Wednesday, June 27, 2012


 In 2010 I spent an afternoon at my sister-in-law's waterside cabin in Nebraska.  I used the scenery and sense of the cabin to inspire me.

My paint area in their kitchen island.

I scanned the original and printed up several prints.  I matted them so I could send them out to my sister-in-law. 
BTW, my sister-in-law was honored at Mother of the Year -Nebraska 2012.

The final art piece...."angels in the house they say, will guard your family night & day"

Swimming, anyone?

It was a fun day!
Tom, Aaron, Michelle & Jackie

Eli & his mom, Jessica
Gabi, being Gabi

Better, she's smiling.  She's so pretty when she smiles.


3 kids, 5 adults, 3 dogs

Maximus, loves swimming

Bella girl, she has become an excellent swimmer

This is Lilly, she's Aaron & Jackie's lab.  She doesn't want to jump in and thinks she can grab the ball from the side of the pool.  Eli's helping her out so she can reach the ball.

Laptop, cont.

I know you're probably tired of hearing about my laptop crap....but let me tell ya... Aaron, Supervisor Aaron called me to let me know he got my (nasty pissed off) email and he has moved my whatever you call case, my complaint, my on going laptop crisis...on to the next level and is requesting a solution ... replace my laptop???  Who cares at this point I say... I moved on .. shook it off ..
I told Supervisor Aaron thank you so much and I hope something good is going to happen cuz at this point I have no idea what to do...and I keep my fingers crossed that the glichie monkey is gone.  I still haven't been able to download my software I had on it...some compatibility issues??  I don't even know if I updated all the right drivers! But for now I can surf the net, post on my blog, read Facebook & emails.  I'm still struggling with photo editing and card making.  I may need to go buy new software!  My experience with Dell Support on this issue sucked and I can say I'm not too confident in this laptop over the long run.  So for now I'm waiting for a follow up phone call from Aaron the Supervisor.  I just don't know if the glichie monkey is gone for good....ah wait  the glichie monkey did get into my refridgerator!  Got a new one delivered a couple of days ago.  Now that damn glichie monkey is in my garage door opener!!! WTF!  Someone out there needs to do some voodoo on this glichie monkey for me, please!  Or tell me how to rid myself of the glichie monkey.  HELP.

Who came up with this idea?

I was having some friends over to swim and we got to talking about food and preservatives.  One thing lead to another and one of my friends mentioned she has canning supplies and wants to learn how to can fruits and veggies.  We discussed the notion of going to local farmer's markets to get whatever is in season.  Peaches, humm sounds good.  We also talked about dehydrating foods and vaccum sealing stuff.  Kerry has all the canning supplies and vaccum sealer stuff.  I have a dehydrater.  We scheduled to meet in the in a few days.   I was in charge of getting jars, easy enough.  Well Kerry got the jars since she was out shopping anyways.  Easier.  Donna gets the peaches and tomatoes, Kerry gets the meat for beef jerky.  Ready as we'll ever be...
No, not at all!
We find out we all have glass top electric stoves!!  Not recommended in using a canner on glasstops the hot hot temps will crack the glass.  No bueno.
We now begin the hunt for an alternative method.  Cookstove with two burners, expensive!
We decide to get single burner cooktop thingies we used in the dorms back in the day.  Internet says to use two right next to each other set on high. 

First clean tomatoes, drop them in boiling water and then into ice cold water and peel the skins off.
Cut in quaters, fill jars, and seal.  Now ready for the hot boiling bath... this is called "canning".  Fun.

7 quart jars of tomatoes!

Next comes the peaches...  same - wash clean, drop in boiling water, ice cold water, peel, cut & pit.  Well the peeling wasn't easy and pitting them was even harder! 

But, finally got them pitted and cut, filled the jars with peaches and a sugar syrup. Into the canner and ta da ... canned peaches!! 

Next, beef jerky...
Kerry had the butcher slice the meat and she marinated over night.
Place the meat in the dehydrater and wait...easy enough.

Okay it wasn't as easy as I make it sound...
We didn't really do enough research. Peaches wouldn't peel easy, how long do we leave in boiling water, how long in cold water, how to slice, how much liquid/syrup, did we seal the lids on tight enough, water in the canner won't come to a boil!
It's so funny cuz Tom's family has been canning foods forever and I've not ever been interested in learning. I was a working girl and no time for such sillyness. Now here I am trying my hand at canning...way too funny. I called one of my sister-in-laws to get some advice from her and she was very helpful. *sigh* not sure if this canning thing is for me. For now I need to do some research and be much better prepared next time. I'm gonna visit the local farmer's market to buy some fresh veggies/fruit. I really would like to can some homemade spagetti sauce and my dad's chili (hot sauce).
This is what you do when you retire and need to find something to do with my free time. 

Grocery shopping with Tom :)

I always do the grocery shopping around here.  A couple of nights ago I asked Tom to go with me so it wouldn't take as long.  We headed to Safeway with a list, a short list.  As Tom is walking pass the frozen section he calls me over.  Once I get to him he begins to pick up seven frozen dinners, meatloaf, roast beef, chicken marsala, and I don't even know the other four.  I'm like no lets just get one and see how it tastes.  We decided on chicken marsala.

45 minutes in a 350 degree oven this is what we have...oh we added the pasta.
Not too bad.  Nice and quick, too.  Tom may have stumbled on to something good here.

Bridal Invitations

My nephew is getting married in August and his sister is hosting his fiance's bridal shower.  She sent out an email letting us Aunts know about the shower.  I asked if there was anything I could do since I live so far away and won't be able to attend.  She gladly let me make the invitations.  First, I had to come  up with an idea...hummm.  I looked at some of my previous cards and a few creative magazines and came up with an idea.
I used watercolor paper to draw a background.
Once I finished the background I scanned it and added the hanger image and text and invitation information. 

I found an old book coated them with metallic paint.
Drew the bridal dress design and and turned on some good music and cut out the designs.
Once I printed them it was time to cut and score them.
I glued the dress on and ta da.... finished!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Laptop, cont.

Well, Dell support called & emailed me to ask about the far so good.  I've been able to download all my software and no more ghost mouse...touch screen is working, finally.   Don't know what's next but it feels nice to have a working laptop.  
Which means, craft studio updates!  I've taken photos and now I can begin to post them.  Some stuff are gifts and I sent them out this week so a few more days and I'll post.  I hate to ruin a surprise in case they follow my blog. 
Happy girl, today.  

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Laptop, cont.

The computer tech replaced the LCD screen and it didn't work, so he put the old one back on and it works just fine.  He loaded a driver thingie and now the ghost mouse pointer thing is gone and everything seems to be fine.  I didn't let him replace any of the other parts they sent.  I loaded most of the software I use and again so far so good.  I watched TV on it and so far so good.  Today, I'm going to watch a movie, it used to freeze when I watched a movie.  I'm going to load it up with photos and see what happens.  Maybe the electronic glichie monkey inside my laptop is gone???

oh, by the way,  I think the glichie monkey moved into my refridgerater!!  Freezer cold but not cold enough...quit freezing stuff or making ice!  The fridge part isn't cold enough either!  That damn glichie monkey!  I need to quit feeding glichie monkey!

10 am ... 100 degrees, nice round numbers, huh?

What would I expect in the middle of June in the middle of the Arizona desert?  Yeah, it's gonna be a hot weekend.  Two things will be happening today, okay two fun things and lots of other not so fun things... Time in the studio....working on three invite projects, almost done with one.  Mandatory time in the swimming pool (with a nice cold drink).  Already set up the umbrellas for shade otherwise the patio is way too hot to walk on barefoot.  The not so fun things...housework, cooking, laundry, etc...yeah it's the weekend...who cares about a dirty house or having clean clothes, not me!  Eating, well that's a fun thing, just not in the mood to cook.   Yesterday, I watered my outdoor plants and they were talking to me, okay, yelling at me!  Get us the out of the sun!  I feel so bad, so I'm gonna move them, again.  Don't know where cuz the sunshine and heat is everywhere.  Maybe the courtyard, more shade there... only I forget to water ... outa sight + outa mind = forget to water them!  This happens to me every summer.   I don't know how other people keep their plants so nice...maybe automatic watering systems? 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Laptop, cont....

Tech was here yesterday and he tried his best to get the Dell people to replace this laptop.  No go, surprise, surprise.  So, instead he replaced the part they sent and clicked and clicked there and click some more..whoo laa I think he fixed it!  So far so good.  Let's keep our fingers crossed.  Oh and by the way, the smart techie people at Dell are sending a gillion more parts to replace, you would think by now they just would of been ahead of the game it they just would of replace the whole thing. 
Anyways, I'm spending my day with some friends and then in my studio.  As my friend said this morning on Facebook if you're happy and you know it....get up!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Laptop, cont...

Oh by the way, my laptop still isn't fixed!!  Surprise surprise you say.  The smart people at Dell emailed me to inform me another part will be replaced on this laptop....the touchpad thingie area.  Which by the way, yes it's been replaced before!!!  I'm like whatever I gotta do to fix this piece of crap ... the touch screen is what needs to be replaced you f***king fools!  So the on-site tech called me this morning to tell me he has the part and will be here to switch it out.  He laughs and says what happened?  Thought we were done with replacement parts and then he laughs again.  He mentions again, you might consider giving your laptop to someone you really like and buying a iMac....really  really  really.  I don't have iMac kinda money ... I'm retired you fool.  He laughs, again.

Craft studio cleansing

Since I've become a stay at home in my studio kinda royalty my studio seems claustrophobic to me.  When I was only spending a few hours at time in there I never noticed all the things I have in my studio space.  I've begun to move things around, organize with containers and to purge, purge, purge and purge some more.  When I was on my Texas family trip I realized I come from a family of creative people so I decided while I'm reorganizing I will begin a box of treasures for my cousin SueAnn.  Then I had lunch with a good friend and she mentioned how she donated all her scrapbook stuff to a friend's daughter, who's a creative soul.  Light bulb.... I put together a box for Alexis.  I'm pretty organized so while purging it didn't take me long to sort through scrapbook paper and supplies.  I added some small treasures, markers, embellishments, stickers, beads, ribbons, buttons, magazines and a card making book.  I put it all in a box and was lucky enough to deliver it to her mom yesterday.  And believe me I have plenty left over to send off to cousin SueAnn.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Thank You cards

 I printed up one of my paintings on card stock.  I added glitter  and "thank you", which was a tedious thing since the letters were so small.  

I used my chalks to add depth and color.

I made three sets of three cards and tied ribbon around them.  Nice thank you gifts.

I used another piece of my artwork and made my Thank You cards to send to my Texas family for all they did for us on our trip. 

Recycling t-shirts

My friend, Kathy showed me a rug she knitted out of old t-shirts.  I loved it and what a great idea.  Coincidentally, I had just empty out my closet of stuff to donate.  In my pile I had a number of t-shirts & tanks.  Funny how I noticed my color choices in clothes, very color complimentary to each other.  I had about 10 or so and I decided not to use any of the dark colors.  I cut the t-shirts into 1 1/2 inch strips.  I got a big sized crochet needle...I don't know how to knit!   

The look of the rug is so cool.  I used up all the strips but I need more because the rug, 18"x48" is not big enough.  I'll have to dig in my closet, again... Tom has tons of white t-shirts I recycle, just not sure I want to use white.  
Thank you Kathy for the great idea!

Bowling Pin Photo Book

I told you how Tio Tony gave me a bowling pin he got from the bowling alley on Norton Air Force Base, California.  I decided to have the bowling pin travel to some cool places and to photograph the adventure.  The next thing was to figure out how I was going to put the photos together and how to be able to add photos over time.  I remembered watching some YouTube videos in the past on how to make a hard cover book.  I found the videos and watched them, again.  There are a number of steps but not difficult steps.  

Here's what I ended up with....

 Get paper for pages and glue them together on one end.  
 I decided to save paper and cut strips instead of using full sheets.  Kinda a mistake because it was a tough job fitting the strips to glue.  The proper way was to use double the pages and trim out every other page to make room for thickness the photos make.

Set aside to dry.

I found some muslin fabric to print the cover photo on.  I used freezer paper to stabilize the fabric for the printer.  Iron the fabric to the waxed side of the freezer paper.  

Ta worked out perfectly.  I heat set the ink.  By the way, the photo was taken pool side.  I like the way the colors coordinated with Mr. Bowling Pin.

The next steps took some patience and time.  I cut book boards, glued the fabric as neatly as I could.  I also made added the protector pages to the book pages and then put it all together.
 I make two photo for Tio & one for me.

I printed my photos & got myself a cup of coffee and began the process of putting the photos in our books.  I used old fashion photo corners and made all the photos the same size.

I need to add a few local Phoenix and Arizona photos before I mail this off.  Both books will hold 50 photos.   This is a very fun project and I can't wait for my Tio Tony to have it.