Tuesday, June 25, 2013


I admit to having a few weaknesses and one of them is pretty fabrics. When I go into a fabric store I become dizzy and light headed and all of my will power and good intentions fly out the door. All I can think about is what I would do with all of those beautiful bolts of fabric. I have a terrible time selecting which ones will be coming home with me and always end up buying more than I should.
Here are just a few of the ones that I have purchased in the last few weeks.

Can you guess what the ones in the above photo have in common besides being lovely?


I'll be working with these two fabrics over the next few days.

I promise to show you what I’ve been doing with them soon but right now that will have to remain a secret.

Have a great day and as always, thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


June 23rd is an important date for me. I have several major anniversaries connected to this date. Twenty-0ne years ago today I made the first of a series of major changes in my life by leaving the place I’d called home for so many years and moving to Vancouver Washington. My first husband and the father of my children lived there and we had decided to see if we could rekindle what we once had. One terribly long year later after deciding that rekindling was impossible and I moved again but not half way across the country this time, just across the river. 
So, June 23rd is my twenty year anniversary of my living in this area. I still think of this place as a temporary home town for me even though I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else. Up until twenty years ago I had been a nomad, a wanderer and had lived in many places. Seventeen places, give or take, so settling down was one of those major changes that I mentioned. 
As important as the two anniversaries above are.....
The main reason June 23rd is so important is because it is my granddaughter Ariel’s birthday. Twenty two years ago today this beautiful person came into our lives. Ariel is the youngest of my grandchildren and the only girl. She is also beautiful and smart and funny and oh so many wonderful things.

Note the Mona Lisa smile...and she has her Gran's cheek bones

Right now Ariel is attending medical school and when she graduates she is going to be a brilliant doctor! I’m absolutely sure of that! How could she not be?? I know that every grandmother thinks her grand kids are beautiful and smart. We Grans all do our share of bragging and if you think that I’m being a proud granny here, you are right about that.
Because she lives and attends school in another state I don’t get to see my funny little Ari-berry as often as I would like and because of her schedule we don’t get to spend a lot of time on the phone chatting either. Even with her busy schedule she’s the one who makes sure we get together. She flew up for Mother’s day to surprise her mother and me and that is when these photos were taken.

YO Grams, Whaz-up???

Ariel & her uncle Ken

Even now that she's all grown up, she is still a character and a bit of a nut and she will always be my little Ari-berry and I could not be prouder of her.
I know I haven't been around much lately and there is a good reason for that and I'll tell you all about it at a later time but for now I'll wish you a wonderful day and as always, thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


There are times when I really like my yard and this is why

The weather this year is so different than what we had at this time last year. Here it is one week into May and the temperatures have been like summer and the shrubs and plants in my garden and yard are a lovely sight. Greenery and blossoms everywhere and I have the allergies to prove it.

It looks like the strawberries are starting to get flowers too. This is only one of the raised garden beds where they are planted.
I bought myself a little green house a few months ago so I could get an early start on my garden and with the weather we’ve been having it seems like it isn’t that necessary but the seedlings that I’ve started will survive if the temperatures do drop. Am I the only one that has that kind of luck? I debate about whether or not to do something and when I finally make the decision to do it whatever it is it hardly seems worth the effort.

These buds will probably be open and in full bloom tomorrow. They are some of my favorites.  The color is soft and the blossoms have a lovely shape.

There is still a lot of work to be done to get to the point where I can sit back and enjoy but sometimes the work is the best part. Maybe not so much the physical work but the planning part and the shopping part. Don't you just love shopping for plants and shrubs and new cushions for the patio furniture? I know I do.

On one of the blog sites I visit a dear friend named Mona has posted photos of her fairy garden and after seeing it I've been wanting to plant one too. That's the planning part that I was talking about that is so much fun.  

Like I said, the weather is beautiful and I’m heading outside to enjoy it.
Have a great day and as always, thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Big As Life

During the week before Easter when my friend sent me the box of baby clothes I thought I would be altering them to fit my bears and dolls. I never thought about making bears or dolls to fit the clothes. Among the things she sent is a darling hooded sweater that would be ruined if I tried to cut it down. At first I thought it would fit the doll that was my mother’s when she was a child but it isn’t a good fit so I set it aside and altered two of the dresses making four little dresses for the bears that I showed you in my previous post.
Shortly after finishing the quilt for the little cradle and the little pillows and pillow cases and the mattress pad I was left with nothing to sew. That wouldn’t do because I am trying to justify buying the new sewing machine. I thought and thought about what I could sew and nothing came to mind at first and then I remembered the sweater and that’s when I decided to make a pattern for a larger doll so the little sweater could be put to use.
Most of the dolls I make are 12 inches or smaller so I had to start from scratch with the pattern. The doll I made for the sweater is 30 inches tall. She’s a big girl and I’ve named her Mara after a character is a story my friend Linda wrote. The character in her story was named Splendora Maravilla. Those of you who have been paying attention know that I never make just one of anything so Mara has a little sister named Dora who stands 24 inches tall.

Mara is on the left wearing gray and yellow and Dora standing is wearing gray and purple. The dolls they are holding were made by my sister Maggie.

It looks like they've helped themselves to the candy jar.

Both dolls are sculpted from cotton fabric that I’ve dyed to resemble flesh. Their needle sculpted faces have been colored with a combination of oil pastels and water color pencils.

These are the largest dolls I’ve made and I don’t have plans to making any larger than these two unless I move into a house where they can have their own room. As it is I’m pretty sure I’m going to be buying them a little table and chair set and you know how one thing leads to another…

Close-up so you can see the appliques on thier tops and get a closer look at their sweet little faces. 

Here's Mara wearing that cute little sweater I told you about.

I did spend the day yesterday making underwear to match their little outfits and Sunday I went shopping for socks and shoes for the two of them. I love Mara’s fancy Oshkosh shoes. I also like the looks of the eyelet trim on her pants.

We have been getting more sunny days even though night time temperatures are still in the thirties which is a good sign that spring has sprung.
Have a great day and as always, thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Yes, as the title of this post implies, I took the plunge. It was something I had thought of doing for quite some time now but I wasn’t sure I’d do it. I thought about it and then I researched it and then I thought about it some more and then I just threw caution to the wind and went for it.
Perhaps I should start at the beginning.
Over the past few months I’ve been spending quite a bit of time online looking at sewing machines. The one I have been using I’ve had for nearly 40 years and it has been having some serious issues. I didn’t want to part with it as it’s been a good machine and we’ve spent many hours together. It has features that I’ve never seen on any other machine and I like those features. Because I wasn’t finding anything out there with all of the features I wanted I decided that I’d get the old machine repaired. I found a sewing center in my area that does repairs and when I visited them to see if they could fix what is wrong with my machine the woman helping me made a few calls and discovered they could order the parts my machine needed.  Yippee!!
Of course while I was waiting for her to see if they could order the parts I looked around and I found several of the machines I’d been researching online. Even though you’re pretty sure you know all about a machine because you know all of its features and have seen photos of it, seeing the machine sitting there in front of you is so much better. So, now what did I want to do? I’d order the parts and fix my trusty old machine. That’s the only sensible thing to do, right? So, that’s what I did and then I went home and the next couple of days while I waited for the parts to come in I thought about this one machine that I’d seen in the store and online and I knew I had to have it.
Now this is where the PLUNGE comes in. Not only did I get the parts for the old machine I went ahead and bought the Janome that I knew I had to have.
Here’s my new baby…….

I just finished sewing this.....

First time I did any machine quilting. Nothing fancy, just in the ditch but hey, it was my first time.

I made the quilt for this....

It still needs a mattress and a pillow or two. I picked up this darling little cradle at a thrift store last month which of course led to the need for the small quilt.
The week leading up to Easter a dear blogging friend sent me some baby clothes that she thought I might be able to use for the bears. Even though they were for new borns they were a bit large for my little ones but with some alterations I was able to take two of the dresses and turn them into four bear sized dresses.
Here are Bellamine and Wendy modeling their new dresses with the matching hair bows. I was able to keep the smocking and the style is much the same as the original dress.

And here are Clarissa and Beebe wearing their new dresses. Beebe told me that it was about time she appeared on a post.

Now that I have the new machine maybe I can get some clothes made for Olive and Lavanda who have nothing of their own to wear, just the borrowed jammies.
We’ve been having some strange weather so I think spring must have finally arrived. It’s still cold, windy and rainy but the sun has been peeking out from time to time. The cherry trees had blossoms that have been either blown away by the wind or washed away by the rain and the trees now have leaves so yes, I think spring has arrived.
Until next time, enjoy your day and as always thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Today is the day that Mom said she would draw a winner for the little book that she made for the Altered Oz blog party. She said that since there have been people asking about our where about she would let us be the ones who will do the drawing and announce the winner. We had already planned on doing a post this week and Friday is the day we normally do our posts but because that was the day of the party we decided to let Mom have that day and we would take St. Patrick’s Day instead because that is what our post is about anyway.
So first thing this morning we sat down with our computer to put together our post. When we log on we usually check our email first thing and waiting for Bellamine was an email from Ms. Brenda Black Bear from Camp Good Bear saying they would like Bellamine to become their newest Bearcelor for the Arts & Crafts Program this summer. We were so surprised and Bellamine was jumping up and down and shouting and then Mom came in and wanted to know what was going on and when we told her she was just as excited. We’ll get a formal letter later and we’ll let you know more then.
Now back to our post.
As you all know, we have been decorating our little tree for each season and holiday.

We make most of the decorations that we decorate our tree with  but on our St. Patrick's Day tree we only painted the gold coins. Notice Sampson and Bellamine are wearing their green. Bellamine is really insistant that we all wear green today. It's something she heard about from the O'Dell kids.
We also help our mom doing other things like baking cookies and stuff. One of our favorite cookies to bake is cut out sugar cookies because we have a very nice collection of cookie cutters. What better dessert for today’s Irish Corned beef and cabbage dinner than Shamrock cookies?

Now to that thing we told our mom we would do for her. This is what she is giving away.

We wrote the names of the people who said they would like to have the little book that Mom made on slips of paper and put them into the Leprechauns pot and had our little brother Sampson reach in and pick one and the one he picked was number 17 which is Miss April. Mom is going to need an address to send your book so get in touch with her.
Remember, if you’re not wearing green someone just might pinch you.
OUCH!!! Stop doing that Bellamine. I told you there are green leaves on the flowers.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day
Bellamine & Wendy

Friday, March 15, 2013


The long anticipated day is finally upon us.
Thank you for joining with me for this Altered Oz celebration. The opportunity to come together in celebrating one of my favorite places fictional though it may be is an opportunity I could not resist. If you were here with me for the last Oz party you know I’m serious when I say I love anything and everything Oz so when my dear friend Oma Linda mentioned the Altered Oz party I was one of the first to say, “Count me in.”
Getting to this party wasn’t an easy journey for me and just so you can see how difficult it was I’m going to share with you how I ended up here today. The following is a true story and the real version of what happened.
It all started with that post on Oma Linda’s blog announcing the celebration. I didn’t let a little thing like the fact that I don’t do altered art and have no idea what it really is deter me. Nope, that’s just not my style. I was confident that I could figure it out and put something together. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve always been a bit cocky and perhaps over confident.
I know that there are probably established rules and guide lines that are well known and understood by just about everyone in the known universe except for yours truly. That doesn’t bother me too much because I’m pretty sure there are a few things I know about and understand that you don’t. Besides, I’ve always been good at following instructions and I figured I’d just Google Altered and find everything I would need.
By reading up on the subject I gathered that quite often an object is given a new purpose or look by adding other elements to it to create something else entirely. That is all well and good if you know what that means but it isn’t something I easily understand and I haven’t the foggiest notion of what to do with this little bit of knowledge. It didn’t help reading more on the subject or looking at images of altered art that others had created. I just don’t get it. Okay, okay I’m not quite as smart as I thought.
You’d think that with all of the images of Altered Art that I’ve seen on the blogs I’ve visited I would learn something but no, those images don’t help me either. I have no idea how you decide what to do or how you go about doing it. I must have missed something crucial in the articles I read. I’ll have to accept that I’m simply clueless at times and this is one of those times.
I’m admitting my ignorance and am telling you that I am aware that this isn’t altered art in its true form but it is to me how Oz would appear in an altered universe. Yes, I believe in alternate and parallel universes.
I have put together six scenes in which Dorothy and Toto or Dorothy alone may appear if we were able to see into these altered worlds. The scenes were all done with watercolor pencils on a mixed media paper. I then planned on putting these drawings together in book form or some sort of journal.
I am truly in awe of those of you who put together journals and make little books with pages because it’s a whole lot harder than one who has never done such a thing can even imagine. At least it was for me. I should have started with a ready-made book or journal but that is hindsight. 
At first I thought I knew what I was doing but hadn’t gotten far into the project before I realized I had no idea what I was doing. My project was suddenly dead in the water and I had no idea of how to save it. I thought I’d have to come up with something else but when I tried to think of something else I discovered that my mind had been wiped clean of anything and everything.
There was nothing! Just a big fat zero! All I had was a vast empty space without thought or reason or a single solitary idea. This empty space where once there had been all of these ideas jumbled together just waiting to be let out. I must have come into contact with a large industrial sized magnet that wiped out any creativity or ideas that I once had. I don’t recall doing so but what other explanation do I have? I’d have to stick with my one and only idea for my part in this celebration or admit defeat which is something I’m loath to do.
I’m one of those people who know that if you ignore something it will go away. I also know that if something is causing you a problem instead of getting frustrated trying to fix it if you put it off to the side more than likely a solution or remedy will present itself or you’ll merely forget there ever was a problem. Some people call this avoidance but I am not one of those people. It’s a practice that has always worked well for me. So that is what I did and I wasn’t even a wee bit surprised when an idea just POPPED into that empty space. Things started coming together. I was going to have something to show after all and hopefully you wouldn’t be too disappointed with my offering.
So here is what I ended up with:

and everything fits inside of this.

If you would like to be the one who gets to see firsthand what this journal really looks like leave me a comment saying so.  I plan on letting one of you take this little bit of silliness off my hands. I will choose and announce the winner on Sunday March 17th.
To see what everyone else who has entered into the merriment has to offer go over to my dear friend Oma Linda’s blog, Olde Baggs ‘n Stuft Shirts for a list of all of the participants by clicking here or clicking on the Altered Oz button on my side bar..
Thank you for taking the time to visit and for joining me in celebrating Oz. Just your being here makes it all worth while.

“Now what do you suppose that was all about?”
”There’s no telling with that one. She’s a bit off if you ask me. That drawing of me wearing Dorothy's dress is making my skin itch.”

Monday, March 11, 2013


Only four more sleeps and a wake up and the Altered Oz celebration will be in full swing! I'm getting myself geared up to party hard. I can't wait to see what everyone has been up to and what they have put together but I guess we'll just have to wait a few more days.

Here's a sneak peek of what I've prepared.

See you all this coming Friday. Don't forget to set your alarm clock because you won't want to be late.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


When I visited Laughing Dog Arts blog the other day I was not surprised to discover that Jan had been given "The Liebster Award" but what did surprise me was she had put my blog on her list of blogs that she was paying it forward to. Thanks Jan. Although I wasn't sure about accepting or doing anything about the award at first, I gave it more thought and decided that I too would pay it forward.

This award was designed in the pay it forward fashion. Once you've been nominated, you award it to blogs that you like that have fewer than 200 followers, to encourage new visitors to visit these blogs.

Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to their blog. Post the award onto your blog. Give the award to bloggers who you appreciate that have fewer than 200 followers. Leave a comment on their blog letting them know that you have given them this award!

I would like to pass the award on to the following blogs in hopes that you visit them and find them as enjoyable as I do.
1.   Chip Butter White Oak is just one of Mary’s blog sites. On this blog she posts the most beautiful photos of the area near where she lives. Once you visit this sight I know you will want to return often. She is an amazing photographer.
2.   Crystal Clear is one of the blogs that I’ve followed for a long time and I have thoroughly enjoyed every visit. Crystal is a wonderfully talented artist who is also a warm and generous woman. She has another blog where she presents tutorials that are mostly geared towards the youngster in all of us. Kids love to join in too.
3.   Ireland Brady showcases the art of one of the most talented ACEO artists. Karen Anne’s work is intricate and beautifully done with so much detail it’s hard to believe someone could put so much in such a small area. I am lucky to have some of her ACEOs and believe me even though the photos of her work are good the real thing is much better.
4.   L.L.A Creations where Lisa shows her wood carvings is a place of magic and fun. Her whimsical characters never fail to bring a smile. Of course I love her Santa Claus figures best. She can take any piece of wood and turn it into something that I guarantee you will find amazing and a whole lot of fun.
5.   Magician of Oz is a blog that is fairly new to me but what I’ve seen so far it is worth passing along. If you’re like me and a lover of all things Oz then this is the blog you won’t want to miss. James actually is a magician and a writer who has written at least three Oz books that I know of.
6.   Orchid’s Daily Voice gives us glimpses into the daily life of a lovely Japanese woman who shares the traditions of her native country through stories and photos and interesting articles of events. I’ve learned so many things about Miyako and her world and she has become a very dear friend. I know that you will enjoy any time that you spend visiting with her.
7.   The Bear’s Blog with Prudence Clearwater and her mom Joyce is one of those places where you go to have a good time. Being a person who appreciates bears more than a little I was drawn in. Prudence is a lovely bear who has an interesting perspective and Joyce is a very talented maker of bears and other adorable critters.  Visit this site only if you want to have fun.
This is only a small portion of the blogs that I visit and enjoy so if yours is not on this list it's only because I had to keep the number of blogs on the list manageable.
Once again I would like to thank Jan for making my blog one of those that she payed forward. If yours is on my pay it forward list and wish to decline I'll understand.  
Hope you’re enjoying your weekend and as always, thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I like colored pencils and it seems I need to have lots and lots of them in my possession for me to feel I have enough of them. Because I had never counted them and had no idea of how many there were in that box where I keep them I was content.  I knew there were a lot of pencils and all was fine in my little corner of the world and life was good.
I have soft leaded pencils that go on smoothly and blend with one another beautifully. I have pencils with harder lead that play nicely with one another and I now have a fair number of water color pencils that I can use with or without water with great results either way.
I have pencils that were very inexpensive and pencils that I bought one at a time because they were that expensive. Some of my pencils have been with me for a very long time and some were purchased only recently. The ones I like best are my Faber Castell Design Spectracolor pencils. They go on so smoothly and shading and blending with these pencils makes working with them a pleasure. Those may be my favorites but I like all of my other pencils too.
One day last week I decided to make color charts of my pencils. This is the type of project that a person does when she is bored or is having a problem with a project and needs to take a break and do something that doesn’t require any brain work so an idea for solving said problem might formulate in those little gray cells.
Anyway, back to the pencils and the color charts. Once the charts were filled in I went a step further and for some reason I cannot explain I counted the pencils. Big mistake!!
I shouldn’t have done that because once counted they had a number and now I have to decide if I really need that set of 72 pencils that I have been thinking about buying. How do you know if what you have is enough? Right now I have 254 colored pencils. Is that enough? Maybe there are colors out there that I could really use and if I had them perhaps my drawings would look so much better than they do now. Perhaps I’ll find some pencils that I like even better than my beloved Faber Castell Design Spectracolor pencils. 254 pencils don’t sound like all that many pencils now, does it?  Have I been deluding myself into thinking I have a lot of pencils? I’ll bet everyone else who works in colored pencil has twice that many. I really do need to buy that set of 72 pencils.....don’t I?
When the color charts and the counting was finished and I still hadn’t come up with a solution to the problem with the other thing I was working on I devised another way to waste spend my time. I decided to do a drawing using only one type of colored pencil for the whole drawing rather than mixing different types together the way I usually do. I decided that I’d do this with each type of pencils. That should keep my mind of the weather and give it time to work out that solution to the aforementioned problem with the project that is at a dead end and needs to be completed for a very important event that is coming up on the 15th of this month.
So……………………. here’s the first drawing. I had to take photos because the scanner doesn’t work well with the drawings still in the tablet. It might help if you click on the photos to enlarge them. Then again it may be no help at all.

I used my Martha Stewart colored pencils for this one and it’s the first time I’ve used these pencils. I really enjoyed working with these pencils and can see myself using them often. I love the names of some of the colors. Leave it to Martha to come up with a color called rhubarb. The photo does not do justice to the colors.

For this one I used my Prismacolor or Eagle Verithins. The paper I’m working on is a vellum surface mixed media paper and not the paper I would normally use when working with these pencils but the results are okay if not spectacular. Again I must apologise for the photography and  tell you that the colors are not this washed out on the actual drawing.

 This last one was done using my favorite Faber Castell Design Spectracolor pencils. The one problem I see with using them alone is they have a softer lead that does not come to a fine point when sharpened so fine line detail is a bit of a problem and again, I would normally use these pencils on another type of paper.
I still have 5 more pencil brands or types and the solution to the problem with that dumb project still hasn’t resolved itself so I may make this into a series of mother and child mermaids. If I buy those other pencils I may end up with a series of 9 drawings….or not.
I do hope you are having a good day and as always, thanks for stopping by.