Thursday, February 27, 2014


Good Morning!
Just to show you why up here we say things like..."Don't like the weather?  Give it time."  This was the blue sky with white clouds we had yesterday afternoon...
...and this was the white out condition we had less than two hours later.
Miss Karma wasn't feeling that good during the night.
Barfed up food (no grass and she hasn't been eating Phil and Fern anymore) in two places on the carpeting yesterday (which I covered up with rags so that none of us would step on the scrubbed wet spots) and a big one on the rug by the door.
So big that it needed washing, right?  Well, you might remember how there was almost no backing left on those two rugs and I bought this carpet tape to put on the back so I wouldn't break my neck on the slippery rugs, right?  I can't wash that rug anymore.  But I did have a spare that has been rolled up in the storage area lo these nine years since I moved across the river to Fargo.  I bought the rugs when I lived in Moorhead--needed three over there, but only two here.
So--I rolled up the gross old one that won't clean up well and went down to dig out the spare.  Now they had all been used for six years in Moorhead, right?  Well, it's downright amazing what another nine years will do to a rug--ROFL!  Here's the back-taped old one in the kitchen... 
...and here's the spare unrolled by the door.  Can't really tell?  Here let me really show you...
They look like two different rugs--LOL!  One is light cream and one is tan.  One is falling apart and one still has rubber backing--intact.  One is thin and flat as a board and one has pile!  
I actually forgot these ever had pile--LOL!  Dagan and Leah noticed it the minute they walked in last night.  Still makes me smile in wonder every time I step on it.  Ahhh!  The little things in life, eh?
I guess I have gotten my mojo back!  Putter!  Putter!  I had to go through and take the seals off the tops of all the rest of the new Dick Blick liquid acrylic bottles.  
You know how sometimes the seal comes up but you're left with that film of paper left behind?  Every one of them.  So, messy--but all done.  (And my sciatica was quite patient with the process...I am whispering...don't want to jinx myself.)  
Then I started the new cover for the binder insert I saved.
You can see how I was using those new brass strips.  LOVE THEM!!
Took me a while to decide where the covers should end up as far as the flowers on the print went.  (Darn--didn't really think of that before I cut a hunk of fabric--duh!)  Then I penciled in where to glue the boards and where to cut in nothing flat!
Got out my PVA glue...
...brayered them down...
...grabbed my clump of used waxed paper, stacked some heavy boxes on top, and left that overnight. 
Meanwhile...the fauxdoris.  (Faux Midori travelers notebooks)  I cut the leather piece I bought off Amazon and it was large enough to cut a large and a smaller cover...just like I hoped!!  Remember the Midori rubber bands I bought?  I tried them out and they will work great on these!
I folded the covers in half and stacked a bunch of books on top of them and left those overnight, too.
Unlike the nice flat binder cover pieces...the leather didn't really enjoy the book pressing.  The bigger one is close, but the smaller one wasn't anywhere near cooperating.
I got an idea.  I wet one of the tiny scrap pieces of leather, folded it, bulldog clamped it, and left that to dry all day yesterday. 
It worked beautifully!  The water did not ruin the leather, but the clamp did leave marks and weaken the fibers at the fold a bit. 
So--I am thinking.  I will figure out a way to wet them, fold them, and maybe just book press them without ruining my books or leaving marks on the damp leather.  So waxed paper or butcher paper won't work because it creases and crinkles all up when wet--trust me, I know--and would leave marks if directly next to the leather.  I am going to search for something smooth and plastic, I think.  But the fauxdori project is coming along quite nicely!
I'm having more trouble trying to figure out how to make the inside piece for the binder cover that will include a pocket.  The sewing machine will be coming out soon, I think.  If I mess this up terribly...I can always start over.  I have a lot more fabric and chipboard, so no problem.  (These are the things I tell myself so I can take plunges into the unknown--LOL!)
Dagan and Leah came over last night with food from Arby's!  (I sent fresh bread home with them.)  Leah worked on her sample for her baby shower thank you cards.  
There was enough dark brown paper when she was shopping Monday night but Leah had to ask them to order a stack of the green paper.  It's from our local K&Krafts shop and they'll call her when it comes in.  They're just great about doing special orders.
We all like the simple style.  Hard to see--here's a close up.  The green paper is textured.  Kind of linen-y.  
I was Leah's assistant last night as we experimented with the new Christmas card stamps and blue ink pad colors.  We just LOVE these winter scenes!!
They are even prettier stamped up than we expected!
They will have a sentiment stamped along the bottom.
So happy we have found something we all love that are really simple for us to make!  We can actually make up four years worth of Christmas cards to have on hand!!  Awesome!  And if we want to make other cards in the meantime any given year--we can (and probably will).  But we will know we will be set for four years!  Talk about taking the pressure off!  Nice!  Whoohoo!! 
Dagan brought back my old TV computer box.  Remember it sounded like the fan was going crazy or something?  He hadn't had a chance to mess with it--plugged it in--turned it on--and it seemed to be silently working just fine.  Another mysterious repair by the tech fairies?? 
So, he re-hooked it up last night.  Left the cover off just in case, but it appears to be working??  And I have volume control again--TaDa!!  Happy me!
And again--just in case--the other computer tower is standing by.  ;)  We'll see how it goes.
When they left last night the TV computer was busy doing some kind of re-setting itself up.
When it was said there was no connection.  I called Dagan.  Just had to shut it down and start it up again and it was fine.  I haven't tried to turn it on yet today.  I better check, actually.  I have been putting off starting the final episodes of Breaking Bad (and have managed to not know how it ends, so don't tell me, please!) and I am about ready for a relaxing TV marathon day.  (If you can possibly call visiting Mr. White and Jesse relaxing--ROFL!)
Aha!  Looks like I can start watching Breaking Bad today!  Whoohoo!  But first...I wonder if I can find some smooth plastic...
Have a great day!!  :) :)
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."
Lao Tzu

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Good T Stands For Tuesday Morning!  
Was just coffee last night (and this morning) while I worked on letters.  I finished up a couple in the past two days but still have five more ready to answer.  I get them all set up like this with envelopes addressed and ready to write.  The folded paper towel below the pen there is just to keep my hand from getting oil on the paper while I write or to use if I need to lay my left hand on the paper to hold it down for a while--so I don't get ink on my hands.  The metal rack is where I set my laptop when I move it over to the craft/writing table.  The lazy susan is always there filled with art, craft, and writing supplies.
In the box cover by the lamp base I have seven fountain pens inked up (with Goulet Pens ink drop samples) and there's my trusty black timer in front of the lamp base.  I use all those various clips on the lamp and the box cover to hold the paper for me because I can't grip or press very long (muscle damage in my left hand/arm).  I have all kinds of little helper tools like that around.  After 20 years you are so used to them that you forget about them, you know?  And my trusty wooden blotter is there at the bottom left.  The two pen pots: one on the left holds sets of Triplus, Le Pens, and Sharpie Pens.  The pot on the right holds the gels--more variety there: Slicci, Maica, Hi-Tec C, Juice, Sarasa, Mach II, a couple more odd ones, and my annoying Waterman fountain pen that has to be stored nib up or it leaks all over inside the cap (grrr!).  Oh, and in the corner of the box cover is a stack of little paper towel rectangles I cut up to have handy if I get any nib creeping or dripping with any of my fountain pens.  Doesn't happen often (except with my Waterman), but when it does--I am prepared.  ;)
 Letter writing is what I'm going to be up to today, too.  You can see why I usually spend a few hours every day writing letters--and why it may take me a while to respond sometimes--but such fun chatting away on paper!  :)
Oh!  I decided what I am ordering myself for my birthday in March--a bunch of Dylusion sprays and Distress stains!  These old misters of mine are driving me nuts, for one thing, plus I have gotten so much more into vivid color the past couple years.  The Dylusion sprays react with water, but the Distress stains won't once they are dry.  I love stencils, but I haven't been using them because my few sprays clog up right away even after I have cleaned them and are too pale for me anymore, anyways.  Be good for surface shimmer, though.  I can hardly wait!  Color will be coming!!
And before you say anything--yes, I can use stencils with other media than just sprays--and I have--but I love the sprays the best.  ;)
Can you tell Miss Karma has had her picture taken since she was a kitten?  She heard the whir of the camera opening...
...pretended she wasn't interested in what I was doing with some carpet sniffing. 
I stayed really still and didn't make a sound inbetween Karma had to roll over even though she was so tired her eyes were closed the whole time--LOL!
She finally had to peek at me.  
More pictures?
Are you done yet? 
We've got 20 to 30 below wind chill warnings out again today. 
I just had a huge box pop up that told me "you have logged out from another location".  WTH!!??  Asked me if I wanted to log back in?  I just closed the box.  Now maybe I will have trouble posting this.  Blogger drives me crazy sometimes. 
Oh, and all of a sudden yesterday--when I went to watch some of the youtubers I follow half of their video screen would be hidden underneath the wide information bar on the left--or there would be white space to the right and you had to scroll down because the video screen had popped down below the side bar.  Weird!  Not everyone's channel--yet--but who knows what they're up to now!  Some were just the same as they always were, but several of them were all messed up so you couldn't watch them.  Half a screen?  Not good.  Seems like they are always changing things--that don't appear to be broken, you know?  Has anyone else noticed this half-covered screen issue?
Well, time to get moving.  The letters are still waiting for me at the table.  The sun is shining.  I have enough gourds and pumpkins.  ;)  
It's a good day. 
"Do not be small minded. Do not pray for gourds and pumpkins from God, when you should be asking for pure love and pure knowledge to dawn within every heart."
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Monday, February 24, 2014


Good Afternoon!
Yes, my hours have slowly been shifting since I went off the melatonin.  So far not enough to make me want to go back on it because I am still basically on days and sleeping okay once I get to sleep (I'm back to it taking me 30-45 minutes to shut off the brain chatter), but it's enough to make those days seem very different.  I am back to being more awake in the evenings, staying up till 2-3am, and sleeping till more like 10-11am.  Funny how a shift of just a couple of hours can cause such a big change.
 Miss Karma still thinks I should be up by around 9ish at the very latest to deliver her morning canned delights.  She cries outside my bedroom door around 9-9:30 for a couple no avail.  (Karma wisely does not try waking me up at close range--jerking covers over one's head in a twin bed can send additional occupants flying.)  She will probably give up and switch her hours accordingly--LOL!   
I do think maybe I do feel a bit more alert and clear-headed.  I know I am actually getting some things done later in the day again.  Have been playing at the art table at night, too.
Still trying to use up my very old misters (which are all dreadfully plugged and I don't feel like cleaning out the nozzles so I used the bronze mister like paint on this page).  This Journal52 prompt was "Building Character".  (Compassion, truth and love are what matter to me.)  Doesn't show very well, but it is very shimmery!
The next weekly prompt was "Abstract Art".  
(I may actually catch up one day.)  
All I have so far is a dark background. 
I actually got down the new Dick Blick acrylics I bought a while back.  (Funny how I am always afraid to use the new, nice stuff.)  First time I used new liquid acrylics instead of the 15 year old craft paints (from Joe).  OMG!  They are so smooth, thinner, and flow so easily!  They take longer to dry, too.  I really enjoyed using them more this time!  You know how I've had such a hard time getting used to acrylics--well, I guess I shouldn't wait to use the good stuff--LOL!
Anyways, I had such fun making marks with trash that last time that I thought I'd do it again.  I think that would qualify as "abstract", right?  ;)  That's the plan, anyways.
In fact, I liked the results when I played with trash so much that I made some color copies on cardstock, cut them down, and folded them to make some cards.  I'm always needing some fast cards to tuck letters into...and I had some strips left over that I can use for collage, too.  :)    
I do think I am slowly being freed up to be that looser woman by using this junk journal I made with the paper I hate--(well, probably elevated now to a mere dislike)--because I don't give a rat's a$$ what I do to it--LOL!  That poor pathetic paper purchase has turned out to have a silver lining.  There always seems to be one, doesn't there?  I can slop, scrape, experiment, mess up, and outright destroy pages as much as I want because the paper itself is so bad to begin with that I don't have to worry about ruining anything "good"--ROFL!  Freedom arrives in strange ways sometimes, eh?  Remember how devastated I was after all that work making those journals to discover how truly horrible the paper actually was--and was even thinking of taking them apart?  Felt like a monstrous mistake and my heart was in my shoes.  You just never know, do you?  ;)
Yesterday Amy came by to pick up my library books.  I don't think I remembered to show you what I read last time.  Anne Tyler's first two books: If Morning Ever Comes and The Tin Can Tree.   
I do like those close up, slice of life books with unusual characters.  I will continue to read her books--hopefully chronologically...just to see how she grew as an author.  I love to do that when I can.
 Speaking of chronologically...the library we were borrowing the next in line in The Cat Who" series--well, somehow that got messed up and sent back.  Amy had to re-request the book and it should be in within a week or so.  Therefore, I shall hold off starting these next two until that one arrives and Amy can drop it off.  This series does progress in chronological order--and are fun, quick reads, anyways.
I also get books like this one on inflammation, arthritis, and aging, too.  Don't always remember to mention them. 
I am always checking out see if there are any ways to further change my diet that might help with my myriad of health issues, you know?  Cutting way back on dairy seems to have been a good thing.  I can tell when I do eat more dairy now, anyways--clogs my head up.  
Oh!  Oh!  I did forget to tell you what the initial results of the baby's heart ultrasound were--duh!  They will send everything down to Minneapolis, of course, for the experts to evaluate--but everything looked good!  And they got a second "boy" opinion, too.  ;)
I just checked on my phone and it is zero degrees right now.  Dark, cloudy day and it doesn't look like we're expected to even reach into the 20s this next week.  Back in the deep freeze.  But we had a couple days there last week where it was above freezing--a hint of spring to come.  And spring will another month or two--LOL!  
 Anyways, time to get moving here.  
Have a super rest of your day.  :):)
"Mistakes are the portals of discovery."
James Joyce

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Good Morning!
I'm back!  
Grab a cup of coffee or tea and I'll fill you in on this past week.  :)
This was the pre-dawn full moon on Valentine's Day--there on the horizon under the street lamp looking a little orangish.  
We had a dusting of snow... 
...and it was still cold. 
The past couple days we made it above freezing and it smelled and sounded like spring out there--parking lot melting and birds rejoicing--was wonderful!  Today is supposed to be in the mid-20s, but then we will be back to the single digits.  Karma has been out on the porch keeping a hopeful eye out for swallows--LOL!
Speaking of Miss Karma...for those of you who remarked that Karma maybe needed cat grass (which I do grow for her several times a year)...
...I did plant some (thanks AliceKay--still using the seed you sent!) shortly after I discovered she was eating Phil and Fern... 
...and she is enjoying it, as usual, but didn't seem overly excited by its appearance, either?  Who knows why she suddenly went after Phil and Fern when they hadn't interested her in all these years?  The mystery of the Karma mind. 
Murphy's Law, right?  I finally bought the extra charger cord for the McLap so I can keep it at the table when I want to (getting older and the battery only lasts under two hours now instead of 7 or 8)--no sooner got it set up than I had no internet--LOL! 
Set up the removable clip to keep the cord from falling on the floor.  (Leah comes up with these brilliant solutions and I have these around the apartment for various cords.)  It will be easy now to grab this cord if I will be spending more time over at Dagan and Leah's this year, too.  ;)  
My original charger cord is wrapped and clipped intricately around my laptop table in such a way as to make the table easy to swing back and forth by my recliner--a real pain to disconnect and unwind.
Oh, and before I forget, when Dagan and Leah were here a week ago Weds--they drilled the hole in the paper drying rack...up a bit to where it should have been to hit the bottom bar so that it could hang at at least near a 90 degree angle. 
It didn't sag down loosely anymore (like at about 160 degrees), but it still was off about 10-15 degrees so Leah folded up some paper, sealed it up with masking tape, and attached it with poster tack for a kind of shim.  Tada!  Finally hangs at 90 degrees like it should have been constructed to do in the first place.  
I am going to do a review on Amazon with pictures because this was made so poorly in China that it's ridiculous.  Not everyone is blessed enough to have a tool girl with a drill, for goodness sakes!    
I tried to take these pictures to be able to also show how those long side hooks... 
...cannot reach that base piece... 
...without twisting it a bit to catch only one one side. 
Here's the other side.  Pathetic, right?  I hope the pictures show it.  What's the point in holding up the 20 wire shelves if you have the base still sticking out to bump into?  We have it taped up right now with the masking tape, as you can see, but Leah is going to pick up a couple of S-hooks. 
And we used some poster tack to attach the bottom of the rack to the window so it doesn't scratch the glass or move around.  Once we have the S-hooks it will be useable for regular, stiffer paper (like I will be using with my gelli plate!).
  We plan to try to find something smooth to cut up that we can lay over the wire racks so that the rack can eventually be used to hold wet handmade paper, too.  Going to be a challenge to find something fairly cheap for 20 shelves.  The only thing I can think of right off the bat is some kind of a stiffer removable plastic shelf liner--if there is such a thing?  If anyone has any ideas let me know.  :) 
Okay--Century Link.
The internet saga.
Such a long story...but, suffice it to say, they had told me it was fixed, right?  Wasn't.  After that long (and disappointing) phone call Thursday morning I was all prepared again to wait till the 19th when I got a phone call that afternoon from a lady named Bernice who said she could come out right then and she knew I didn't want anything done where I would be charged.  Great!
Bernice checked everything in the apartment, even traded boxes...but where I was supposed to be getting 7.168 it showed I was getting 4.128 (speed? bandwidth?) plus it was unstable and bouncing around from 11 to zero--(which was when it would freeze and crash)--and it was crashing every few minutes.  She went out to a huge box about a block or so away to check the port.  Had to shovel her way to even get to the box in the first place (we had wind chill warnings out that morning, too--poor thing!), replaced a "card", things were looking good, she came back, stood here watching the Century Link info page...was still bouncing about but staying up higher and not crashing.  We got all hopeful.  But then--crashed to zero.  Had taken less than half an hour.
Well, Bernice didn't have another card and it was getting late in the day.  She said somebody would be out to replace the bad new card (she confessed that Century Link gives them refurbished cards) either later that day or in the morning.
 They must really meet some eccentric people going into homes the way they do...and maybe I appeared quite eccentric to her never leaving my apartment which looks like an arts and craft book store...
She was standing by my laptop as we were discussing the plan, right?...and Karma flicked an ear.  Bernice almost jumped!  She thought Karma was stuffed!  ROFL!!!  Startled the hell out of Bernice--LOL!!  I'm still giggling just remembering this.  OMG!! 
You know how Miss Karma basically doesn't like anyone but me (and I am sometimes on her last nerve)--well, she froze into her "I am invisible" thing...the whole time Bernice was here.  She freezes with her eyes slitted slightly so that she looks asleep, but she can see anyone who comes near her.  (One must be prepared to hiss at any given moment, of course.)  She didn't move from this very exact position for at least half an hour--not even when we were laughing and talking about her being "invisible".  (In her defense--it was also her naptime--LOL!)  Not even when I snapped this picture.   
 I suppose that does look like a good dead cat pose for the taxidermist, eh?
Now I know for an actual fact that I could be mistaken for a person who would stuff their beloved dead cat and set it in a chair next to her for company while she watches TV,reads blogs, and chats on email.  ROFLMAO!!
Don't worry.  
I am not that kind of girl.  ;)
The next day (Friday) Bernice called at 8:15am...put in a new card out there down the lasted over half an hour...still fluctuated, but not by much at all...appeared to be fixed once again, cancelled the appointment on the 19th, off she went...and it crashed 5 times in the next two hours.  *sigh*  
So, I was back on the phone Friday and they couldn't get anyone out until Monday, of course.  So, still no internet.  It was crashing regularly--sometimes I couldn't get on at all for hours.  I didn't dare try to write anything because it inevitably crashed and I would have to reboot and lose everything I wrote anyways.  I could read blogs and comments and delete.  When it would crash I would just shut it and come back later.  Basically that's all I could do--when I could get on--read and delete.  So I did do a bit of blog reading.  ;)
Bernice was back Monday in the late morning.  And for some unknown reason it was not crashing Monday--at all--after being horrible all weekend?  Murphy's Law.  But she could see it was still unstable and bouncing about--and I was still only getting 4.128.  Puzzled and trying to think of what else to do...she finally decided to go downstairs and double check in the phone/cable room for the building.  She decided to replace the wire/cord to my apartment down there--and poof! 7.128!!  Whoohoo!!
Bernice hung around watching the connection for another ten minutes or so--no fluctuation!  So, off she went.  We both had our fingers crossed.
Now, I have to say that Bernice was absolutely wonderful!!  I wasn't that thrilled with the phone people I had, but Bernice even gave me her card so I could call her if the McLap started crashing again.  It's because of her that I am planning to stay with Century Link.  She even called me yesterday to see if it was still working like it was supposed to.  Very nice lady who cares.  She was my internet angel!!
But after thinking it was fixed three times...I didn't trust to blog or write anything until it had been working for over 48 hours.  And it has!!!!  I've been catching up on youtube videos and watching Netflix streaming for two days--no crashing--ahhhh!!!  Am over halfway through the new season of House of Cards!  And now today--I am finally back in blogland with some actual confidence.  (Knock on wood!)
And what did I do in the meantime--besides repeatedly dealing with Century Link?  I read and read.  Finished the three library books and all the rest of Caroline's books.  Wrote letters.  Caught up on a lot of PBS shows I had recorded.  And I got out this binder clip from a worn out old binder I took apart years ago...
...that I figured maybe I could make into a new cloth covered binder one day... 
...since I still have these parts for it and a stack of note paper, too. 
Well, I save the cardboard that they use to mail stamp sheets to you from USPS.  So I cut down two sets of pieces to size and glued them together so I have two thicknesses for each piece so that it will be sturdier. 
Looks like this might work.  I have seen people do bookbinding like this on youtube, but have never tried it myself. 
 I picked out the floral ultrasuede and some tan for the inside cover.  I am not sure how to attach cloth--at all.  I hope I don't chicken out and use paper--LOL!  Wish me luck!
I also decided to play a bit at the art table in my junk journal. 
I am weeks behind on the Journal52--but week three was "You make me smile" and color makes me smile.  I had gessoed the left side but not the right--just left them--and slopped on some warm color and some cool color... 
...from my palette with Daniel Smith watercolors.  (Yes, I cleaned it as soon as I was done using it--you know how I am.)
I used some giant bubble wrap first with yellow and then green craft paint.
You can see the giant bubble wrap and the smaller bubble wrap above the journal...and off to the left is a prescription bottle, toilet paper roll cut in half, rubber insert to hold a glass votive securely (I used to have a few of those on my walls many years ago), and a piece of plastic that covered the prongs of a new plug.  Lots of trash tools!   
I used the blue and red craft paints with the smaller bubble wrap.  
Waited for that to dry... 
...and then used all the trash goodies to make circles and marks all over the place!  Can just throw them away afterwards!  Recycling trash is so cool!
I do love this page spread.  It really does make me smile.  Was having so much fun and I am so very happy with my various white platters from IKEA that I use for palettes for these mixed media techniques.  They are just perfect and clean up is a breeze.  :)
You knew I would be busy doing something or other while I was away.  I didn't comment, but I think I am caught up reading all your blog posts.  You knew this would be a long, chatty post when I could finally get back online.  It is amazing to me what a huge piece of my life this laptop has become.  Even Bernice knew that my social life in mostly here in cyberspace--so she tried very hard to fix that for me.  (Maybe she was trying extra hard for the poor, housebound woman with her stuffed cat--LOL!)  But I think it is finally fixed.  (Made me nervous to say that, but I am glad I have Bernice's number.)  
And this post is definitely long enough.  I am now feeling confident that I will actually be I am off to watch the rest of House Of Cards!!  ;)  
"Ironically, gratitude's most powerful mysteries are often revealed when we are struggling in the midst of personal turmoil."
Sarah Ban Breathnach