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Thursday, November 30, 2006

I know I have a guardian angel working overtime.....

This is the angel of the annuciation,..... I see that finger as admonishing me to slow down and pay attention.

I almost burned down my house this morning....while I was running all those frantic errands.....I left a bath towel near a small gas heater....I forgot to turn it off!

When I came home, the towel was on the floor, scorched, the towel bar (heavy plastic) warped and on the floor too, leaving only the ceramic holders on the wall--- built in with the bathroom tile.
The towel bar had gotten so hot that it fell out with the towel onto the floor.

I feel very lucky (thank-you guardian angel!), and very sheepish and hope I can keep a better grasp on reality (whatever that is) in the future.

Time for some Advent peace and prayers!
(....Maybe I should just sit and knit.....I don't have to go in to work because of the bad road conditions)

The North Wind doth Blow rhyme

The North Wind Doth Blow and We Shall Have Snow......

Today is turning out better than I expected....I was able to run my errands and when I came home, I had a message that my friend's husband was home because of the bad weather so my help wasn't need after all.

I can continue packing away excess "stuff" until only Christmas and room for guests remain....or I can sew some Christmas throw pillows, or I can write Christmas cards...

Whatever I end up doing, I will try to enjoy being inside my own nest as the north wind does blow!!!

Being a compulsive research librarian-type, I have added a link for more information about the North wind nursery rhyme (above).

Brrrrr----the weather outside here is frightful!!!!

It has been raining and the temperature is dropping. It will freeze around noon, then start to come down as ice....turning to snow this evening!

By tomorrow this is what my world will look like!

So no time for posting....even if I am addicted!

I need milk and fruit and some more white Christmas off I go.

(This afternoon, I am supposed to visit a friend
who is recovering from an aneurism...she
shouldn't be left alone yet. Then I am
scheduled to return work
tonight after my 2.5 days of "fun"....

the crazy weather makes me just want to
call the whole schedule off....I don't like
trying to drive on ice!)

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Who are those lovely geishas?????

I just finished scanning these ornament/dolls !

They are little surprises for my dear friends...I made one of myself too. (Friends, if you are reading my blog, can you find your altered self?)

Each one is about 5" tall. I used photos of my friends and "altered" them to become geishas. (black and red pens).
The kimono pattern is in the Holiday Ideas book available at Hancock Fabrics. I have a small stash of Oriental was fun to sew these!

Then I decided to ornament their hair using a straight pin with a pretty end and small beads....I could also do more work and add embroidery floss hair....or not.

To find the kimono ornament.... follow this link and reigster at Hancock's website.

Hancock Fabrics Online Fabric Store

Now that I have had my CRAFTING FUN for the day, it is back to dishes, laundry, raking leaves and trying to get some lighted Christmas ornaments outside, as well as big red bows.....

Here is a reipe I found, becuase I can't just throw my pumpkin out! Yesterday, I baked it and cut it into small pieces. I will puree it and use this idea for soup....

Thai-spiced Pumpkin Soup

3-4 cups pureed pumpkin or squash

1, 14 ounce can of Coconut milk

1-2 teaspoons of Thai red curry paste

2 teaspoons fine grained sea salt

Combine ingredients...if more liquid is needed, use chicken broth or vegetable broth.

Simmer, and serve!

December 6th, next Wednesday, will be St. Nicholas
When my children were small, they would put out their shoes on the night before and see if St. Nicholas would fill them....
Tasha Tudor celebrates with her St. Nicholas Tea on this day.
This year, I will be celebrating and exchanging small gifts with a group of friends next Wednesday
Here is a wonderful recipe, easy too, that I will make for the event. It is a Christmas cookie from Holland called Jan Hagels. They are thin, light and flaky rather like a shortbread piecrust with sugared almonds....

Jan Hagels

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg white
1 teaspoon water
8 ounces of sliced almonds
Sugar for dusting

Pre-heat oven to 325F. Beat together the butter, sugar and egg yolk with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in flour and cinnamon. Separate dough into 2 balls and press thinly onto 2 large cookie sheets. Beat egg white with water in a small bowl until frothy. Spread over dough.
Arrange the almonds in a mosaic pattern on top and dust with a bit of sugar. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and slice into diamonds while hot.

(This recipe and many others can be easily printed out from

More information about St. Nicholas day can be found by following this link to a site with Advent Customs....
St. Nicholas Day

Monday, November 27, 2006

It is the Christmas season for all of us who work in retail....helping Santa fill those stockings!

I work part-time at a local department store....this gives structure to my week (I usually work through the week-ends) and gives me contact with people, as being in my studio is very isolating.

The thing I dislike about it at the moment is that the holiday hours are extended so that we go in to work earlier and come home later....but I've just been reading some blogs from women in Lebanon..... so I know that I am truly blessed to have the quiet, peaceful life that I enjoy.....

Prayers for Christmas peace continue, but we will never have peace on earth until we develope peace in our own hearts....a challenge for all of us!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

(This post is in response to a challenge of the week on Violette's folkart messageboard....from Pam paint your favorite coffee mug...this was on Nov. 11th....I'm a bit behind but here it is!)

My favorite mug.....
being indecisive, I have two favorites.

The first one is handmade stoneware by Rae
Dunn, a local potter.

I love to have my morning coffee in this mug!
It is round like a ball which just fits into my
cupped hand....a great treat to wrap my hand
around the warm cup on a cool morning.

The second mug is a Christmas gift from my son last year. He decorated the outside with yoga symbols and wrote a quote from Ghandi inside
the lip....he (my son) is a deep thinker.

I love to use this mug for herb teas and healthy drinks.....mostly when I am drinking something more mellow than coffee.

The watercolor is by me, this morning.
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Thursday, November 23, 2006

A photo from last night, we went to see out town's
seasonal light display...

Lilia was enchanted, she said it was the most beau-tiful
thing she had ever seen!

It is so fun to see the world through the eyes of

a seven-year-old! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

This is the second day with my daughter and grandaughter.....I picked them up at the airport at 9:20 yesterday morning and we started home...about a 30 mile drive....the first side track was a dollar store to check out christmas ornaments which could be altered into "art".....Getting back in the car, we realized we were very close to the new shopping promanade which had just opened in October and to which I had not yet off we headed!

After two hours of shopping and lunch (my daughter felt all the things in the new shopping area were a definite plus for our community, making it more fun for people of her generation) we finally got home.

A tea party was in order, but we were still stuffed from lunch.
So we delayed a bit by pulling out pieces of "ancient" family history....

My grandaugher, Lilia, age seven, was delighted to be given the original Kirsten, American Girl Doll , that Santa had brought to her mother the first year they were produced! She has been playing with Kirsten ever since!

We found a child's nightgown from France which daughter, Laura , had received from an aunt whcn she was was a bit yellowed. Having once had a quilt shop, I was familiar with
great product for cleaning vintage linens, 'Vintage Soak'. ( It comes in a pretty rose fabric bag and is for sale on-line.) So now it is soaking and the yellow is floating away!

Laura also found the special little dresses which I had smocked and "french hand-sewn" for her when she was small.....the grandaughter is too old to wear them...and they aren't popular
with the Brittney Spears influenced young girls anyway...but they are treasures!

Finally, we were ready for our tea party...this time using my Laura Ashley tea set....this is after many "tea parties" at my grandaugher's using her "dolly" tea set....and peppermint tea.

This morning, after breakfast, I pulled out the glitter and these reproduction victorian angel postcards......this is one of them. You can see a little of the sparlke of the glitter in the scanned image!
My daughter is a godsend this week...she is helping me de-clutter and clean before we decorate for Christmas this Friday!!!!! Yeah!!!!! (The hardest part is storing away all the art supplies and projects....rather impossible, actually!)

As I re-read all of this, I realize that I do sound like a full-fledged granny....and it was not long ago, I couldn't imagine that I was old enough to be a grandmother....oh, well!

This is a look at my true world...though I have several
rooms where my art supplies and sewing is concentrated,
I find that I actually paint in the middle of my
living space....not wanting to be isolated from the
"action" of family life...even with an empty nest!

This is my breakfast nook, at the end of the kitchen.
I have set up a still life using pears and tulips...and one of Shirley Trevena's paintings for inspiratio

You can see the laundry I was folding while waiting for part of the watercolor to dry.....

The resulting watercolor of pears and tulips with an indigo blue bottle, can be seen in my Flickr was also the inspiration for the name of my blog and was one of my first posts!
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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

When we went to the South Carolina, and Georgia coast this past June,we rented a furnished beach house on Tybee Island.

One of the books in the cottage was this one ,"The Mermaid Wakes", about the art of Mr.Canute Caliste of the island of Grenada. Mr. Canute began painting late in life.......

....... after having a dream in which a mermaid rose from the ocean and handed him a paint brush!!!!!!!

This must have been his inner creative feminine archthype.

Of course, I had to try to find the book related to my pursuit of the artistic life and a great "souvenier" from our time at the beach cottage. It is out of print, but I managed to order one through Amazon!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Thanksgiving is almost here!
I'm very excited because my daughter and grandaughter will
They are going to help me plan the large family Christmas
we will be having next month.... I'll feed them the lovely
chocolate chip pumpkin bars...(recipe from 'There is no place
like home' blog)...we'll go Christmas shopping, and have a
wonderful "art day" with lots of glitter (Daisy didn't get to our
shops in NW Arkansas, so we still have plenty!), and a sewing
day to produce some "retro" aprons for gifts!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

After rising early and doing the stream of consciousness writing exercise....the inner critic was still asleep....I did some "responsible" things....I scrubbed the ulitiy room floor and decided this would be a good time to institute a new "no wearing shoes in the house" policy. I'll just get some shelf/bins and put them by the backdoor there for shoe storage, and have slippers and fun socks for wear in the house....

I will also run out and pick up 1/2 yard of 54" fabric to make a new fresh ironing board cover.

That should be enough "good deeds" for one day! Then I can quilt, paint or read.

A mermaid emerging from her place of safety and security......

Stream of Consciousness Writing Exercise from Daisy Lupin's blog: shimmering

the pearl was shimmering on the sand she did not see it as she pulled herself out of the water onto the rocks shaking her hair and combing through it with her fingers. it was a warm night with soft tropical breezes a waning moon was casting its light on the softly moving water nearby overhead an airplane droned carrying passengers back to their busy lives she knew she could never join them in that world again for though she was physically, to the casual observer the same woman she had been when she came a month before she had truly undergone a seachange never again would she fret about dust and cobwebs in the corners of her home and the corners of her life she was reborn and energized sparking and shimmmering like the pearl she had yet to discover... she had already discovered so much about herself that had lain hidden under the surface, the business and resposibility of everyday life being the bread winner and mother to a family though they loved her and tried to help and show their appreciation it had been a time of schedules and rules and keeping up appearances who would have known that one day she really would escape and change still treasuring all she had experienced all that it had taken to bring her to this moment this lovely peaceful place she realized that inspite of having just been in clear deep water, the exercise and being in touch with her body the sesnation of being surrounded and supported by warm gentle waves had made her very relaxed almost limp in fact but she was thirsty so after stretching like a cat (who would have truly avoided the water at all costs) she stood up and began her walk back to the seaside cottage she had rented....then she saw the pearl

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

One of my favorite mermaid paintings!
This one is by Haitian painter Fernand Pierre.

If we were exiled (for not conforming, that is, for becoming authentic)
and turned into mermaids, then
I would have to become a tropical

There is no way I could
survive joyfully in the cold dark
waters of the northern seas......
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For any of you bewitched with the idea of learning more about seawitches (mermaids), this is a link to a wonderful article!

The Mermaid -article


Originally uploaded by Paula Anddrade*.
Just checking Flickr for more mermaid inspiration....I like the playfulness here!

These scanned images are of the new muse who hangs about in my art studio.
Her name is Sirena, she is only 6 inches tall and made of blown glass.
Though she may appear to be ethereal and fragile, she is strong, bejeweled, sparkling and gifted!

(She is a find from the Christmas ornament section of our local Hobby Lobby....and she was the only mermaid there!)

Sirena eagerly awaits the parcel with the mermaid fabric which should soon arrive!

She is also whispering that I should place an order for the back issue of New Zealand Quilter magazine....#54.....which has the 'self-portrait as mermaid'quilts by 4 New Zealand quilters....I think she is going to be a very bad influence!!!!

After all that thinking about mermaids...... here is my little
Halloween snow angel!

She'll be flying in to visit for Christmas and I can hardly wait!

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Symbolism - exploring nature, birds, myths and cultures

Clicking on this link will take you to a beautiful prize-winning painting of a mermaid....(YOU have to scroll down and then click on the word "mermaid" to read all about it.)

I have had a "thing" about mermaids for a couple of years! Not that I really even like the water.....but somehow it relates to that siren call to become your authentic self.

Today I found this fabric and ordered some to add to my collection of fabrics for the mermaid quilt I hope to create one day. I won't need lots of this yardage, just some to "sprinkle" in among other fabrics which call to me or remind me of the sea....

When my daughter was getting the sea...she was describing her gown as "simple, with a sort of "mermaid effect" in the ruffles flowing down the slender skirt.

I have just visited Barb Kobe's website...Kobe Dolls...Art Dolls/Healing Dolls/Feeling Dolls. It is a site full of wonderful information and inspiration about mermaids and other embellished art.

There are just not enough lifetimes to do it all....nor should we!

My sister was here this morning and helped me to deal with the sad task of emptying dead and dying flowers from the pots in my "Secret Garden". I'm a great one for creative energy, starting new projects, etc. etc. etc. but maintenance and clean-up are not my strong, after that and an hour of raking leaves, I rewarded myself with the mermaid fabric order!

I remember seeing an article recently in New Zealand Quilter Magazine about a small group of women who created embellished mermaid self-portrait quilts. That too was quite inspiring....I would love to find the article again!

(Of course, I've read Sue Monk Kidd's novel, The Mermaid Chair. I think it deals with empty nest and "authenitic-self" issues...and is Southern, seaside and Gothic a bit too. I seem to remember that Sue had a newsletter/journal with her website....must go see!)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

This is a portion of the"altered walls" in the small
bathroom off of my art/sewing studio.

I tried to remove old wall paper ( the walls hadn't been properly sized before it was hung....) to no avail. So I found this wallpaper with writing already on it...(it was a kitchen wallpaper). I simply collage many things on the top of the wall is an on-going wall art journal!

This makes me smile everytime I go in there!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Tea With Tasha Tudor

(This link will take you to a story of a young woman having tea with Tasha)

Tasha Tudor has been a big influence in my life....she has lived her life with passion, following her own vision. Her four children grew up in a handmade house in New England where she tried as much as possible to re-create life from the early 1800's.

Now 91 years old, she has illustrated over 100 children's books.

The tea set she uses has been in her New England family for generations.....she has a fantasic collection of antique clothing. Several books have been published about her beautiful gardens.

She truly is, as the Smithsonian has designated her, a national treasure!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lavendar Tea Cake
(preheat oven to 350)
1 c. butter

1 c. sugar
3 eggs

11/2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1.5 t. dried minced lavendar blossoms
1/2 t. vanilla 2 T. milk
1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
2 t. water (more if needed)
Fresh lavendar (for garnish)

Grease and flour a 9 inch pan.
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add the eggs, beating until batter is smooth and glossy. Fold in next 5 ingredients (the confectioners sugar is for a glaze).
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes. Cool. Remove from pan and place on serving plate.
Make confetioners sugar and water into a glaze and drizzle over the cake.

Enjoy with a cup of your favorite tea!
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I like to use an oat blend flour with this and a little less sugar than is called for. Also since I use salted butter, I don't miss the recipe not calling for salt.

My friend, Liz, just dropped in and we enjoyed this cake with a cup of Earl Grey tea!!!!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I had to scan the painting from two directions in order to
include most of it.

This is the painting of the day....started yesterday and just
now finished.

I think I should take several of these recent works to the
gallery where I show and sell.

Someday maybe I will sell on-line too!

Of course the main thing is to keep painting
and learning!

for looking at this painting on the cmputer screen, I realized that my cut pear was missing its I picked up my sharpened twig, and some dark brown/green paint and now, "Voila!" , the pear is perfect....

(you'll just have to take my word for this, as I am not doing a re-scan!)

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lili smile

lili smile
Originally uploaded by lilidear.
Another try at posting from Flickr.....this is a painting I tried of my grandaughter from a photo. It was fun to work on her curly hair with a sea sponge and even painting her eyebrows with a twig (learned from British watercolour artist Shirley Trevena!).

Here I sit trying to do all this "new" technical stuff on the computer....I still haven't figured out where on the template to paste the flicker badge......when I could be doing more watercolors....or cleaning something!

Fw: Emailing: 291600666_ef1b1fab8f_m

This is my first try to add something from Flickr to by blog.

I love this photo of the moon....rather like the one in my recent painting.

Monday, November 06, 2006

This is a page from my small moleskine, using an antique photo of a mother and daughter on the beach.......

I am considering making copies of this painting to be my Christmas card this year....cropped from a watercolor that didn't "work".

Perhaps I will come up with more cards and a seasonal 12 month calendar....for gifting or for sale....

The challenge is to stay focused......(one thing about this image, the focus is easy to find!)

Friday, November 03, 2006

My young grandaughter learning to do the button-
hole stitch to applique a teacup block for her doll quilt! (Below)

This was a few years ago, when she was four.

Grandaughters are great fun, as they may share
our interests (even when their mother's don't!)
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This is her quilt for the twin bed she now sleeps in....
it has lots of pinks, a few purples as well as lime green and turquoise....some of the blocks feature tea party fabric, ballet shoes, retro dresses....others were made using scraps from dresses and nightgowns I have made for her....

Now to decide if I should send it to her or keep it here until she comes for Christmas....?

This is a watercolor I am now working on......Midnight moon....

I think it is almost "there".....I'll just modify the foreground needs a few more dark petals around the center..

At first, I had a blue glass pitcher in the lower left....but moved it behind the hollowed out eggplant/vase.....this is based on a photo in the October Martha Stewart "Living" magazine....all dark flowers.....Very Mysterious! Is the moonlight really streaming in through the open curtain? Posted by Picasa

These are the gauntlets which I knitted from leftover sock yarn....I have wanted a pair for years.

We watch "Last of the Summer Wine" all the time and I enjoy Auntie Wainwright and her frugal ways as well as her fingerless gloves (which make it easier for her to hold on to $money$!!!!!! ) .....unfortunately this probably won't work for me.

These are wild colors because the sock yarn is "programmed" to change colors as you knit. I love my pair of matching washable wool socks on a cold morning...(I'm wearing them now!)

As I have to leave for work in an hour, I'd better go make my Thomas's wholegrain English muffin and get out of my pj's!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I did end up with my watercolors, a
painted collage of flowers, a pear, a
pomegranite, and a nightengale-type

It is a sunny day after a freeze overnight....I am faced with getting rid of the potted summer plants which I do not have room to keep inside over the winter.

Today I finished a pair of fingerless
knitted gloves from leftover scrap yarn. They were a challenge to knit, but I know they will be enjoyed!

From the dryer, I took out the finshed pink quilt for my grandaughter's twin looks great! I love the way the final step of quilt-making, washing and drying, makes the stitches shrink into the fabric, causing the soft puckery quilted patterns show up! It is made from many pinks, with touches of lime green, purple, and turquoise. I used fabrics from dresses and nightgowns I have sewn for her over the years.....I'll post a photo later!

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