Some that I've taken, some taken by others and credit will be given whenever its available or findable. You can thank or blame Miss B for this leap of faith (that anyone will care what I shot). I'll also be giving you the scoop on any exhibits I've been privileged to see. There's a doozy of a show in Akron right now that will rock your world (huge pun there that will be revealed next monday)!!!

Tuesdays: Phood for Thought and Web Words. I will post a quote that I find interesting or provoking and probably why it impacted me. Web Words, well most times when we choose to comment on a blog we're asked to verify by typing in some silly nonsense word (wadop).  However I've been collecting them and imagining what they might define.  Check them out next time you comment somewhere.  I'd love to have you tell me what you think it could mean.

Wednesday is for posting Projects and Busy Work. I mean, what's a gimpy housewife supposed to do all day anyway.  I'm not exactly a part of the bridge club or bonbon set, I don't play golf, volunteering is rough because I never know when I'll wake up in knots ala arthur (the resident sadist in our house). For some reason charities and non-profits prefer people they can count on, go figure. My hubs is a CNN addict, I get enough politics at home without going door to door. I'm a rotten cook but if you're lucky I'll even treat you to a recipe and how I knocked it out of the park or threw it in the landfill.

Thursday is Worth Webbing About day: I, like most other bloggers, like to see what everyone else is up to, talking about, going to see, etc. So I'll share what I liked best or maybe the most ridiculous process, product, or idea someone had. I'm kind of a snarky little thing so expect both. 

Friday... well that leaves The Learning Curve.  As a 50something housewife and mom, with arthur hanging like a perpetual monkey on my back, everyday presents new challenges. I'll share what I've learned personally or with any luck I'll gain knowledge from the experience of the masses. Yes, I was always one of those people who had to learn the hard way, dammit. 

If this format bombs then it will be relegated to a final Friday and I'll start over. What will I lose but time and those days will tick by whether I type something or not, lucky you. Time to crack that daily Diet Coke (my drug of choice) and post this. I'm already a day behind, nothing new there, and its election day in the US. I feel a rant coming on and I don't want to waste it, it is after all Tuesday and Phood for Thought day.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween =o the story of a vengeful housewife

Happy Halloween Everyone!!! I've posted some pictures from my online photo class.  Well... I took these but they didn't necessarily make the class cut but they're still a little spooky and happy accidents.  Arthur is cutting me a break today but who knows, he could cut loose and by tonight my hands will look like the claws of death :(  In the meantime I'm going to try to bust out as many holiday projects today as I can. 

 Yes this is our sweet little Livia when the moon is full.

Back to Halloween, how many trick or treaters do you get? We live in a large neighborhood but there aren't any sidewalks and the yards are pretty large so we average between 15 to 20 a year.  That's provided the weather is good.  We've had as few as 8.  The lucky ducks that do show get either giant size candy bars or handfuls of the little ones.  I usually make up special bags for little ones tied up with ribbon. I love Trick or Treat and really loved making costumes for my kidlets. The hubs on the other hand is very much the dress up dud in our house.  Back when businesses encouraged employees to wear costumes, he went in a suit and said he was Bobby Ewing (from the show Dallas).  Boring!!!!!!  Back in Georgia there was always a neighborhood adult costume party.  He wouldn't go so I made sure he paid for his grinchyness.  I organized a giant babysitting party sponsored by the swim team (yes I was the fundraising chair). All the teens volunteered to help and we charged $10 for one child, $15 for two, and $20 for three or more per family.  We had healthy snacks, movies, dress up pictures, scavenger hunts, and bedded them all down in the family room in sleeping bags.  That way the adults could imbibe spirits and pick up their kids safe and sound after a breakfast of orange juice or milk and loads of frosted donuts.  

Come on, I know what you're thinking.  Why healthy snacks at night and then send them home in a glucose haze.  Well, I am a bit of a vengeful spirit.  If I lost sleep all night then the parents should at least have to deal with amped up little monkeys the next day, right???? Unfortunately the hubs thought it was a great idea and tradition was born. We ran the party for 5 years until we moved. The up side?  Our kids had the best Halloween's ever and we were the "fun" house from that time on. Oh yeah, that and we usually raised around $500 after expenses (yes, there were that many kids).

What I want to know from anyone reading this? What Halloween tricks have you employed to bedevil your friends, neighbors, and/or significant other. Also how have you given grins, giggles, and great memories to the little ones in your life (yours or someone elses). 

Have a devil of a good time tonight... BWAHHHHAAHAAHAAHAA

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

So this is writer's block... working on a revamp

I've actually been doing quite a few projects so I have lots to post about and yet... so this is what writer's block feels like.   I have noticed that so many of my favorite blogs have had long absences (pretty sure I win though).  Summer does that to you, makes it hard to do all the "shoulds" in your life. Arthur will do that too and he had a real party during July and August. Sometimes my should's are self inflicted, kind of like studying all night cramming for an exam. Without deadlines in my life, things may never get started much less completed.

Mini quilt I made as a gift for a 40th Anniversary.

Huge quilt project from Hell!

I've made 2 mini quilts, 1 hobo bag, 1 clutch, had some fun, and done some dumb little projects. Started a new treatment, stopped same treatment due to a bad side effect, waited to start another treatment, ached, started the newest treatment, and now I sit waiting, aching for it to kick in. PLEASE KICK IN!!!  I also started a huge quilt which may never see the light of day if the inflamation in my hands doesn't settle down. Currently I've made 3 Christmas gifts, started another, and planned a tree skirt as well as some other goodies.  

I also have a new love... photography. (Photo at the top of this posting is mine). I took an online photo class from the Souvenir Foto School with Miss B from The Blah, Blah, Blahg and she is amazing! I will share some of my favorite shots from it. All of this has made me realize that I need to revamp arthurndi with some structured topics for 5 to 6 days a week.  Hopefully more on this tomorrow... there's another little surprise coming too!

Having fun at a 40th Anniv. party for my sister-in-law, that's me in the black.

PS If you've ever followed me thanks for not giving up when I went incommunicado and if you're new, well then WELCOME :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Art Quilts and 2 Cups of Dirt

I am taking art quilting lessons :)  from Connie Bloom of Akron, OH.  Go to to see her work, its really interesting!  She's especially known for her commissioned animal portraits.  Unfortunately I can't publish photos of her work for this posting so you'll just have to trust me its worth the time.  

My first project was all about improvisational quilting with reverse applique.  I had to pick 6 fabrics from the stash that I brought.  Stitch all the layers together and sew random lines everywhere.  Then cut into various layers one at a time to create your composition.  This is what I made:
And a detail of the above:
Here's the secret to the process... 6 inch double curved scissors from Famore Cutlery   They made all the difference for me, especially with what arthur has done to my hands (that wretch :p ).  I would recommend them to anyone who sews, quilts, crafts.  Plus Famore has a wonderful collection of other cutlery for all kinds of projects.

Now about that 2 cups of dirt... The other night the hubs cooked a bison steak for me.  (Side note: he's a vegetarian and yet he will buy and cook meat for me and the kids, another reason he's my dream boy.)  Well hubs makes the best marinade in the world, so after my feast was grilled he dumped the rest of the mix in the dirt/mulch in the far corner of the yard.  He's always done that and AJ would sniff it but was quite content with the tidbits of steak dropped "oops" for him to gobble up.  Well Livia was given similar tidbits but found the marinated mud and started chowing down.  I caught her but had no idea how much she ate.  We even took her out to Strickland's ice cream for bits of cone.  After we got home the little monkey started heaving and up comes over 2 cups of mucky dirt, BLAHHHHHHH!  She was feeling pretty low and we called puppy poison control who said to give her half a Prevacid.  
She's doing much better today :)  The moral of this story is: Don't dump anything you don't want your furry baby to eat anywhere they can get it. And oh yeah- consider those cool scissors.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Gift Closet

Doesn't everyone have a gift shelf or closet?  If not, you should.  I love to give surprises to the people who are special in my life or just someone who needs a boost.  Yet being on a budget had curbed my giving until I proudly declared myself to be a thrift store, estate, & garage sale junky.  Lined up in little rows are all kinds of goodies from cut glass antique salt shakers (to be filled with cinnamon sugar or a homemade seasoning salt mix for a housewarming treat) to hand printed packets of note cards or napkins tied with ribbon for cheering up girlfriends in tough times.

When the kids were young we had lots of craft kits, both prepackaged and homemade ones we put together.  They were generally gender neutral for birthday gifts but we had our share of Supersoaker guns as a welcome gift for new kids in the neighborhood. (We lived in Georgia at the time and most moves were in the summer)  Instead of wrapping paper the kids would decorate a a larger t-shirt for bedtime with their rendition of a character from the "flavor of the month" Disney flick.  I let them wrap the gift in the shirt and we tied them up with ribbon or sometimes hair scrunchies. Yes... its been a few years ;)

Nowadays I'm more liable to pick up edgy inexpensive bowls or bookmarks from local college art students.  Then I grab fun, odd biographies from sales for a quarter.  The gift is the bookmark and the paperback is the wrapping.  Hand thrown bowls can be filled with organic sugar packs or specialty salts for baths.  If I buy in bulk, its cheap and I can pack them up in just the right size.  Then wrap them in tulle with raffia.  

Have a friend with a new puppy?  There are lots of dog biscuit recipes on the web and I wrap them in a paper lunch bag with specialty machine stitching to close.  Including biodegradeable poop bags (less than 6 cents each) for walks are usually greatly appreciated too.

Some of the goodies I've gotten the biggest response from have been completely consumable.  When I run into decorative paper plates, napkins, etc. on uber clearance (thank you Target!) I snag them.  Teachers love holiday sets with a favorite cheese ball, a box of crackers, and the recipe.  Newlyweds and new parents can always use a big bag of different beautiful paper products for unexpected drop-ins and those nights you need a boost with your take out food.  

And of course... as I've posted before I love making recycled shopping bags from tees.  They make great reusable gift wrap. 

Goodbye... Hello

 AJ Oct. 1997 to May 2010

Well...  after a month and a half absence, I'm back.  A lot has happened since I last wrote.  Arthur hasn't actually been much of a factor and for that I'm very grateful :)

We lost our beloved aussie, AJ, about a month ago.  He was 13.5 yrs old and his arthritis finally took away all quality of life and we had to do the right thing by him.  Our son actually sat us down and said he felt we were too close to the situation.  By taking care of AJ on a daily basis we had lost perspective. I'm glad we made the decision before he suffered too greatly.  My heart was broken and I cried for 3 days.  The house seemed so empty. 

I know some people may not agree with this but I started haunting the pet rescue sites nearly immediately.  Poor hubs had really counted on us taking a break from the responsibility of pets.  However since I'm the one home all day every day he realized how lonely it can be.  That's how I found Livia. She's a toy australian shepherd about a year old.  The local dog warden rescued her from a back yard puppy mill along with some other pups.  She spent the first 8 months of her life in a cage neglected and starving. She's highly allergic to fleas, had almost no hair, and was a mess of bites and scabs.  Thankfully she was saved before they began breeding her nonstop.  She had been too sick and underweight to have puppies.  The pound called a rescue group called "Paws with Pride" to take her out of the kill shelter.  They didn't even know for sure what she was because she looked so bad.  Janice at Paws with Pride is a miracle worker and now Livia has hair and is no longer starving. 

Lindsay and Livia

We adopted her about 3 weeks ago and she has brought such happiness and laughter back into our house.  I love taking Livia for walks and playing with her. Our daughter, Lindsay, and son, Aaron, bonded with her instantly.  We will be adopting another full size aussie sometime in the next few months so they will have each other as playmates.  For our family, rescuing was the only option.  The hubs and I are so grateful to have her, she really is the sunshine in our lives!

Aaron and Livia

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Obsession: Glorious Colored Glassware from the 60's (aka The Quest)

The hubs and I have found a new obsession :)  We did our usual saturday morning breakfast out and then looked for ways to fritter away the day.  With no good estate sales in the area we headed towards the local antique mall. Usually we stay away from these places.  Generally only about 1% of items fall into the mid century modern era and we go into "stuff" overload.  We tend to walk out vowing to throw out even more from the attic and to never bring home another item of any kind. 

And then we saw it... a small case of colorful glass from the 50's and 60's, much like the photos below from a wonderful blogsite and shop in Manhattan's West Village called The End of History Shop.  They specialize in glass and ceramics generally from the mid century era and they really know their stuff.  I'm a big fan :)   the next 4 photos credited to:  

We've decided they're the perfect thing to place on a library table between the 2 couches in our bowling alley of a living room.  I'm hoping it will give us visual interest and height without obstruction. We currently have a large iron urn full of peacock feathers.  Sounds lovely but its getting rather tired and shabby looking.

So now we have a new item to hunt down on our bargain basement budget.  Monday, $.50 day at "Norman Marcus", has always been good to me and off I went.  Here's what I found:

Not a bad start!  So until the day I win the lotto, an unknown uncle leaves me his millions, or my ship comes in, my cheap finds will have to do.  Many thanks to The End Of History Shop for providing such lovely inspiration and an education as well. Of course arthur went with me to Norman's, crabbing, sulking, and giving my joints grief.  Too bad arthur... the quest helps me ignore you.  Today is a 7 :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

From Nuclear to Neutral. Is there such a thing as stalking furniture?

The hubs and I have been slowly replacing all our furniture with mid century modern pieces. I have been haunting every vintage, thrift, and estate sale within 50 miles for the last 3 years.  Is there such a thing as stalking furniture? 

Yes, I know its on its side up in the air in my sisters garage but its the only "before" picture I have :) Notice the colonial hiccup in the middle?

My sister happened upon this little sofa along with a gorgeous vintage 60's desk at our local Goodwill Store.  This baby is so similar to the beautiful sleek couch my grandmother gave me right after college (which I thought was icky, stupid-stupid-stupid!) I just had to have it for the amazing price of $53!  It was a bit of a risk though as I didn't know if my upholstery guru could dispatch the nasty early american bastardized bit they stuck in the middle.  I mean seriously, who mixed those styles back then??? As much as I love turquoise, there was no salvaging the scratchy nylon fabric it wore, sort of like your Uncle Lester's "OMG! What were you thinking?" sport coat.  

Reclaimed and Re-upholstered.

So what's a girl to do when she needs 11 yards of rich wool neutral fabric to swath such a gem in? (We've moved so many times I feel obligated to go neutral on the big pieces. It makes it so much easier to slip them into whatever home we've landed in.)  I really wanted wool felt ($66/yd YIKES$$) but knowing that was way past our shoe string budget I started searching for a viable sub.  Woolrich Woolen Mill came to the rescue. They sell bolts of heavy wool felt coating fabric designed for the Civil War Re-enactment crowd.  A bolt is 15 yards so I have 4 left over in case someone ruins a cushion.  I instantly went from $66 per yard to $11.75!  They sent me 1x2" pieces of every sample and I ended up doing 2 couches in 2 different colors.  One in a heathery grey and the other in a flat grey with a gold undertone.  (The lovely orange monster below was purchased for $5 at the last day of a local sale.)

Another nylon 8" behemoth in need of a makeover.

On a side note, I spent nearly every vacation as a child tromping around from one battlefield to another.  My father's idea of the perfect holiday was finding every Civil War ground of engagement within 800 miles.  My aversion to the subject is beyond expression, because of course at age 8, I wanted Disneyland :p 

Woolrich to the rescue again.

I can't forget arthur (god I wish I could forget arthur), the little buggar is now trying to infiltrate my head with nagging doubts.  You'd think he'd have enough fun ravaging my joints wouldn't you?  Well enough of that. I started listing our cast offs on craigslist to eliminate clutter and made some headway in sorting 30 years of family photos to muzzle the little parasite.  I may physically feel like crap today but its still an 8, here's to spitting in your eye arthur. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I DID IT!!! 3 Blinds conquered before Easter :) Phewwwww!

Bedroom Blinds Down

Bedroom Blinds Up
Bedroom Blinds Midway

Bathroom Blind Down

Bathroom Blind Up

Okay, okay... yes I did in fact fall off the planet for the last couple weeks or at least it feels like it.  arthur has been particularly ornery and given me no end of grief, swollen hands, sore shoulders, stiff back and the list goes on.  In spite of his mischief, Easter was fast approaching and with it were 3 empty windows in my son's room.  I DID IT!!! I got them done and hubs managed to install them quite literally 5 minutes before they arrived. I also made 3 scarves, 1 tote bag, and 2 beach bags.  (totes and scarves all hammered out Easter eve, phewwww!

Ikea fabric for totes and bags, LOVE IT!

Easter Tote Bag (our version of baskets for big girls)

Recycled t-shirt scarf as an Easter basket treat.

Easter Beach Bags shipped to LA.

Scarves shipped to LA for Easter :)

However, its been a week since Easter and well I've had a lot more fun exploring other people's blogs than writing my own. Come on, you know you've all been there (please say you have!).  arthur is winning :(  today's a 3.  I haven't given in after 21 years and I'm not about to now, tomorrow will be better :)

P.S.  I'm sure you've noticed the window air conditioner (visual UGH :P ) between the 2 bedroom windows.  Any camouflage ideas would be greatly appreciated!!!