Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Decking the Halls of My Happy Place

We are all moved back into our wee house once again.
Each box I unpack and empty is a small victory.
I hate unpacking as much as I hate packing.
But somehow, in the unpacking, a whole lot of Christmas decorating is going on.
I'm compensating for the fact that it's a week before Christmas and I haven't baked a single cookie, wrapped a single gift or written a single card.
But I'm in the Christmas spirit!
Thank goodness for a cookie tree decorating kit
bought by thoughtful Aunt Debbie (my sister-in-law).
The kids assembled it last night.
Well, I helped with the assembly, but then stood back and let them go at it with the icing and candy.
Looks just like the sample on the box,
don't you think?
I had to keep them from eating the tree right away because it looked so yummy.
I want it to last until Christmas.
It's the perfect centerpiece for the cookie tray.
Now I have to bake cookies.
Thanks Aunt Debbie!
I had an epiphany this Christmas.
I always laughed at the psychology mumbo-jumbo about going to your "Happy Place", because I really thought it was bunk, but I have discovered what my Happy Place is and now go there often.
Especially lately, with so much tragedy reported daily on the news.
I don't even have to mention the latest in Connecticut.
I discovered my Happy Place by accident.
About a month ago, I was lying sleepless in bed late one night trying to think about nothing so my brain would shut down and let me rest, and then started thinking about my first visit to Santa.
This was back before shopping malls were enclosed.
Santa's Place was a rather plain trailer with a line starting outside in the cold. 
Being Michigan, it was very c-c-ccold, and I remember huddling with my mom, younger brother and little sister against the December wind as it whistled and whipped around the open mall, cutting though our thick coats and chapping our cheeks and noses.
Then, after a small eternity, one of Santa's elves opened the trailer door and ushered a few of us into his magical sanctuary.
 But, before we got to see the man himself, we had to wait still longer, slowly shuffling the length of the trailer past diaramas of skaters on a glitter sprinkled cardboard pond, past Victorians trimming a Christmas tree while their puppy pulled at the ribbon on a gift under the tree, and past other festive winter scenes involving slow moving mechanical manequins.
The line moved at a snail's pace so we stood before each scene long enough to take in every detail and even get bored with the repetitive movements of the dolls.
It was warm in this wonderland, there was music, twinkling lights and
the Anticipation of Something Exciting.
While I thought about that place in my childhood,
I relaxed, my breathing slowed down and I fell blissfully asleep;
with literally "visions of sugar plums dancing" in my head.
I am holding on to that Happy Place.
It's Scrooge-proof.
Where's your Happy place?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Packing and Moving

First off, I apologize for my dark photos.
I feel like I am operating under war time conditions.
My digital camera stopped working, without warning,
and my favorite editing program is on another computer.
Add to the equation packing a huge house and moving into a much smaller one
and you have one stressed person!
Yet, when I find a mangy, plastic deer, in the midst of packing, I pause to assemble him into a vigniette.
He is my oasis of sanity.
I think I'll hand carry him to the next house (4 blocks away, "across town").
The boxes are slowly stacking up.
Today I'm packing the butler's pantry.
I don't have cupboard space like this at the other house, so a lot of it will remain in boxes until I figure out how to dispose if it.
Table cloth and linen napkins embroidered by my mother while she was pregnant with me, vintage cotton table cloths printed with 1950s motifs,
Longaberger baskets I use occasionally, canning jars, and many more  things I can't recall,
all fit snugly in one place in this house, but will have to be separated and scattered into whatever small storage areas in the other house.
Or just left in the boxes I pack them in until I decide how to sell it or give it away.
A lot of it just has to GO.
I'm getting to the point where I'm ready to cut loose of some (no, a lot!) of my accumulation.
Then, my oldest daughter picks up an item, as if seeing it for the first time (and maybe she has),
and says, "this is pretty, can I have it?"
And then I'm reminded of why I keep it all.

You can help with my move by purchasing something(s) from my etsy shop, so I don't have to move so much of my inventory.
Use coupon code RB1000 to receive 15% off your total purchase over $10.00.

Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!


I am officially 50 today, but my big party is tomorrow
and it's no mere "let's do lunch".
There will be "hats" and party favors!
A couple days ago I spent the evening making hair fascinators.
I have a gross (a case!) of cardboard Mickey Mouse ear headbands that I remade
into sparkly party wear by tearing off the ears and adding
salvaged ribbon, gold foil doilies, feathers and mylar curling ribbon.
In other words, "junk" I had on hand. :)
Too much is never enough.
And somehow I had enough materials (and energy!) to make 20 of these
in one sitting.

Not to be left out, Rebecca requested a special one for herself,
with plastic gems hotglued to the band.
She was happy to model it for you.

She wore it to school the next day and now all of the girls (and a few boys!)
want her to make one for them too.
I have plenty of headbands and can probably find some
Christmas ribbon stashed away somewhere,
so it's possible that I could fill their requests.
I'm out of plastic gems, but the ribbon is sparkle enough.
These were so fun (and cheap) to make, I could happily make more.
Wish I could say that I have less to pack now, but ribbon doesn't take up much room.
And I still have about 80 Mickey Mouse ear head bands!
It's official now.
We are moving in two weeks and I have yet to pack anything!
I'm more concerned about celebrating my birthday! ha!
I'll still except "50" photos if you find any.
I'll be 50 all year!

Monday, November 26, 2012

50 is Fabulous!

Only two more sleeps and it's my birthday!
I am being very brave posting a picture of myself,
 but I had to show off the "50" glasses that Patty of Magpie's Nest sent me in a box
overflowing with birthday goodness!
Thank you, Patty, for the perfect 50 number post!
Though not age appropriate, Rebecca had to try the glasses on too.
Her blond hair shows off the frames better.
Oh, to have her smooth, wrinkle free skin!

Friday, November 23, 2012

50 is Divine

Only 5 days until my birthday and 6 days until my party.
I actually collect the occasional 50th anniversary ware because I can find it for cheap at the thrift store and I like its gawdy gold.
And I knew I was turning 50 soon, so why not?
This plate hangs with my souvenir plate collection on my kitchen wall.
Are you looking for "50" things for me?
I haven't gotten any yet.
You could be the first!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

50 is Nifty

One week from today is my birthday.
It's a significant one.
And I'm celebrating it!
I've invited about 20 friends, past and present, to lunch with me at
The Byelorussian Baker at Asbury House,
in Higginsville, MO.
(Alas, she does not have a web site).
The RSVPs are slowly trickling in and I'm excited that
some of my oldest and dearest friends (whom I've known for 25 years or more!) are coming! 
As I was making my guest list I noticed a trend--
that the list read like a who's who of Strong Women in My Life. 
 I am getting more excited for them to meet each other
than I am for them to come and celebrate me. ha!
And you, dear readers, are invited too. 
To my virtual party on my blog.
I wish you all could meet each other too.
Some of you drink tea, some prefer coffee,
some of you love to "junk" or just love junk in general. ha!
All of you are creative and kind and generous.
And that is why I consider you my friends.
And celebrate you!
I am not measuring this milestone by the distance I've traveled,
but  by the friends I've met along the way.
Can I make a Birthday Girl request? 
My camera died today and I was hoping to post daily pictures
of things that had the number "50" on them.
Can you send me some?
I will post your photo(s) and link to your blog.
Thanks SO much!
The more photos I get, the longer my birthday will last.
((((Big hugs to you all!))))

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Passing the Torch (Tea Tuesday)

Much to everyone's annoyance Rebecca often turns the coffee table
into a tea party for 20.
Here she used her favorite fleece blanket as a tablecloth.
She mixes cheap, "play" china (much of it chipped or broken) with some of my finer pieces
 (which I try not to stress about) and has a wonderul time playing hostess.
The other day she told me,
"Mom, when you die, I will take care of your teacups."
Good to know.
I certainly can't take them with me!

I also have to share this great "tea" find from Hairbrained Schemes.
I love C.S. Lewis and I love tea!
There are a lot of other great quotes "suitable for framing" in the shop too.
Warm up your cup and take a look!
Also visit Pat and Patty for more Tea Tuesday posts!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I Voted Today

Did you?
There's still time.
Your vote counts!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I sold a few "beauties" a while back in my shop, so
 have a ready supply of creepy doll images free of charge.
Here I just glued a photo down, collaged it with strips of Tim Holtz tissue tape
 (a gift from Magpie's Nest Patty- thank you!),
doodled a mask and collar with a Sharpie marker and voila!
Halloween greetings!

My treat for you...
You can take these images to use yourself.
Just click on each image to get the larger image and
 "save picture as" to your computer.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Can I Buy a Vowel?

Yes, you can, at Jana's Stuff, and I did!
I didn't need the letters, but I wanted to get something, anything,
because Jana's shop is so fun and her spokes model KK (Karol Kitsch) is a riot!!!!
So now, not only do I have my shop spelled out in Scrabble tiles,
I also have an autographed photo of KK presenting my letters on a Scrabble board.
Karol Kitsch is one versatile gal...

 I mean, for goodness' sake, here she's milking a cow trivet...

...And here she's dressed in full Octoberfest costume to sell a beer stein!
And you will never believe the lengths Jana goes to to market a silver bread basket!
Go visit Jana's Stuff and tell her Ruby Floy sent you!
The most hilarious time in a shop you will ever have!
(I hurt from laughing, just thinking about it!)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

City Mouse, Country Mouse

While visiting family up in Michigan, this past July, we took a field trip to the Detroit Institute of Art Museum (DIA).  I took lots of photos on my handy cell phone so I could relive the day later.  I hadn't been to a really good art museum in YEARS, so was in heaven for the day.  Later, when I reviewed my pictures, all of them on my phone, I noticed a pattern.  The pictures I took at the museum, in The City, had similar compositions to other photos on my phone that I had taken in and around where I live, namely The Country.  And so I bring you my personal Smart Phone Retrospective of Art as seen through a former city dweller, now imbedded in the country.  Art is what you make it, not where.
Above is a room in the modern wing of the DIA with art by various artists.
And below, unassuming yard art as found next to a barn in Levasy, Missouri.
Below, a mural by Diego Rivera.  It's been one of my favorite installments since first seeing it as a kid on a class trip.
I highly recommend the on-line virtual tour of the mural.
And apparently I am still fascinated by "industrial art", because here's my view of a grain elevator in  Kansas City, Kansas.
Now a collage assemblage piece by Raymond Johnson (American 1927-'95).
Which has its country inspiration, photographed in Levasy, Missouri.
(You will be wanting to visit Levasy- it's chock full of "art" in a bucolic setting!)
Finally, an abstract print by Fernand Leger.
I love his color and design sense.
And here's my daughter, Victoria, playing with collage self portraiture.
I love her design sense too.
This is not Photoshopped.  She is holding a magazine clipping up to her face.
Neat, huh?
My china cabinet in the background adds an architectural element a la America Gothic by Grant Wood.  (Internet photo below)
But now I digress, because American Gothic is housed in Chicago, which is another trip. ha!
Thank you for visiting my exhibit.
Please be sure to sign my guest book and leave a comment on your way out. ;)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cereal and Tea (It's Tuesday!)

Were it not for Tea Tuesday, you might not hear from me at all.
Every morning, as soon as my kids get on the school bus, I boot up my computer and start my work day. My office is in the kitchen. At the breakfast bar.
I have decided to treat my etsy shop like a part time job instead of a hobby and the sales show it. First it was to reduce clutter
(we plan to move in the next month or so and I don't want to take it ALL with me),
but now it's just the joy of running my dream shop.
I am adding new items daily during the week, when I have the house to myself and no demands on my time; and on weekends I answer emails and track sales.
But today, as I eat my mad scientist mixture of Raisin Bran and Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereals (trying to finish off the dregs in opened boxes), I am reminded of my breakfast a few days ago when there wasn't milk handy for cereal.
   I had already poured the cereal in a bowl, before I remembered that we were missing the key ingredient. *groan* I hate when that happens! But no matter. I had hot tea made. Plain, black tea. I poured some over my cereal and voila! A hot breakfast! I didn't miss the milk too much and the raisins in the Raisin Bran plumped up from the hot liquid.
I wouldn't want to eat cereal with tea exclusively now, but in a pinch, it works.
I've read that "Inspiration is the mother of invention".
I say it's that, and the occasional lack of milk in the house.

For more Tea Tuesday posts, visit Magpie's Nest and Ooglebloops.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sugar for Breakfast (It's Tea Tuesday)

This morning I'm drinking my usual black tea with milk,
so I won't bore you with a photo of that,
but instead I want to share what the kids and I made over the weekend.
The weather has cooled and so baking is a cozy way to heat up the kitchen
and bring the family together.
Pumpkins and leaves and hearts (Rebecca's choice on the hearts,
because they are always in season, right?).
We also turned the large oak leaf cookie around and made ragged looking ghosts,
but you will just have to use your imagination because the ghosts were the first eaten. ha!
The small maple leaf could be a bat if it were turned upside down, but that's for next time.
29 more baking days left until Halloween!
For more Tea Tuesday posts, visit Magpie's Nest and Oooglebloops.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tiny Bubbles in My Tea (Tuesday)

I am so glad the weather has cooled here in my part of Missouri.
I can drink up to 3 pots of black-tea-with-milk a day, without breaking a sweat.
Fall is my favorite time of year (I say that every year around this time- ha!)
It's overcast this morning and looking decidedly gloomy,
after a violent sounding thunderstorm came through last night.
It's put me in a contemplative mood.
So I Googled the Farmer's Almanac to see what this winter will be like.
Missouri had a hellaciously hot summer, but according to the Almanac, we will have enough precipitation this winter to offset the summer drought.
Some of it might even be snow (although below normal amounts).
I am feeling better already.
More snow would be good, but I will take any.
I think I'll make another pot of tea (#2 today) to celebrate.
What are you contemplating in your tea this morning?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Accidental Fashion Designer

The other day I was cleaning with a bleach based household cleaner
and did two stupid things.
1.  I wore black.
2. I hugged the bottle to me when I was done (to carry it into another room).
Before I realized what I had done, a purplish mark had already appeared on my once black top.
The top was getting overwashed and dingy, but it was comfy and I liked it!
What to do to keep it out of the trash and sort of presentable still?
I had no RIT dye on hand, so I opted for the opposite remedy.
Further bleaching.
Acting quickly, I changed into some other shirt, grabbed a rubber doily from my china cabinet drawer, and headed outside to the glass topped table on our deck.
I arranged the doily on the front of the shirt and spritzed, spritzed, spritzed.
Didn't even rinse the top, but just threw it into the wash with a load of whites that needed a little bleach anyway, and voila!

A Nathalie original I would be proud to wear with artsy jewelry.
And when I am done with the shirt, I can salvage the prettiest part of the lace pattern and repurpose it.
Here is a detail.
Be fearless.
Go bleach something!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Queen Bees Zine Swap

This swap has dragged on for months and I am the reason.
I have 3 zines piled up on my desk and I should only have one! For one thing, I am a procrastinator and for another, Inspiration has been more elusive than usual.
This is Carole's zine.
"Memories from my Childhood".
I've had it since the the beginning of August (umm, that means, a month?) and it took that long for an idea to perculate to the surface.
Patty's lingered in my possesion for two months before I came up with something and sent it off without a photograph or post.
I am vowing to do better.
It's helped that summer is nearly over and my head it back in the game.
But back to Carole's zine.....
It's  not like her zine wasn't inspiring enough!
Each of the tabs had a prompt,
"memories", "stories", "jokes", "wisdom".
She had some fabric hanging out, which encouraged me to not worry about perfection.
Here is my spread.
One month of mulling over it.
Two and a half hours to execute.
A short anecdote about home made play clothes, made from double polyester and hideous contrasting colors.
What can I say.
It was the 1960s.
I am very happy with my pages.
Just wish I didn't drag my heels so long before getting down to business!
Packed it and mailed it before the glue was completely dry.
Nearly forgot to photograph it in my haste to move it on to Linda!
Next on the drawing board-
Margaret's "The Bra That Could Turn Back Time".
I have a germ of an idea for it.
Hopefully I can get it done before this month is out!
Oh,  by the way, my own zine has returned to me.
It has already made the rounds (literally around the world) which is all the more embarrassing that I am not moving everyone else's along in a timely fashion!
I haven't opened it, letting it sit until I fullfill my obligations.
Yes, the envelope from Switzerland is still sealed!
It wouldn't be fair or right for me to enjoy my zine when no one else can enjoy theirs!
Watch this space for future reveals.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Pincushion Winner Is.... And Lest We Forget

Patty of Magpie's Nest won my pincushion.
And thank you all, again, for stopping by and participating.
I wish I could have sent one to each of you.
And lest we forget...

Hauntingly beautiful raku fired helmet by Pinet Pottery on etsy.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Souvenir of Kansas and one more Pincushion

You will never guess, in a million years, what this figurine is.
You won't.
Ear of corn?
An Ottawa Indian?
Here's a picture clue.
Guess again.
Mr. Green Jeans in flips flops?
A farmer in flip flops?

One last clue before the reveal.
Guess again.
A girl with a ponytail?
Give up?
I'm as clueless as you are, but when I saw it at a garage sale a couple weeks ago,
I had to have it!
Today I Googled "Ottawa, Kansas Chinese" and found listings for restaurants. ha!
"Ottawa, Kansas history" gave me Ottawa Indians and WWII internment camps populated by German and Italian prisoners of war.
No Chinese.
By the way, the figurine is marked "Japan".
It's not even made in Kansas! ha!
He is made of "china" though! heehee.
Just had to share one of my more unusual aquisitions.
There is no accounting for my taste in bric-a-brac! 
And now here's that other pincushion.
I just bought it .
I love old tomato pincushions.
This one is velveteen and came with the pins and needles you see pictured.
$1.00 at a local antiques flea market.
I couldn't pass it up!
And speaking of pincushions,
don't miss my hand made pincushion giveaway in my previous post!
You have until Monday night to join in!