Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It’s a small, small, egg shaped world!

I never think inside that box.  My (slightly loopy) mind always looks to shake things up.  Ancient mariners were surprised to discover that the world was not flat. So I started thinking of shapes the earth could be…in different solar systems of course. My eyes spied some undecorated Easter eggs and I thought that it might be fun to make my egg look like my dear mother earth…from space!  I know it sounds weird but wouldn’t it be a really cool conversation starter? 

If you want to make some egg shaped worlds yourself, it’s easy peasy.

Egg earth

You will need:

A wooden egg 

Decoupage glue (Mod Podge gloss is my favorite)

Computer and printer


Small paintbrush

1.     Search on your computer clip art program for pictures of earth from space and print two or three versions. 

2.     Cut out the motifs and then cut in smaller pieces.  This earth is definitely not flat so you need to just layer and add small pieces to the egg.  The only rule is to make sure that you put the predominately white pieces on the top and bottom of the egg (North and south poles)

3.     Spread some decoupage glue on small sections of the egg, add a piece of clip art and smooth with your fingers (its gets messy but it all washes off!)  Smoothing with your fingers helps remove some of the wrinkles.  It doesn’t matter if there still are some wrinkles as it give the piece added dimension.  Once the piece is stuck add more glue on the top. 

4.     Continue working around the egg until the entire egg is covered.  Let dry.  When it is dry you may brush another coat of decoupage glue on the top for added shine.

Protect your work surface with some scrap cardboard and waxed paper.  If you are really ambitious you could make a solar system!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Stinky Spring

Pink Dogwood pastel ACEO--NOT-STINKY!

If you were to visit me in early Spring you might think that something was amiss.  You might sniff the air and wonder.  What is that revolting odor that seems to be rising from everywhere all at once?  Where in the world could it be coming from?  You look around you and all you see are flowers and trees with beautiful white blossoms.  The breeze blows your way and the assault on your olfactory senses continues.

You wonder how such an idyllic and well-maintained outdoor area can smell of body odor, rotting fish and just plain funky-ness. 

Well, I have news for you.  Those two beautiful trees with all those lovely white blossoms in my front yard happen to be the notorious Bradford Pear.  Don’t blame me.  I didn’t plant them.  Just like the broken dishwasher, heat pump and Fridge, it came with the house.  We replaced the appliances.  The trees remain.

And what makes matters worse is that everyone on the street must have taken a field trip to the nursery to purchase and plant these trees.  You’ve heard of streets lined with gold?  My street happens to be lined with stinky pear trees.

Actually the trees themselves are pretty, wonderfully shaped and after the spring stinkies, they are pretty much non-threatening.  So if you do visit me in the spring, don’t ask.  Just be thankful that the vase in my foyer contains some mums, freesia, and a tulip or two. 

Poor, poor, stinky tree

F.Y.I.  Bradford pear trees are strictly ornamental and do not produce edible fruit!

Since this is my “ode “ to spring, I believe it qualifies for Mr. Toasts Creative Tuesdays.  Please visit and enjoy all the wonderful creativity.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday sketch

In between all the other things I need to get done today,  I figured I would whip up a little ACEO sketch  and then...what the heck, why not join in on Sunday Sketches at  Ok, I know it's not my best.  My husband already informed me of this.  In my defense the size is an ACEO and only 3 1/2" x 2 1/2", and in colored pencil. I am thinking Spring even though we had a snow last night!  Only a dusting but very rare for this time of year in Virginia.

This little guy just reminds me of spring and all the foals being born at this time of year.

Have a great Sunday and Happy Spring!  

Friday, March 25, 2011

The spice of life...and Paint Party Friday

They say that variety is the spice of life.  Although this is an adage meant for humans, who’s to say that our four legged friends can’t follow the same rule?  My cat Olivia has a habit of constantly changing her napping areas.  Her pattern works like this…She finds an area that she fancies and sleeps there regularly, whenever she decides it is time for a siesta. After several days in one spot, it is onward to a newer location.  One week it may be her cat bed.  The next week it could be a pillow on the sofa, the week after that the dining room chair is most inviting, and so on until I assume she runs out of spots.

Husband dear thinks it is because no one will be able to find her if she doesn’t want to be found.  Me, I am more inclined to blame it on her sex. After all it is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind…. and change, and change and change…

So for paint part Friday I offer a miniature pencil sketch of Olivia…getting ready for her nap in her current location, of course.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My story for Jumping off places..."Released"

Pencil ACEO

What follows is my week's story for "jumping off places" hosted by Linda at  Hope you enjoy. 

The view outside the window had been gray for days.  At least it seemed that way. She gazed at the soft green carpet that had appeared almost overnight. She had watched from her little window every day, waiting for the cold and white cover on the ground to melt away.  She knew it marked the end of her imprisonment.

It wouldn’t be long now.  The flowers were poking their lazy heads through the once hardened ground.  Gray or not, It was spring and her spirits were soaring.  Oh, when, would her sought after release come?  It couldn’t be long now; she had done her time.

The sun peeked from behind the clouds.  Someone was coming.  Could it be time?  She heard some keys rattle in the distance.  Oh happy day, it was time.  She felt like jumping for joy.  Never again would she do the things that had confined her.  She would be a boon to society. 

“C’mon Maddy” He said. “It’s a nice day, lets go to the dog park.”

pencil ACEO

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Decoupage plastic Easter egg, easy instructions

Egg Hunts

When my daughter was little I always had Easter egg hunts in my backyard.  She would invite her friends and they would look for the brightly colored eggs spread out throughout the expansive back yard.

Might I suggest when hosting an Easter egg hunt, it is a good idea to make a map listing exactly where you hid those eggs.  Although children can find almost anything (especially when they aren’t supposed to, like Christmas presents) they sometimes miss an odd egg or two.  So unless you want to be finding eggs while shoveling snow next winter, map it out.  Speaking from experience, it’s a good idea to use plastic eggs instead of real ones.  Rotten eggs smell, well, like rotten eggs!

We always had a gold egg that won a larger toy prize.  That was the special one.  So Hop on over to your craft store and pick up some supplies to make your own special golden egg.

Decoupage Plastic Easter egg

You will need:

Plastic egg (I used clear with a tab for hanging on a tree but you can easily substitute a regular plastic egg)

Decoupage glue (mod podge is a good one)

Colored napkin of choice (An all over print works best)


Small paintbrush

Gold glitter dimensional fabric paint

Wax paper to protect work surface

1.     Cut the napkin into various sized small rectangles.  Separate the layers and use only the colored layer. Take apart the egg and work on each half individually.

2.     Brush some decoupage glue onto the egg up to the edge.  Stick a rectangle on  it and immediately spread some more glue on the top.  Don’t worry about wrinkles as they give the egg added dimension.  Continue working around the entire egg edges. Keep spreading more glue on the egg until it is completely covered with some more napkin rectangles.  Gently spread a coat of glue on the entire surface.  Place down and let dry completely.  At this point if you do not like how it is coming out, don’t fret.  Wash it off and start over. 

3.     Repeat for the other half.  Let dry.

4.     When both sides are dry, draw some designs with the gold dimensional fabric paint (see photo) on each egg and let dry. 

If you have a tab on your egg it can be used to hold the egg while you are applying the decoupage.  You can even place the egg face down on the waxed paper covered work surface and apply the decoupage in that way.  Once the egg is dry you can brush another coat of the decoupage glue on both sides of the egg.

Monday, March 21, 2011



Have you ever wondered why they call the trip we take after we marry a “honeymoon.”  Leave it to me to be the one to ask why.  I guess I was one of those annoying little kids who always asked questions that have parents scratching their heads and mumbling. 

Thank goodness for the Internet, now when my curiosity gets the better of me, I can just search, for anything. I may take a side street here and there, but I always learn something new. 

So this past weekend the moon was supposed to be 30% brighter and 15% larger since it was the closest it has been to earth since 1993.  Did you see it?  I was out there moon gazing and humming a song I must have heard in an old movie.

“Honeymoon, we’ll be shining in June…”

Anyway, when I came inside researched the roots of the term-- Honeymoon.  It turns out that in ancient times the word came about because it was thought that a marriage, is honey (sweet) for the first month…duh-- a lunar cycle. 

How it that for a very negative attitude towards marriage? I have been married for going on 11 years now and it is still as sweet as honey.  Guess I’m just lucky like that!

I also want to thank Christine Bennett of for the beautiful Sch----------  well I still can't say or write the word, but you can see it here.  Thanks Christine, and by the way the card is gorgeous too!!  :-D

Friday, March 18, 2011

A little Saturday story for Jumping off places

What follows is a little story for Jumping off places hosted by Linda at  I know its a bit late but better late than never right?  I hope you enjoy it! 

On the top of the piano sat a beautiful gilded frame with a yellowing photo neatly framed behind the glass.  She picked it up and looked closer.  Why did he always have to look so serious, so stern?  That was not the man she knew.  Photos can expose a face and yet hide so much.

Gran-dad had always been her rock.  Now, more than ever she needed to talk to him.  She needed his advice and support, but most of all she needed his strength.

When others had discounted her abilities, he had always been the one to defend them.  He believed in her, and that made her believe it too.

“Your gonna make it, Dee” He’d say with a wink of his eye. 

Now she wasn’t so sure.  She closed her eyes and imagined he was right there.  She felt the comforting squeeze of his hand as he walked with her to the school bus stop. She recalled the time he sat beside her bed all night at the hospital when she fell and broke her arm. She saw him playing funny little tunes on the piano to make her squeal with laughter.
She saw so many things in that moment that it seemed almost real.  She snapped out of her reverie with a start.

Ring…ring, ring. The phone interrupted her daydream, but with a much lighter heart she answered it.


Her smile became increasingly broader and as she hung up the phone, She gently placed the frame back onto the piano and beamed at the man who believed, and as she turned to leave, she could have sworn she saw him wink!

Have a great weekend!!! :-)

Paint Party Friday

Some of my blogging buddies have started a paint party on Friday.  So I decided to jump right in.  I’ve already visited and I am amazed at all the beautiful art that is showcased here.  What a group of talented artists, so if you haven’t gone why not hop over and take a peek, better yet, hop...right in.

I paint big, medium and small but miniatures are one of my favorite things.  There is something about working with a giant magnifying glass to add detail that just excites me.  So I will continue until my eyes give out. 

I figured I would add my little miniature of a bunny.  My daughter discovered him all alone on a country road and brought him home. He was so cute, but a bit wild so we set him free in my backyard.  That was last fall.  There are tons of bunnies living in the woods behind my house and every time I see one of them hopping around I wonder…is it bunny? I’d like to think so.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cb and C

Are you having your Corned Beef and cabbage today?

It’s funny but a little research reveals that the dish of Corned Beef and cabbage is not really an Irish dish but is an Irish-American adaptation.  Pork is the meat of choice in Ireland so when immigrants came to America they found bacon and ham to be a little out of their price range.  Being the highly versatile folks they are, they substituted the much cheaper and readily available Corned Beef.

So…Reuben dear, you would be a ham sandwich or a BLT in Ireland.  Thank goodness for the thriftiness of the Irish-Americans…in all of us.

Good times...
Good friends...
Good health to you...
And the luck of the Irish
In all that you do!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Creative Tuesdays…Breakfast rules or does it just have rules?

Just coffee please, ACEO

As a rule (I know its not good for you so don’t judge me) I never eat breakfast.  I just can’t seem to work up much of an appetite in the mornings.  If you think about it there is not much to choose from.  So since Creative Tuesdays at the theme is breakfast I had to really think hard about this one.

On the other hand, breakfast is my husband’s favorite meal.  He can eat it morning, noon and night.  Me, I like variety and breakfast doesn’t have a lot of that unless you consider the way you cook your eggs.  Oh yeah, there are always sweets like cereals, donuts, and pancakes. These are also breakfast-approved items, but…whom might I ask does the approving?

I would like to know who wrote the breakfast rules. If you eat a hamburger before the clock strikes 12 will the breakfast police arrest you?  I guess if you really wanted to shake things up you could have a pepperoni pizza.

Restaurants must have a copy of the breakfast rulebook.  Just you try and order something that is not on that limited list before the designated time frame. I pull into a drive-through at 10:30 a.m. and tell the cheerful but garbled voice that I would like a cheeseburger. (I know I shouldn’t but cut me some slack here, like you don’t break your diet once in a while)

“You want what?”

“We don’t serve cheeseburgers before 11:30.  How about a sausage and egg biscuit?”

Don’t misunderstand me I like eggs in moderation, but I settle for the breakfast of  un-champions…coffee, black.

Monday, March 14, 2011

God bless the Irish

Lucky ACEO 

I am not Irish.  My husband is Irish and he gave me his very Irish last name, so I guess I am sort of Irish by assimilation.  Wow that was a mouthful of Irish

Anyway, this Thursday marks St. Patrick’s Day which is a very Irish holiday and therefore very important to the Irish, even the assimilated Irish in all of us. So this week I will print some Irish blessings written by Irish poets, Irish saints and Irish regular guys and gals.


Grant me a sense of humor, Lord,
The saving grace to see a joke,
To win some happiness from life,
And pass it on to other folk


May you be a half hour in Heaven
Before the devil knows your dead


God needed laughter in the world
So he made the Irish race
For they can meet life with a smile
And with a happy face.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Daylight losing (sleep) time

Ring, ring, ring

I am going to be one cranky person on Monday. Spring daylight savings has once again arrived intent on messing up my usual schedule. Don’t preach, I get it, I know all the details. Daylight savings time is supposed to save energy and great thinkers like Benjamin Franklin have promoted its benefits since way back in the 1700’s. Sorry Benny, I still hate it. Ok, I take that back. I like it in the fall when we actually get more sleep.

I am cursed with having an internal clock that always wakes me at the same time. Unfortunately, I don’t have a button on my head that allows me to reset the thing. Now it will be one hour later than usual, and it will take a while to readjust. I get used to things the way they are and changes just throw me off. I mean, I was still writing 2010 on checks until the end of February. This day is just going to whiz by and when I lay me down to sleep at my clock set bedtime, my inner clock will insist that it will be too early.  I will lay wide-awake until that infernal timepiece inside my body finally decides to get with the program. By that time, I will have tossed for an hour and I will no longer be tired. Therefore, I will lose even more sleep.

When morning comes around, coffee by the gallon will be in order as I stagger out of bed with bleary eyes an hour late for whatever commitments I have on the agenda.

Yes, I know you sun worshipers out there are cheering this clock adjustment. Therefore, to all you daylight saving time lovers I have a few questions for you. Are you really going to stay up outside later when you have to get up at 5 a.m.? Are you really going to get off the roads and not drive anywhere? If you live in a warm climate, (think VA or Fla.) that gets to be over 100 degrees with 100% humidity during the summer, are you going to stay outside and not use your A.C.? Will your tiny tots go off to bed willingly as they insist that it’s “not night yet? “ Last of all on Monday morning, are you going to jump out of your bed, chipper and refreshed and smiling broadly in a very morning person kind of way? I think not.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Auto incorrect

ACEO in pencil

Can anyone tell me why we need a simple little phone or an Ipad to tell us what it is we are trying to say?  Personally I find it a little intimidating.  I type my version of Hydrangea. Maybe my spelling is a bit off, but not to the point where the recipient of my text can't understand.  I look before I send, and it now says--Hydrant, just like magic!  Not even close! It has changed from a beautiful flower to something on which dogs do their business.  Now just imagine the sentence combinations!!

"Your hydrants are so very beautiful, that I stop to admire them while walking my dog."  

Well, we know the dog does only he doesn't show his admiration with his eyes. 

There are times when my daughter texts me things that have my jaw on the table first and then laughing till I cry.  Honestly, wouldn’t you rather everyone think you are a poor speller or prone to typos than unintended risqué comments?  And they call them SMARTPHONES!  Maybe they should be re-named smart aleck phones.

I am sure there must be a way to shut this unwanted service off, but finding it when you are electronically challenged, is well, a challenge.  So I guess I will just have to be diligent in checking everything before I send.  

I say join the campaign to stop the auto correct right now.  Tell your friends, write to your congressmen, just make sure you look before you BLEEP and your WORLDS haven’t been CHARGED…otherwise known as...look before you leap and your words haven’t been changed! 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who’s afraid of the big bad pastel?

"Your blocking my view" pastel

Why do so many artists shy away from the medium of pastel?  Why does it always seem to me as if pastels are the ugly stepchild of other artist’s materials? Maybe I am a bit biased.  I love pastels and I have worked with them for years. 

I get the reasoning.  There are issues when using pastels.  The pigment dust gets everywhere, the painting can smear and you must frame it under glass.  When you spray a fixative (which I rarely use) the whole painting changes colors.  And then there is the issue of your hand that always seems to be a bit large and can wipe the slate clean in a moment of carelessness.

Through the years I have learned certain things.  I always cover my work in progress.  This guards against little art critic birds that somehow manage to fly in through a door carelessly left ajar without my knowledge.  Oh, yes, bird doo doo is impossible to remove from a half completed pastel. 

And while I am on a rant, why do I always feel the need to explain to non-artists that pastel is a kind of chalk? Sometimes they stare at me like they totally understand and then I realize that the quizzical looks are really quite quizzical!

I just finished a new pastel painting with the intention of entering it in a local fine arts exhibit and I discover that there are very few entries, so few in fact, that they will not even be judged. This particular exhibit is in its 60th year!  I work in many mediums.  I like acrylic, watercolor and graphite.  And stigma that it may be, I like pastel.

So tell me…”Who’s afraid of the big bad pastel, la la la la la?”

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pearl or chunky bead Bracelet

While browsing through a Department store recently my eyes caught some beautiful pearly beaded bracelets.  I'm not really a jewelry designer but I figured, what the heck.  I could try and create something similar and it wouldn’t cost me as much as the ready-made prices.  I am fortunate enough to own a bead design board, but you can easily substitute a kitchen towel to set up your design and keep the beads from rolling while you are working.

You will need:

Some pearlized glass beads in desired colors (or beads of choice)

Needle nosed pliers, round nosed pliers and wire cutters

Eye pins (I used sterling because of allergies but you can use regular findings)

Spring rings or lobster claw clasp

 Jump rings

Tape measure

1.     Poke the Eye pin through the center of the bead.  Using the wire cutters snip the cut end about to about a ¼”. 

2.     Using the round nosed pliers bend down to the left and then at the base bend the other way into a round shape making sure the ends meet to close.  You will have rings on both sides of the bead.  (After you do a few it gets easier)

3.     Use a jump ring to attach the beads together.  Use a twisting motion to open the jump rings rather than just pulling apart.  Make sure the ends meet to close.  Make the bracelet as long you need.

4.     Attach the spring ring with a jump ring to the last bead on one side and you are done!

5.     Wear with pride.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Where is Cyndi Lauper when you need her?

air art

I just read a short blurb in my local paper that recently at an Argentina airport Cyndi Lauper grabbed the public address microphone and broke into a rendition of  “Girls just wanna have fun.”  And everyone did—have fun that is.

They say that music soothes the savage beast.  Airport delays, layovers, lost luggage and rude fellow travelers can turn even the mellowest of people into if not savage beasts, then beasts nonetheless.

On my recent flight I witnessed a woman shoving everyone else’s carry-ons out of the bins so she could stuff her over stuffed bag inside.  I saw another, in her hurry to de-plane conk a fellow on the head.  The guy reeled a bit and I am sure saw a few stars and it wasn’t outside the window. Yet another sprinted past elderly people in order to get overhead bin space.  Just so you know I always check my luggage.  It’s just not worth the fuss.

Oh Cyndi, where are you when needed?  A little music, especially a bright happy tune would make loads so much lighter. Oh what lucky passengers to be stranded at an airport with Cyndi. Alas there was no Cyndi Lauper in Atlanta.  On the bright side, though, there was also no Charlie Sheen!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Liquid Sunshine

I guess you could say that I am a pessimist.  I know those half full glass people are just cringing at my words. Rain is not one of my favorite things but I know that it is necessary for other favorite things like the water in my shower. My husband is one of those chief optimists. He calls rain “liquid sunshine.”  I love the man, but would so like to just deck him every time he utters that totally optimistic phrase!  Kidding, but seriously when we woke up on Sunday morning after the trip to Texas, it was raining cats and dogs. 

While I’m at it what does raining cats and dogs mean anyway?

Well, much the same as when a small child asks a question such as why is the sky blue, most of us, unless we are meteorologists can’t come up with an intelligible answer.  There are a lot of theories for this axiom, such as cats and dogs sleeping on thatched roofs and sliding off when it rained.  Yeah sure!  I know my cat wouldn’t be up there in the rain. She’d be right where she is at this very moment, in front of the fireplace.

Then there are the ones that allude to Norse mythology or translations of words, again, that doesn’t sound too plausible to me.

How about tornados?  They can scoop up animals in television movies and drop them elsewhere?  Don’t laugh, it’s probably happened although I am sure the animals will be a little worse for wear.  Fish and frogs have been documented as dropping from the sky, but I can’t for the life of me see how anyone would confuse a cat for a fish or dog for a frog!

Then there is the issue of bad sanitation in the old days that would cause the gutters to be full of dead animals.  While I don’t think anyone can say for sure, I am betting that this could be the answer. I am sure that there may have been a few cats and dogs, but probably rats and pigeons as well.  So maybe they should just alter this saying to read:

“Oh my goodness, it is raining cats, dogs, rats, mice, pigeons, possums…and… garbage!”

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Airport blues

Old San Antonio Church

I just got back from San Antonio, Texas last night after a grueling flight. We had to fly on an airline that I don’t usually fly on due to the fact that not many airlines go to San Antonio-- and I’m not naming names.  I will say this.  It makes no sense to me that we would have a three hour layover in Atlanta (huge, huge airport) and the connecting flight boards right next to the one we came in on, while the flight on the return trip had a 40 minute layover and the connecting flight was clear on the other side of the airport.  Did I mention how huge the airport in Atlanta was???

Ever see someone running in an airport?  Well, the reason is very clear to me right now.  Someone who is lining these things up has a wicked sense of humor.

Luckily we managed to make it but if the flight wasn't delayed, (Yup another airport benefit) well, I’d still be in San Antonio.

Anyway, the trip itself was a little hectic, but things will now get back to normal, I hope.  
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