Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Yes, there's actually tea in this mug for T Stands For Tuesday today.
I filled my spoon strainer with my favorite fancy white tea--pai mu tan.  This mug was my favorite, daily coffee mug for umpteen years.  The one that Dagan and Leah always found forgotten in the microwave after I went to reheat it (multiple times all day long)--the reason they decided to buy me the thermal mugs (yes, I have two!).  The thermal mugs may not be pretty but they keep my coffee hot for hours!  ;)  Happy T-Day to everyone over at Elizabeth's!  (Oh, and if you have word verification that is why you haven't heard from me.)
 Yesterday we woke up to 40-55 below wind chill temps till noonish.  This morning--basically the same--40-50 below wind chill warnings till noonish.  Miss Karma and I are staying warm. 
I have been a bit more restless in bed lately, I guess (just leg, knee, and hip pain), because I keep waking up chilly--only to find I have wiggled and kicked around enough to knock the comforter off my little twin bed.  I do have this old bedspread and even grabbed that in the middle of the night a couple nights ago--it stays put!  But the fringe around the edge was looking pretty ratty and Caroline kept sucking it into the vacuum cleaner--LOL!--so I bought the comforter and the bedspread got stuck away in a closet.
The softer, more pliable bedspread is much warmer--but I hated that old fringe.  So...I decided to trim it all off!  Who cares, right?  
(I'm sure you can guess who's sleeping in the middle of this bedspread pile.) 
So what have I been doing?
Well, all this fringe...what to do with it?   
Chop it up into little pieces, of course.  I want to try recycling it by using it in handmade paper and the longer strings would tangle in the blender.  
I always seem to make more work for myself--LOL!  ;)
So, besides puttering about and chopping fringe...the only other extra thing I got done was to tear the larger test sheets in half with my wonderful huge, heavy tear bar/ruler.  (That was worth every penny for me with my bum arm, I tell you--just about giggle using it!) 
Now the sheets are not so unwieldy.
Today--Caroline was going to come clean but she hurt her back!  Poor thing!  Amy from the library was going to come but not all the books I mentioned were in yet (coming from other libraries), so she is coming on Thursday instead.  I do have somebody arranging to pick up the older art magazines and Dagan and Leah plan to be here tomorrow night (weather permitting).  There's a free webinar this afternoon (Create Mixed Media/Stencil Girl) that I could chop fringe while watching, I bet--LOL!  Other than that, things are quiet up here in Fargo.
So many people choose a word for the year.  Every time I read somebody's word--I think mine must be JOY this year.  That was the card I got on New Year's Eve and I think that is my word for the year.  It actually picked itself.  :)
Anyways, it's almost lunchtime already!  Got to get moving.  Seems like it's not long after lunch that it gets dark around here--LOL!  
Happy Tuesday!!
"In an age where there is much talk about 'being yourself,' I reserve to myself the right to forget about being myself, since in any case there is very little chance of my being anybody else."
Thomas Merton

Friday, January 24, 2014


A Good Gray Morning To You!
It's 27 degrees and supposed to get up to 33 today--whoohoo!  :)
I am going to actually join up with Erin's Zendala Dare and Jennifer's Artist's Playroom today.  Not because I did much, but because I actually did something--LOL!  My creative mojo has been taking a backseat for a while.  ;)
So, I just doodled and did my thing... 
...on a very simple zendala inbetween working on cards. 
Well, doing prep-work for cards.  First step--I cut a whole package of 110 pound card stock in half.  These kind of projects keep me busy and out of trouble for days and days--hehe!
Woke up to another ground blizzard one morning since we last talked. 
After I finished cutting 250 sheets... 
...the next step was to score them... 

...so they are ready to be folded in half for card bases.  And I finally finished that step yesterday--TaDa!! 
Thursday morning was so cold (predicted down to -50 wind chill or more--I believe it) the entire porch door was frosted from top to bottom like a crystal curtain.  Very pretty! 
Dagan and Leah did make it over Wednesday night for Sacred Circle.  We wanted to make it a fairly quick evening because it was dreadfully cold out (down to 40 below windchill).  I was delighted they even came with the wind chill warnings and all.  :)  It was nice to just visit, have dinner, and hang out--with no list of things they need to help me with--LOL!  ;)  We had a wonderful time, but I totally forgot to take any pictures.  Duh! 
And for those of you who will ask...what has Miss Karma been up to?  Besides getting her beauty sleep, of course.
Her new favorite toy that drives her crazy (and I can't get pictures until she's exhausted, as below, because she actually can move fast, believe it or not) is the latest trash item.  
(The flash made her wink.) 
These four paper strips I tied together were from the wire shelves from the paper drying rack. 
They used them to tie the racks together in two bunches. 
It's some kind of super tough paper-ish stuff?  It doesn't shred like paper, but it does feel papery.  Karma can get her teeth into it... 
...and it's a big long stringy enticement that she will chase and leap into the air to catch...
...until she's totally exhausted and has to lie down to play.
But she expects me to keep the game up even when she's horizontal, of course--LOL!
Speaking of, Karma's already asked to go out a couple times--got spring fever again with the snow dripping off the roof.  The crystal curtain has melted off the porch door and Karma is full of beans today!  We have to appreciate it while it lasts because we're supposed to go right back into the deep freeze--LOL!  Crazy see-saw weather, eh?
Oh, and I watched Captain Phillips (Netflix, of course).  Talk about an edge-of-your-seat movie!  Made you feel like you were right there the whole time.  I actually felt such a surge of relief (with Captain Tom) at the end that I was surprised by tears!  I seldom cry at movies, truth be told.  Tom Hanks is such an excellent actor.  Whew!
Tomorrow I have The Butler coming--which I've heard is a really good movie, too.  Seems like there have been some better movies out lately.  :)
Anyways, Karma wants to go out again to patrol the drippy porch and keep watch for swallows (silly girl).  I feel like I might be forgetting something...oh well.  
Have a good one!!  :):)
"Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead."
Louisa May Alcott

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Good Morning!
I thought I would shock everybody by actually joining in with the tea drinkers over at Elizabeth's on T Stands For Tuesday today.  Usually my thermal mug sits patiently with me in the mornings while I journal...
...but this morning I made some Yin Hao Jasmine tea... 
...in my little Yixing tea pot.
I apologize to anyone who can read Chinese if the seal is upside-down.
The cup I'm drinking from I actually found at Tochi's in Fargo years ago.
I love how it is partially glazed and rough to the touch.  I bought two of these beauties.
The makers seal on the cup is probably upside-down, too.  I obviously cannot read Chinese.
I know.  You're probably surprised that such a Scandinavian born with coffee flowing in her veins would have tea paraphernalia--but about twenty years ago when I was working at the factory where I injured by arm I worked next to this fascinating middle-aged man who barely spoke English and always had tea next to his machine.  I think he was from Thailand, but I don't trust my memory to swear on that.
No one else would talk to him.  It took a while to understand the thick accented English, but he didn't mind repeating if I asked him.  Slowly I discovered that he had sent home for a young wife and they fought all the time, he said, because she was not a traditional wife.  His disappointment was deep.  The young wife embraced the American music and dress and, worst of all, a bad attitude and defiance of his authority.  
He missed his homeland to his core.  He told me how a goat fell through the thatched roof one day while they were eating their meal--threw his head back and startled me with his rich laughter.  I wondered what other joys his sad heart had tucked away in that narrow chest.  I would listen as he explained an alien belief system that included things like dropping blood in pans of water to foresee something or other...and burying something in the ground for a year and checking it before they decided to build on a piece of land...all the details are sketchy now.  I think I wrote a few of his tales down back then, but I don't know where.  If I run across them I will share them with you.  :)
Because of my friend and his constant offering me some of his tea (and it wasn't as horrible as I imagined--LOL!), I became became very curious about tea and joined The Tea Club for a couple of years and got their magazine The Art of Tea, too.   (I wonder if they're still around?)  I discovered that teas are as complicated as wines (which I know nothing about).  It makes a difference where they are grown, when they are picked, how they are treated after they are picked and for how long...and whether anything was added to them (like jasmine flowers).  
I was lost in the maze, but I did learn a smattering about premium teas--and still have a shoe-box sized container filled with tea samples that I have always kept in dark, dry, cooler spots.  I discovered that I consistently loved most white teas, jasmine, and chamomile--and that I tend to like my teas black/plain like I like my coffee...but there are a few that need a dash of milk to tone down the sharpness.  (Each tea came with a card telling you what the optimum steeping time was and whether to drink it with or without milk.)  Joining T-Tuesday gives me a really good reason to try to make up a little bit of tea every week, doesn't it?  ;)
   As usual, I digress--LOL!  
It was warmer for a couple days--in the 20s.  
We've had snow, a little sun, and a lot of clouds.
When we have sunny mornings, as you can see, it is almost impossible to take pictures of Miss Karma waiting for swallows on a warm 28 degree morning because of the bright reflections. 
Karma was running around here chock-full of beans thinking it was spring again--LOL!  But then it dropped back down to 20 below--hehe!
Me?  I did finish one step in a huge project.  Managed to iron on fusible interfacing to the backs of some pieces of the faux-suede...
...and a hunk of worn green leather from the back of an old coat (Leah brought over several years ago to add to our leather scrap bin).
I only had three small packages of fusible interfacing to use that I had ordered from Amazon over the last year or so.  Didn't want to buy a big amount until I knew if my journal cover making plan was actually going to work or not.  ;)
I have had it in my head ever since I made my first coptic journal--what?--4-5 years ago?--to make some writing/dry media/drawing journals with cloth/thin leather covers.  
Okay--I apologize--this post keeps growing on me--LOL!  I'll be lucky if I finish it today--hehe!  Some of you may remember that one of my early coptic journals was made from this thick red leather that was in Leah's leather scrap bag purchase.  I had to dig it out and show you.  This is one of my darlings that I have been unable to actually use, to be honest.  Here she is...
...filled with 140 lb. watercolor paper... 
...complete with mistakes made while learning coptic stitching. 
I just love her! 
That's when I searched and found Volcano Arts online.  They were the only place I could find back then that had longer eyelets that could go through this thick leather.  
She just needed eyelets, right? 
My little red darling.  And she is little.  Only 4 3/4 by 6 inches.  (All my first journals were quite small.)  I tucked her safely away from my clumsy, juicy-watercoloring hands.  Maybe the time has come to very carefully kill my darling?  ;)
What a journey this morning!
I watched Derek on Netflix streaming and have been thinking a lot about kindness...
 Okay!  I'd better stop right here and now before I go off on another tangent or something triggers another memory--ROFL!  Have a wonderful week!!  Do you have a hard time killing your darlings?  Do you have favorite things you love too much to use?  ;)
I think I have posted this quote before, but I do love it.
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle."
Philo of Alexandria 

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Good Morning!
We had a bit of a ground blizzard on Thursday.  Not much new snow, but wicked winds that blew the existing snow till the visibility was pretty poor even in town here.  Could barely see past the garages.  Schools were closed again.
Karma asked to go out the next day several times.  She came darting inside so I could close the door quickly... 
because it was just warm enough for the snow to stick to her feet again...
...so she could do some delicious footprint eating.  Must be like a cat snow cone--LOL!  
Dagan and Leah were over Wednesday night before the storm... 
...and worked on putting together the drying rack. 
Karma was trying to relax nearby. 
Hey!  This is an improvement.  A couple years ago she would have been hiding under the bed while they were here.  She still hisses at them when they walk by, but she is out a lot more than she used to be.  She was even wanting foot pets from Dagan?  Altzheimers?  Or slowly mellowing out in her old age?
Well, let's just say that this is not the good quality, expensive rack like they have in schools...  
...but they got it together for now. 
First the shelves wouldn't lower to a 90 degree angle, so they raised everything up one hole--but then the shelves slanted downward.  We left it to deal with later. 
They couldn't get the porch door to lock with the rack on the door, so we hung it on the bedroom door. 
Then--an much easier project.  Leah put up my pencil sharpener for me.
I should have done this when I moved in!  Duh!  Have you ever tried to sharpen pencils holding one of these between your knees?   
I didn't want to put screw holes in the walls.  But in the almost nine years I've been here (Feb) we have drilled all kinds of holes in the wall for the punch racks, my art wall shelves, and the hanging shelves in the pantry...so time for the pencil sharpener to go up, too, right?  Long overdue, actually--LOL!  I might even have to get out my colored pencils now, eh?  ;)
Yesterday I moved the rack on to the porch door.  It has been tricky to lock for the past year or two.  You have to kind of shut the door and turn the lock at the same time or the lock won't catch right.  My apartment door is starting to do that now, too.   
(Karma wasn't the least interested in the rack when it was hanging on the bedroom door, but she really noticed it on the porch door.)
You can't even hook both sides up to the base at the same time.  If you get one side on... 
...the other side won't fit--but you can catch it on the bottom wire shelf. 
I'm wondering if maybe they got that back side base on upside-down?  Going to have them look at it when they come back on Wednesday.  Just look.  No messing with it...because we decided to have a Sacred Circle!!  Since we haven't gotten together for one in such a long time, we are doing an extra Wednesday night.  Then the following Wednesday we can start on the Christmas cards and mess with the drying rack.  :)
Oh, and Leah ordered white cardstock from Costco and they brought that over Wednesday, too.  We are all stocked up for years--whoohoo!!  It's Neenah paper, too!  We got four packages of 90# and four packages of 110#!  So, I will start cutting some 110# in half for the card bases.  Then scoring them comes next...and then folding them.  Great project to do while I watch TV or a movie.  ;)
Those of you in my blog family may have noticed that I have been quite the one-way blogger for weeks...like I fell off the face of the earth.  I have just been busy around here doing other things and just haven't been able to spend all the hours at the McLap that I had been.  I keep thinking that I am going to catch up, but I don't really think I am anymore.  I'm like over 300 blog posts behind now.  So, I guess I will start with the most current posts and go from here.  Please let me know if I have missed anything exciting or important, okay?  
I feel like a crummy friend, you know?  Not being able to keep up has been happening more and more often, as you know.  This last year--as my body has become even more limiting with the sciatica--well, when I am feeling better I have so much I want to do--physically, you know?  Cleaning, organizing, cooking, baking, letters, reading...and that's not even counting getting back to my art table...and my bookbinding plans for the winter.  ;)  So, I am hoping we are good enough friends that if I don't chat face-to-face for stretches of time that we can pick up right where we left off, you know?  And you can always send me a personal email...or if any of you are letter writers...just reach out!  I may be slow sometimes, but I always answer emails and letters--many of you already know that.  ;)  And I value my connections I've made online more than you will ever know.  
I will keep blogging away...and this year I hope to get to making more videos, too.  I was talking about doing that a year ago and then so many things happened last year...one right after the other.  I guess I hate to see my relationship change with my dear blog family.  But the blog family has grown over the years and I am spread pretty thin.  Never thought I would end up a mostly one-way blogger...but that is actually how I started, I guess--LOL!  I will come around and read and keep in touch as much as I can.  You know I will.  And I will still try to get back to my commenters--you all mean so much to me.  :):) 
I always think I can do more than I actually can, I guess.  Well, those of you who know me or have been following me for any length of time are probably not the least bit surprised to hear that--LOL!  I'm an incurable optimist...chatty and love people...so it is hard to face the fact I just can't keep up--reciprocally--online anymore no matter how hard I try.  But I can keep blogging...and maybe even get into videos again (which I would post on my blog)...so I'm not going anywhere.  And I know I have quite a few followers who never comment and some don't have blogs, so they won't notice anything different at all--LOL!  In fact, I may even have more to share because I will be able to do more things TO share--LOL!
 Anyways, it's a beautiful sunny morning.  I just handed off a bag full of polymer clay magazines (finally posted the free magazines yesterday) to a smiling young lady.  I'm off to get a loaf of bread going in the machine (love that bread machine!) and do some chatting on two of the letters I am working on.  I think this is going to be a year of change...in many ways...on many levels.
Have a wonderful, bright weekend.  :):)
"The inner struggle is extremely difficult for all of us, because we all have faults, severe ones, that we will struggle with forever.... It’s wise to accept that faults are inevitable. Factor that in and keep going."
Alice Walker