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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Anyone know what this is???

I'm going to lose my mind if I can't find out what this piece is called and, most importantly, where to find it!! TY in advance for any help you can give me!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Devil Wears FitBit

Let me start with the basics....

I'm sorry.

I'm REALLY late getting this Tea Party tickle out. But I have a great excuse. Really. One that ALL of you can understand and sympathize with.

Or, at least, that's what I'll tell myself.

You see, I'm one of the billions of people who take up weight loss trends the second they hit the market. never know, right? I've drunk vinegar, grapefruit juice, taken supplements that made either jitterbug all over creation or sent me straight to the...ah....'powder room'. But I haven't left one stone unturned in my search for weight loss that allows me to eat anything I want while continuing to live my slothful existence.

I KNOW it's out there, somewhere.

When the Fitbit hit the market, I liked it instantly. It was sort of like jewelry, but trendy and it seemed like EVERYONE was sporting the things.

So, on to Ebay, where I purchased a 'beginner' Fitbit (the ones that only have little lights that light up...the more little lights, the better I'm doing. Can't get easier than that) and I had it charged and on my wrist the second it arrived.

NOTE: Somehow, when I wasn't paying attention, I actually LOST the argument for a nifty Tory Burch Fitbit bracelet, that fits perfectly over your Fitbit and dresses it up. Personally, I don't consider 200 bucks a great deal of money when it comes to weight loss, but my argument was effectively squashed by the husband, who said "Lose down to your goal weight and I'll buy it for you." I HATE WHEN HE DOES THAT!!!

Next, I installed the app on my phone and I was ready to lose weight. I entered my personal information and went to the next screen, where THIS popped up:

"Hi there! Let's go ahead and set your goals! Let's start with your steps. We'll go ahead and enter the recommended daily steps for optimum fitness."

Then, the number 10,000 appeared.

I thought it was a digital error. Like it just threw on an extra zero or two, or something. I went to google to find the RIGHT number and was stunned to see that the number was, indeed, 10,000.

Ten thousand steps??? A DAY??? Who are YOU kidding, you little &*&*%^ piece of rubber filled with a 10 cent chip marked up to 89.99??? Don't think I won't track down the 8 year old Chinese kid who made this and educated him on the AMERICAN way of doing things.

Which is, AMERICANS do NOT expect to have to work THAT hard to lose weight. Period.

It took a bit to get over the initial shock, but I'm not anything if not stalwart...if only for a short time.

I woke up the next morning and made sure the Fitbit registered zero, then dragged myself out of bed to take the first of, what I hoped would be, 10,000 steps that day. For the record, just TYPING that last zero hurt.

After piddling around the house for an hour, I was at 100. This was disheartening, as I'd climbed the dang steps at LEAST 3 times, and marched in place while waiting for the cinnamon rolls to bake.

NOTE DOS: Cinnamon rolls should have NO effect on my weight with 10k steps coming down the pike, so don't judge.

It was about this time I realized that I would have to get out of the house if I hoped of even making HALF of that goal (which was forced upon me, mind you) so I headed for the barn.

When I arrived, I was told the barn manager was ill and several of us were needed to chip in and help. My job was to cull 3 horses from the herd in the field and bring them in for grooming. Naturally, the horses had decided to retire to the far end of the 30 acre pasture, but I gamely plodded along, thinking of each step bringing me closer to the goal. I'd brought 2 halters so that I could lead 2 and go back to bring the third. Unfortunately, this wasn't about to happen, as all 3 were mares who despised one another.

It took a solid HOUR to traverse that &%^%$ pasture to get those horses. Not to mention the extra time (and steps) it took to corner one recalcitrant mare. After explaining that good horses get to eat and bad ones become Purina Dog Chow, she reluctantly allowed me to halter her. She threw in a sharp nip for good measure, and we trudged back to the barn.

I intentionally didn't look at the Fitbit. I thought I'd read where the Fitbit would vibrate when you hit 10k steps, so I was on edge with every step, just waiting for that little chip to start vibrating 'Freedom'.

The day was passing quickly. I helped muck stalls, feed, then finally got my own horse tacked up for a short ride. By this time, I was getting strange looks because I was trying to double step, which looked like some awkward shuffle. But I didn't care...all I was waiting for was that stupid Fitbit to tell me I'd made it.

I stopped to pick up one kid on the way home and stopped at the grocery store for dinner. I also ran into Target for paper supplies, then got home in time to cook dinner and pick up the house. I helped the boys get their things ready for school the next morning, then showered and stumbled into the TV room where my husband (wisely) said nothing and didn't make eye contact. The ringing of my cell phone made me groan. I walked into the bedroom to grab it, when all of a sudden, I felt a buzzing on my wrist. Picking up my phone and going straight to the app, it said "Hooray! You met your goal of 10k steps! Now, get some sleep! You've got to do it all again tomorrow!"

I have to say that I'm really NOT disappointed by my Fitbit experience. In fact, I'm STILL using it and STILL making those 10k steps a day! In fact, now, I'm doing it in half the time! Granted, I made one, tiny adjustment, but I can't describe how it feels to see that step count soar!

Not to mention that the black wristband blends perfectly with the black leg of my mare's right, front foreleg.  

Saturday, October 3, 2015

IO Stamps Fall Florals

Ok...let's start with the important stuff. 

Impression Obsession is hosting their new challenge called "Fall Florals", here.

I LOVE entering their challenges, not only due to the $25 prize they give away every 2 weeks (although I'd have to win every time for 4 years to buy everything I want from IO!) but because it makes me use stamps and dies I purchased that I haven't had a chance to use.

This stamp is called Spring Barn. (link at the end) but I didn't remember the name when I saw it. You see, sunflowers are a fall flower here in the South. I don't think I've EVER seen them in the spring!!! It was only after I was getting ready to write this post that I tracked the stamp down to link it and saw the name. Needless to say, my OCD became a manic mess.

OCD: "Look!!! It says Spring Barn! Spring is the antithesis of Fall! You can't possibly enter this!!!"
ME: "Look. Sunflowers are a fall flower here. I can most certainly enter with this stamp.
OCD: "Okay, fine. But how are you going to explain the butterfly, genius??"
ME: (faltering) "Well, I still see some butterflies here and there! And I DID try to use a diecut pumpkin to put OVER the butterfly, but it looked ridiculous!"
OCD: "Ridiculous, as in using a stamp called Spring Barn in a challenge called Fall Florals?"
ME: (getting ready to go fetal in the corner) "Okay. Let me put it like this. This is the ONLY stamp I have with sunflowers. And sunflowers are fall. And since this is MY world, I'll have a dang blue butterfly in a FALL scene if I want to! Besides, I didn't notice the butterfly until I'd spent hours fussy cutting, coloring with Copics and arranging everything at different levels with varying numbers of mounting tape pieces on the back. It was too late. Be darned if I was going to chuck it at that point. Especially since I'd used my new extra fine Flower Soft for the middle of the petals!!! Now, LEAVE ME ALONE or I swear I will medicate you out of existence."
OCD: (nervously) "Ok! Hey! No need to get ugly! Just a suggestion! It's fine...really. No offense intended!  I'll just take some time off. I won't even make you get out of bed to double check the alarm and arrange the cheese alphabetically, by type, in the fridge this week! I mean, I know we're overdue for that, but we'll get to it later. Okay??"

So, at the end of the day, here is my entry. I stamped it twice, cut out the flowers and leaves and butterfly, colored everything with Copics and reassembled on the second stamped image. I LOVE doing collage cards!

Come join the fun at Impression Obsession! Unless your creation is better than mine. Then you can go find your own challenge.

Heh heh.

Monday, September 28, 2015

IO Stamps Happy Haunting!

About a week ago, I sat down in the craft room and just stared at all the c**p on (and around) my work desk. Beads, brass, glue, clay sculpting tools, scissors and a Mexican Fire Opal. 

Yeah...I know....I don't know how the devil it got there either. 

Suddenly, I felt the it a make a card. Specifically, to do some sponging and make a card. 

There were two reasons for this: The first was that I was a little burnt out on jewelry, beading, etc. The second is that I MISSED ink. I missed the exact thing that I swore months ago was the reason I left cards and went to 3D art then beading...that reason was the limitation of paper and ink. That's right...I MISSED having to work harder with fewer materials and with significant imagination. Both of which apply in cardmaking. 

Believe it or not, it's easier for me to create an impressive looking 3D creation or bit of jewelry than it is to sit down and make a card like this. 

Because there's a finite amount of material, you have to really tap into your creativity and make everything count. That's why I have the utmost respect for you full time card creators...ESPECIALLY you clean and simple people. I mean are pretty amazing people. 

One of my fave companies is Impression Obsession. So, I decided to enter their challenge (you have til the 29th to enter!!!) called "Happy Haunting" Using a 2.5 inch punch, I punched a circle from a sheet of masking paper. I placed it off center on a 3.5 x 3.5 panel of white PTI cardstock. I sponged the panel in soft sky, then used Pacific Point about 2/3 of the way down, then night of navy for the top. I randomly sponged black at the bottom and along the sides and upper corners. Laying the masking paper over the moon (effectively masking everything but the moon) I sponged yellow, red, rust and orange for the Harvest moon. 

Using IO Bare Tree Die and glue dots, I added the tree silhouette and just cut the trunk off. A square orange panel and mounting tape finished the scene and after tying a sparkly orange ribbon, I used a ghost from IO's Halloween Die set and cut one in copper. Heating the copper to oranges, reds and pinks (which, of course, doesn't show to full advantage in the photo) I glued it to the ribbon to finish it off. 

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed getting back to basics. Does that mean no more gigantic creations? HAH! Never. But, for now, I'm having fun getting my hands dirty again! And that's just enough for now :)

Impression Obsession Halloween Die Set DIE114-O
Impression Obsession Bare Tree Die DIE006-V

Monday, August 3, 2015

Flights of Fancy, Saying Thank You and Hellfire. The BEST of my Non-Sequitur's to Date.

Okay...let's start at the beginning.

Not at the 'beginning' beginning...I wouldn't have enough time just to cover all the time-outs and paddling (yes...PADDLING) during my elementary school years, much less work my way up to my current age! 

Which is 30.

And holding. 

And holding. 

And...well, you get my drift.

Let's just start at the beginning of this past Spring. Which just happened to coincide with a huge decrease in whatever it is I do here on this blog. Face it...we all have a name for it, but I won't put you on the spot.

Anyhoo....this past April.

What is the FIRST thing you'd think to do if unemployed (with no jobs in sight) and a propensity for impulsive action and disregard of current job and financial state?

That's right!!! You'd buy a horse.

Which I did. A beautiful, quarter-horse mare named Coco, whom I adore. Even after she's chomped on me a time or two and stomped on me. Yes, she's a little on the high-maintenance side, but she's a love and she makes me get out of the house on a daily basis. Which is what the doctors say to do. Even thought they MIGHT not have specifically recommended that I buy a horse, that's the way I heard it.

So, knowing that I cannot possible do two things at once (no adhd med is THAT good), I've been playing around with the horse since April. Now that it's hot enough to convert even the most heinous of sinners (seriously...the threat of hellfire is scary after suffering through the nastiness of an NC summer...THIS summer, in particular) I find myself back in the relative cool of the ol' craft room. 

I'm sure I've mentioned my 'brass source' before...his auctions can be found HERE 

I've been buying for quite awhile. I started with buying assorted charms by the pound and worked up to having to buy a large toolbox to keep all the brass I've bought. Because now, my new love is assemblage art and, next, actual wearable assemblage art jewelry. 

Chatelaines have been an attraction for awhile. And to thank my 'dealer' for his generosity (every time I order, he includes extras he thinks I'll like), I decided to make him and his wife a piece of shadowbox art. 

I love making reproductions of Art Nouveau and French pieces. For my patrons (I use that word in it's original sense...but it's also because their last name is 'Friend'. So it sounds weird to say 'To my friends, the Friend's.' So, 'patrons' it is.) I found this chatelaine, recreated it and mounted in a shadowbox for them. Since they are artists in their own right (painters) they assured me they loved it. Which delighted me and re energized me to get back to the table and create. Here's the piece I found that I wanted to recreate:

It's described as a Antique Austro-Hungarian Figural Jeweled Gemstone Chatelaine Bird Putti Cherubs

And here is mine...

Needless to say, I had a BLAST making this. Especially for the people who have been so incredibly generous and supportive.

My next project is to make actual wearable art recreations. I'm working on a piece now that may actually put my soul in jeopardy, regardless of the heat this summer. Perhaps it's due to the fact I have never learned how to make jewelry, and E6000 can only help out so much. Framing is easy...THIS is driving me nuts. But if ANYONE can make it work, you know that yours truly is the one to do it. 

Even if I HAVE to use an entire tube of E6000 to do it.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Owl Be There for Yew.....


I would like to present my latest attempt at...well...whatever it is you'd call what I've been doing. Which is copying vintage and antique pieces of jewelry. Mostly because it's as close as I will EVER get to seeing any of these pieces in person...much less having a chance to own one of the dang things.

This gorgeous piece is currently held at the Walters Art Museum.

It's described as follows: 19th Century Owl Pendant. This pendant was formerly thought to be from the 16th century because of its late Renaissance-style enameled gold strapwork, baroque pearls, and the square-cut gems in box settings.

Now, before I share my creation with you, I'll give you a peek into my creative process. I know, I is DEFINITELY your lucky day. 

Many of you ask just how it is that I choose which pieces to emulate. Is there a specific period I love? Favorite gemstone or metal? Shape? Amount of lust it inspires in me? didn't ask that last part? Ahem. Sorry. I misheard you, apparently. 

The answer is 'none of the above'. 

You see, I'm a pinterest fan. I find myself pinning vast numbers of jewelry that I love. Every once in awhile, a piece with jump out at me. I'd like to say that this is some type of instinct or just plain artistic inspiration! But, the truth is, that I happen to see the main structure is similar to some brass junk in my stash. 

I had purchased 2 lots of vintage, broken rhinestone jewelry. Using Liquid Frisket (or you can use rubber cement) I took a chain with stars in it and put the mask over the stones and spray painted the rest gold. I'd found the owl piece at Hobby Lobby. It's actually a magnetic clasp and was originally silver. Everything else was just pieced together using basic matching shapes. Finally, I used black velvet paper with a bit of bright, gold brushed paper peeking out, and matted it in a shadowbox. Where is was promptly abducted by my mother, and taken to Georgia to reside with the Teterger Chaterlaine from an earlier post.

The reflection on the glass is killing me. You'd think I would've had enough sense to pop it out the back and get a really good picture. But that would've required me to use common sense that I was apparently denied at birth.
Oh well.

Thanks for stopping by...I'm slowly sanding my rusty writing skills as I type...more on the way!

On Outlander and Equines and ADHD

Let me begin by saying that I have absolutely NO idea where the past 90 days went. I mean, I do...much like Claire in, what is one of my new passions-the show 'Outlander'...but when I stepped through the stones in April, I forgot the world here. So, coming back, I'm thinking DANG! I know I've been busier than a one-armed paper hanger, but it seems time stopped in this area of my life!!! 

NOTE: For the record, if the side I'm just returning from had anyone resembling Sam Heughen (Jaime), who was hot for me and my body, I can assure you that you would've NEVER seen me again. EVER. That is all.

It seems like only yesterday I finished my stint in the SCS Dirty Dozen and then had my dreams crushed by Graphic 45, as I was roundly rejected for their design team. 

Okay, okay...that's a little over the top. 

It was actually a good thing. I needed a break. I really did. So, I took one and took up an old passion that I hadn't participated in since High School! 

NOTE  DOS: Said 'passion' was NOT my first High School bf, Tim. Last I heard, he was playing in some rock band by the name of Witches Offspring or some ridiculous name like that. located in the big city of Graham, NC,  Sorry, but after 50, you may 'rock' all you like, but be careful about the 'roll'...especially when the word takes on the meaning of what I'm doing as I'm laughing so hard I fall to the floor. 

Nope, this passion wasn't a person. 

Think a second...what activity makes the most sense when you're 47, unemployed, and have all sorts of back and hand issues?

That's right!


More specifically, owning and training them.

I grew up with horses. My great-grandpa-Pa Marley-was a horse lover. He was a farmer and owned draft horses to help him plow the fields. He was also a superb horseman. 

From there, it passed down to my Aunt Sharon and on to me. I spent a lot of time in the saddle until my late teens, when I got a job in radio and spent 25 years dealing with another type of animal. Needless to say, I prefer the former.

Growing up on horses, especially when you're a bit of a daredevil, means that you probably spend a good deal of time learning how to fall. And heal. And how miserable it feels to have an itch under your miserable that you break down and finally use a coat hanger to scratch and then you're terrified that you've messed the bone set up (they warn you that can happen) and then you figure 'well, harm's already done' and then you spend the rest of the time scratching those itches and being a happier person and, at the end of it, you find doctor's don't always know everything. 

Ooops. Sorry. No need to wonder about the efficacy of my ADHD meds.

Horses gave me joy. Along with a shattered elbow, fractured ankle, sowed the seeds for (I believe) the arthritis I have in my back, as well as my Dercum's Syndrome. Despite all this, I never fell out of love with them. 

So, in April, it chanced to happen that my Aunt and her friend, Jana, both had horses they wanted someone to work with. So, I began ground training both. Ground training is much easier than riding. If you can avoid being kicked, bitten or killed, you're doing well. Knock on wood, I only had to deal with the first 2. One of the horses I worked with, Coco (who belonged to Jana) is a gorgeous, bay, quarter horse mare. It took about 2 weeks for us to fall in love with each other, and a month for me to buy her. She was green (untrained-not the color-work with me, people!) and I was a green trainer. But within a month, I had her free lunging in the round pen (I'm sorry for using jargon and not defining it but it's pretty much what it sounds like and then there's google) at a walk, trot and lope. I also taught her to pivot on front and back legs, to back clear across the ring, and to execute a side pass. Then came the day I climbed into the saddle and had her execute all of the above, which she did, beautifully.

I can't ride much. Maybe 5-10 minutes every couple of days, and only at a walk or a few seconds at a trot. Fortunately, there are hordes of young girls  (who will bounce if they fall off-unlike me) who are willing to ride her as I continue to work with her, so I feel I've got the best of both worlds. Here are a couple of ground work videos from 3-4 weeks ago.



So, while I'm still playing with my horse, I've come to realize that I miss my crafting, too! Therefore, I'm going to try something that is quite rare for's called 'multi-tasking'.  Being ADHD, it's quite the foreign word. 

Happy Fourth!