Monday, October 31, 2011


Just me and the ghosts wanted to say...


Friday, October 28, 2011

No paint today, just folding-- teeny shirt earrings

I have not been painting much lately since I have been traveling and very busy with things, but I have been folding.  Folding you ask?  Origami is one of my favorite pastimes and I am happy to say I have brought many smiles to wait staff when I leave my tips in the form of…stars and animals and jewelry—created simply by folding a few dollar bills. (Or higher denominations)

I don’t only fold money, however, I also fold using the standard Japanese origami paper in the colorful prints and hues.  Which reminds me that if you are a man…you don’t have many choices when you want to deck out do you?  Your wife puts on a silky red dress, or a printed sheath and you go get your boring black or gray suit.  The only time you get to let your neatly shorn hair down is when you are on vacation and you can pull out that loud, and so cliché Hawaiian shirt.

Well, guys you gave me an idea and I started folding mini shirts that so remind me of the Hawaiian ones.  But what can I do with these one-inch high mini-shirts?  Sorry guys it isn’t going to perk up your wardrobe on the drab days of upcoming winter…but it will perk up your wives and girlfriends when they wear them on their ears.

If you would like a tutorial on how to make these mini shirt earrings…just leave it in the comments.  And soon, just like magic the instructions will appear…right here--crystal clearly. 

Have a great weekend! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Creative Tuesdays--Autumn tales of a Stony man and a black twig

My Black Twig...colored pencil

My favorite time of year (at the moment) is autumn.  So what do I do to further enjoy the crisp and colorful fall days?  I take a little trip up to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. 

Yesterday my husband and I hiked the trail up stony man mountain to gaze at the colorful valley below.  Stony man you may ask?  When looking at the mountain many people see the silhouette of a bearded man lying down, hence the name.  Can you see him?  If you do you, my husband tells me that you have a creative mind, if you don’t then you are with him.  I must have looked a bit loony as I drew with my finger in the air the shape of the stony man.  My husband just looked at me and said he saw it, but I suspect he was just trying to shut me up.  I think it’s a right brain left brain thing.

Stony Man
                             (click the photo to enlarge to better view the snoozing mountain man)

This yearly sojourn is never over till we pick up some black twig apples. I know, again with the unfamiliar terms.  Black twig apples are an heirloom apple or antique if you wish.  I’m not saying that they are as old as that Chippendale chair in your living room, although they do last a bit longer than other varieties of apples.  I’m just saying that the apple has been around a long, long time. 

Black twig apples are a dark burgundy color.  They are a sweet/tart apple and originated in Tennessee around 1830.  Unfortunately this particular apple is a bit rare and I doubt you will find them sitting in a bin with the macintosh in the old grocery store.  The black twig apple happened to be a favorite of Andrew Jackson and was popular in 19th century Va.  If you keep them in the fridge they will last very long, almost till spring! 

And since the theme for CREATIVE TUESDAYS is Autumn I am linking this post so you can view my quick sketch of my and Pres Andrew's favorite apple, the Black Twig.  Have a great day enjoying the crisp autumn weather!  Now I am going to visit all the other Autumn posts and you should too! 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hit the runway with an easy to make feather barrette

Feathers are in.  You see them dangling from earrings and adding to hairstyles.  The prices to buy one can be a bit…well, lets just say, up there, but you can easily create a feather barrette for yourself or your fashion conscious little girl in minutes for pennies.

You will need:

Barrette available at your craft store or revamp an old one

Feathers (also available in small bags in the craft store)

Hot glue (adults will need to do this)

Glue sticks

Small buttons or other decorations for embellishing


1.     Purchase or cut feathers to the desired length.  You will be applying them vertically to the barrette.  Starting on one side, and using a hot glue gun, place a small dot of glue on the barrette and attach a feather.  You will be attaching each feather one at a time.  It may be helpful if you use a toothpick or butter knife to push it down so as not to burn your fingers.  Work across barrette till you have filled the barrette.  Snip off any flyaway pieces.

2.     Start from one side and add a rhinestone.  Repeat on the other side, alternating each side, until you have the desired amount of rhinestones.  Glue the main embellishment in the center.  Or, if you prefer use all rhinestones across the barrette.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Is a picture worth a thousand words?

Last week I spent some time in Minot, North Dakota visiting my Air Force son, Sean.  We rode past the damaged houses and were shocked and saddened by the devastation caused by last summer’s flood.  I had heard about it and Sean had helped with sandbag positioning but nothing could prepare me for the actual areas affected. 

House after house lies empty with doors agape and windows missing. Many lost their belongings and they sit rotting on the streets or hanging from the bushes along the no longer swollen river. To make matters even more difficult the oil boom in North Dakota has brought hundreds of oil workers and is making it even more difficult to find housing.  I read in the local paper that unscrupulous investors have purchased houses and have doubled rents!  Why is it during disasters there is always someone who is looking to profit?? 

I talked to one woman who told me that she managed to get most of her things out in the 48 hours they had before the river overtook its banks. Many of her neighbors did not.  And almost no one carried flood insurance.

The pictures posted here are only a sampling of thousands.  If you can, I recommend that you donate to Minot flood relief.

Monday, October 17, 2011

As Dorothy so eloquently stated…there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.

Roses at International Peace Garden

I’m back from my recent trip to North Dakota, and I have discovered that there is truly no place like home.

Don’t get me wrong; there are good things and bad things about every place where you may travel.  Let me briefly touch on the not so great things and then I will take a peek at the good things.

Who likes air travel?  I’m not a large person but the seats on airplanes just get more and more cramped and if you think I’m making that up, think again.  I know for a fact that many airlines will move up seats (yes they are movable) a few inches in each row.  What do they gain, two extra rows!  Your knees press into the back of the seat in front of you.  The good thing is that if you are a short person you feel quite a bit taller so it is a fantastic ego boost.

Does anyone really enjoy Hotel beds?  I have stayed in 4 and 5 star hotels and I have stayed in mediocre ones, and I find there is one thing that they all have in common.  They all have crappy beds.  I always bring my own pillow as well.  It all takes some getting used to, but usually by the time I am down with the bed and getting good sleep it’s time to leave.  In addition it is an unfamiliar room and I have a tendency to get up once during the night.  During this trip I exited the bathroom and turned a bit too quickly aiming for the bed and walked smack dab into the wall.  You would think that humans learn from experience, but the next night I did the same exact thing.  So this trip I walked around with a headache and a knot on my noggin.  The benefit of repeatedly knocking oneself in the head (although my husband just couldn’t understand how I could keep doing it) is that when I lay me down to sleep, I slept.

Staying entertained in an unfamiliar state can be a daunting task.  North Dakota is a pretty large state by comparison to say…Delaware.  It is however more sparsely populated.  Nothing wrong with that, but with more population comes things to do, restaurants, and stores.  We discovered that anywhere you go in North Dakota it’s going to be about 100 mile trip.  That’s jus the way it is and the locals just take this fact for granted. Growing up 40 miles from Washington D.C. you can imagine that this was quite the culture shock for me.  As for restaurants, well when we asked a local about a good place to eat he told us, um…Applebee’s.  And since we have several Applebee’s within 10 miles of our house, we stopped and smelled the roses (yes there were still some blooming in the Peace Garden) and made ourselves right at home. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Good Cris and Goof Cris

When I was a kid I loved Highlights magazine.  Are they even still in circulation? Anyway, in this magazine my favorite column was the “Goofus and Gallant” article.  Goofus was exactly what the name implies, always complaining and not very nice.  Gallant was every parent’s dream child.  Gallant was courteous, always Mr. nice guy.  So I thought why not a nod to two of my favorite kids?

In Autumn Good Cris loves...

Piles of multi colored leaves in all shapes and sizes

Goof Cris says…
Yuck, piles of multi colored leaves that need to be raked and removed.  Especially ones from the neighbors yard who don’t feel the need to rake and remove

Good Cris loves…

Crisp fall temperatures in the 50’s that require light jackets

Goof Cris says…

Good Cris loves...

Goof Cris says…
Just leave me alone, that darn leaf raking can just wait till the Football game is over

Good Cris likes...
Halloween, Trick or Treaters and hand made costumes

Goof Cris says…
OMG, not the doorbell again!  Really now, bed sheets?

Good Cris likes...
Fall Festivals and Fairs of all types and sizes

Goof Cris says…
Hot dogs, French fries, cotton candy, kettle corn, Alka Seltzer

Good Cris looks forward to...
Craft shows where holidays start early

Goof Cris says…
No I don’t want to have a makeup party, I'm pretty enough thank you very much

Good Cris loves...
Carving pumpkins and the Pumpkin Patch with miles of various sized pumpkins

Goof Cris says…
What the **&&^^ is wrong with three triangles and a circle?

Good Cris enjoys...
Back to school sales and big yellow school buses

Goof Cris says…
Honestly, this can’t be the supply list for 4thgrade; it’s the size of War and Peace.

Good Cris loves...
All the multi colored mums

Goof Cris says…
No doggy, not there!

Good Cris likes...
Halloween leftover candy

Goof Cris says…
Can we say, Jenny Craig?

Just to be perfectly clear, I am not Goof Cris and any association to persons alive or dead are purely coincidental.  Honestly, I’m not Goof Cris.  If you think about it I could be Gallant Cris.  I mean she’s kind of nice and I’m nice.  Oh just forget it, it’s a parody lighten up…

Monday, October 10, 2011

Trick or Treat...or not

Candy corn ACEO

Back when I was a kid and Halloween fell on a Saturday there was no waiting till you got home from school to go trick or treating.  Candy loving kids didn’t wait till dark to begin their collections.  While I wasn’t much of a candy eater I still enjoyed donning a costume and going trick or treating. 

On one particular Halloween, my mother decided to take us downtown telling us that even storeowners gave out candy to costumed kids.  We had already amassed quite a bit of candy from the neighborhood and the weight of the candy stressed the twisted paper handles of my paper Halloween bag.

My mother decided to cross the street and leave my brothers and I at a fenced playground while she went into a small store.  Unfortunately the playground closed and we waited none too patiently outside the gate. 

I could see them coming; a group of about 6 or seven kids swinging their Halloween bags.  It wasn’t long before they confronted us.  They got my sibling’s bags with no problem, but I wasn’t giving up so easy and I held on tight.  Even so, it didn’t take long, and they continued up the street looking for easier collecting.  When my mother returned, there I stood, holding my handles.

Funny but I don’t remember not having any candy that year.  I don’t remember much of anything except standing there holding those handles.

It wasn’t all bad though because I learned a lot about myself that day. I learned that I was not about to go down without a fight, and I never would.  It was about triumphing without winning.  While I didn’t keep my bag, I held in my hands that day the symbol of my tenacity, those twisted paper handles. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Throwing kisses at tasty creativity

We artists think we are creative, but the real creativity belongs smack dab in the middle of a fancy test kitchen. 

What can I be speaking about?  Well, a certain pizza franchise seems to come up with another kind of pizza every week.  Here I was thinking that pizza consisted of sauce, cheese and pepperoni.  One minute it’s stuffed crust, the next minute it’s fancy herbs, and barbeque sauce, and even chocolate!  No pizza is safe.  Pizza franchises realize that variety, not oregano is the spice of life.

The creativity doesn’t stop with the last bite of crust, however. Hershey’s kisses have been around since 1907 and every time I turn around there is a new limited edition flavor.  This past year I have enjoyed, candy corn, cherry cordial and coconut crème, but that is the just tip of the iceberg. I wonder, what will be next? The company creates lots of new flavors every year and you never know what’ll be nestled inside as you pull the paper to remove it’s colorful foil wrapper.  When will they run out of ideas?  I just saw a commercial that advertised the new seasonal flavor kiss…air.  Yes, they filled this one with little holes of air.  Hmmmm… could they have come to the brick wall, the cookers block, the end of the trail? 

I think not, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to notice a sugar cookie kiss sitting under the tree waiting for Santa.  After all who doesn’t love chocolate?

This will be the last "new" post for a week since I will be in the wilds of North Dakota visiting my Air Force son.  I've been to South Dakota but never North Dakota so I have no idea what to expect other than--- brrrrrrr.  Oh well, I'm always up for a new adventure. I've heard tell there is a Pro Rodeo event scheduled for the weekend. I can almost feel the paintings-to-be tingling at my fingertips. While I am gone I am recycling, posts that is.  So even though there will be blog posts, I won't be here but I will surely visit you all when I get back!   Gotta run, gotta pack...

 Happy trails to you,

Clearly Crystal

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