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Peddling My Wares

Sunday evening I stayed up late making sure the house was clean and that the next night’s dinner was already cooking in the crock pot (I’ll share the simple, cheap delicious recipe below).  I was up pretty late, but the reward was worth it – when I got home on Monday, I got to put on my ratty pajamas and close myself into my craft room.  Adam came to visit a few times to look in on what I was doing, and he even hooked up one of our old TVs (that was still sitting in the floor of the guest room) and I watched “The Bounty Hunter” with Jennifer Anniston and Gerrard Butler.  (I think Gerard Butler is sexy as hell but he needs to stick to kicking Spartan ass… this movie was not all that great.)

Mr.Owl;8x10 acrylic on stretched canvas; $35

I really, really like the first piece I did last night.  Owls are über popular these days, and I thought I’d throw my hat into the ring of painting one.    As I was painting him, he was looking rather plain so I looked around my craft room to see what I could do to add something special.  Buttons were an obvious choice for the eyes, and thankfully I had two of the same in my large candy dish filled with leftover buttons.  Then I found the big box of quilt binding my grandmother gave me that I’ve never used.  I lined the owl with it, and I love the dimension it gives his ears, feathers and wings.  I had painted him legs, but didn’t like them when I outlining his tail feathers with the binding.  It took a while to paint over them, but then I realized I wanted Mr. Owl to have 3D legs.  Adam and I hemmed and hawed over using pipe cleaners (too kiddish), small-gage wire (too bare-looking), a piece of wheat straw (not malleable) and other things around the house.  When I sat back down at the table, I realized the answer had been there all along.  I took the same yellow binding and simply cut the flat fabric off to leave the rounded edge, then painted it orange.  I then poked holes in the canvas and just pushed the legs through and secured them with hot glue on the back. 

Miss Whale; 8x10; acrylic on stretched canvas; $25

I liked Mr. Owl so much that I popped in the second movie Nana let us borrow, “The Last Song,” (with Miley Cyrus) and sat down to do a second similar piece.  This time I chose a whale.  (BTW, yes I do like Miley Cyrus and have been known to watch Hannah Montana.  The movie was mediocre. I like her better when she’s not acting for adults, I suppose.)

I was really liking the way the whale was looking at first, with the slight gray shading.  I painted in the blue and then started outlining Miss Whale with white binding.  I feel like that took away from the way the blue looked against the shading.  I added the bow (a simple twist of rectangular fabric) and began thinking about the eyes.  One eye didn’t look right, but I don’t think that two eyes do either (especially buttons, with the thread it looks like she got knocked out…) And she’s supposed to be smiling more, which is why I added the rosy cheek at the last minute, to make her look more friendly. 

"Gossip"; 18"x24" acrylic on thin canvas; $55 - The colors in the pic are true, but they are much more blended than they look (esp between the white and yellow on the birds)

Then I decided if I was going to put these two up for sale, I may as well put some older stuff up for sale, too.  “Gossip” I painted while at our old house.  I love the tree, the way I tried to paint the wind, and portraying with birds the idea of neighbors standing by a fence to trade gossip.

I remember sitting outside with my huge easel my father made me painting this one.  The leaves started out extremely small, but I didn’t like the way the were looking so I changed them to be oversized.

"Spanish Villa"; 16x20; pastel on thin canvas; $40

“Spanish Villa” was one of my first attempts with a newfound artistic hand.  I had just begun attending the (now-defunct!) Artisan’s Guild of Griffin.  (Side note – someone needs to get this up and running again.  I am contemplating doing it myself but I am worried because I’ve got a lot of stuff being served up to my plate soon that I’m very excited about!)   I used oil pastels, which was really fun, but I remember it being very hard to get the pastels down into the weave of the canvas.  Using my thumb hurt very badly after a while so I used two methods: some places I gently rubbed an eraser over it and I also dipped a clean paintbrush into mineral spirits, which created a stroke effect. 

Let me know if something catches your eye.

New Diggs (for the Blog)

Cartoon by Phil Johnson. You can find this one and his weekly cartoon at http://tiny.cc/l1vkt.

RockPaperScissors has a new look!  A new layout called “Digg 3 Column” and a new header.  Do you dig the new Digg?

Maybe you noticed that it has a built-in RSS feed button in the header (I’ve been telling everyone about the RSS button and apparently, I wasn’t as behind the times as I thought I was by only discovering this a few weeks ago!), tweet button at the bottom of each post (which I’m assuming automatically re-tweets the link to my post from the clicker’s twitter account) and the new *eyebrow wiggle* “rate it” button.

I’m excited to see what happens with these small five stars.  Now I have so much more analytical information than just hits to the blog and where the hit came from.  Don’t worry about my feelings, just go ahead and be honest. (I’m pretty sure I won’t have any clue who rated the post, anyway…)

My five little (so far) empty stars make me wonder – how often do you click the “like” button on facebook? What motivates you to do so?

Picture This…

A cute little “Pardon Our Mess” sign hanging on the door of this blog.  I am sitting at the in-laws’ right now, and I should have known better than to go messin’ with the html code of my blog while I’m not on my own computer.  Bummer.  So you’ll have to put up with this generic picture until I can do something about it on Monday.

Good Friday

Bluebird CSA goodies

Today was such a good day! After almost finishing Newton Crouch Inc’s catalog, I swung by Liberty Technology to pick up my CSA share. It was so exciting to see what was in the box – I was like a kid at Christmas. Adam was pretty stoked about the amount of food we got for $15, too.
Our quarter share contained:
A baby watermelon
4 pears
4 peaches
5 tomatoes
6 squashes
2 ears of corn
Small bag of okra
1 lb of green beans
8 oz crowder peas (roughly and I’m guessing at the type of pea)
4 apples and
1 red bell pepper (I’m glad for only 1 because though I love them, Adam REFUSES to eat red or green peppers)
HOLY COW what a great deal!!

AND, not only do I have lots of local produce to cook and chow down on, I came home to a clean carport and kitchen! Turns out my husband Adam took the afternoon off and didn’t tell me! He came home and cleaned and left me a note to “take my shoes off and relax.” And you know what; with a big grin and a juicy peach in my hand, I think I’ll do just that.  Happy weekend, y’all!

I wrote this post yesterday using my WordPress application on my phone.  It wouldn’t go through, however, saying the server was timing out.  Stupid phone and stupid internet that we still don’t have… but thankfully it’s coming this Tuesday hopefully! 

PS – used a lot of the fresh produce already.  Adam devoured the fresh beans (Lima, by the way – I was wrong) and I mixed the squash with onion and sliced one of the tomatoes.  Adam doesn’t usually eat sliced tomatoes, but he ate half of that darn tomato!

The Fabric of My Life

 

  

Nana and me, wearing a dress she made

I wrote this post early last week and was waiting to post until I found a few pictures showing my grandmother’s creations.  I found a few, but unfortunately (or fortunately, if you’re me) I couldn’t find the embarrassing pictures of the middle school formal dances.  Guess you’ll just have to use your imagination.  I’m betting it couldn’t be worse than the real thing.

 I spent this past weekend unpacking and organizing my craft room/office.   Much of what I have in the way of sewing notions, fabric, and sewing machines was given to me by my grandmother.  The same grandmother in whose house we are now living.  My craft room had been her sewing room.

My grandmother stored the majority of her fabrics in big, clear bins.  When I began sewing, she gave me several of these bins.  I decided to use the shelving in my Nana’s old sewing room to store the fabrics and I wanted to organize them by color so I could tell with a glance what I had.  

Come to think of it, Nana made the dress I'm wearing in this picture, too.

As I unpacked each fabric, a different childhood memory unfolded.  A black, gold and red floral pattern (I use the term “floral” loosely here) brought to mind a garment Nana made my mother – bitchin’ shoulder pads and all.  

A  silky solid blue took me back to a middle school dance where I sported a floor-length evening gown and a wrap that I wore like a noose around my neck.  (This blue is a better memory than a cotton blend in a lighter blue, when I looked like I was trying to be Cinderella with braces and barrel curls…thank goodness none of that fabric is left…)

 

My brother and the pajamas he begged for, namely for the puffy ball on the hat

And though I was still in the craft room, a heavy, red plaid flannel took my mind to the living room of that same house almost 10 years ago, when we were having Christmas Eve at Nana and Paw-Paws.  My brother Tana had requested a pajama set and a matching pointed nightcap with a little puffy ball on the end.  

When I finished organizing the fabric of my life, I sat down to sew some curtains for the kitchen.  (The ones my grandmother had sewn in the early 90s were looking a little tired.)  As I pulled out my grandmother’s handed-down sewing machines, I realized I was now sewing in the same room where my grandmother had sewn all of those memorable outfits, on the same sewing machine and serger, using some of the same fabrics. 

I smiled a little smile and sewed the best curtains I’ve ever made.

PS – I pretty much failed my 10-day No-Spend Challenge.  The weekend proved too powerful and I ate out a few times and got so excited about the the Bluebird CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that I bought a quarter share.  Then proceeded to the grocery store and loaded up before the challenge was over.  But I did save $40 using my Ingles Advantage card and clipped coupons!  I think I had at least 10 coupons, and that was fun.  Overall the not spending money thing was a challenge to make sure what I was spending money on was really important.

Pennies Saved

What is it with being tempted to go out to eat at lunch?  I don’t get those same temptations at dinnertime.  My friend, Melanie, who lives in the Opera House lofts downtown, invited me to grab some Angelo’s (deeeee-licious) and come up at lunchtime to chat with her.  I almost caved and got a veggie pizza to go for the two of us. Instead I made homemade chicken salad last night with the leftover grilled chicken breast and added grapes and walnuts.   Saved $15.  (I also saved around $2.50 on little plastic baggies for sandwiches by simply taking the bread bag and keeping the chicken salad in the Tupperware container, which is better anyway because a ready-made sandwich can get soggy when you make it the night before…)

I did, however, buy something that wasn’t a necessity.  But I didn’t delude myself into thinking it was a necessity, either.  I purchased a magazine subscription to Mother Earth News, “the original guide to living wisely” (a tagline which doesn’t do itself justice – very cool, “do-it-yourself” guides to gardening, making furniture, raising chickens, homesteading, reducing carbon footprints, etc. etc.

BUT – before you think that I’ve ruined the challenge – the subscription was a mere $10 for a 6 issues.  These magazine are normally between $7 and $9 per issue off the rack.  By buying the subscription, I actually saved between $32-$44 on a magazine I usually buy anyway.  (If this doesn’t convince you that I didn’t cheat, maybe I can get myself out on a technicality – I bought online so I didn’t “swipe my card.” I’ll have to go back and re-read my resolution.  Was it that I wouldn’t spend money or I wouldn’t use my debit card? Hmmm….)

Cast your vote for whether I cheated in the comments section below.  You probably won’t hear from me again til Monday, though, since we STILL don’t have home internet.  (Which is saving us between $20-$40 this month, by the way….)

Piggyback Rides

Thanks to a few timely dinner and lunch invitations, I still haven’t swiped the debit card for any purchases other than gas two days ago.  I’ve paid a few bills of course, but the bank account has finally reached an even keel. 

Gross-looking Goulash...

Adam and I were due to have dinner with Matt and Sheri long before my resolution, so it was just great timing that last night was the night we finally got together!  “Pantry Goulash” dinner night was delayed for one more night, and I’m sure Adam is thankful for that.  Though I usually make it a point to bring something to a dinner party, I didn’t run out to the grocery store to make sure I brought something because Sheri insisted that she didn’t need anything (+10).

Then my in-laws invited us out for lunch at my most favorite restaurant, Spicy Thai.  I am such a regular in there and always get the same dish, so Shirley always calls me by name and just goes ahead and puts in my order when she sees me. Pad Thai chicken, three pepper spicy with vegetable soup.  YUM.  Parents picking up the check: +$20 (counting Adam’s and my lunch plus tip)

I also resisted the urge to have my new car washed today (+$5).  Instead of buying the next book on the list for the book club, I swung by the library to pick up a copy (+$20).

So, today I fed the pig: $55! 

Added to yesterday’s total, that means I have $60 more in my bank account than I would had I not challenged myself to not spend anything for 10 days.

Stay tuned!  The weekend may prove to be a tough challenge…