Monday, August 31, 2009

The Joy of Moving

I've decided that maybe I will journal the move and that way I can keep the blog current even though the topic, well at least to me, is rather droll!

All weekend long my husband and I have been purging. The new house is smaller than our current house and it has much less storage space. I used to hold onto recycled containers and old cardboard boxes to use as forms for paper mache but since space is limited, I have been making trips to the recycling drop offs on an every other day basis. It's a bit of a pain but I feel better thinking I'm doing what I can to help the environment. Needless to say my studio is torn up! I have been dragging everything out of the closet and storage spaces, going through it and discarding or repacking depending on what I find.

Today I have errands to run, the little one and husband need food, can you believe that? I also ran out of dishwashing detergent, which is odd since I usually have an extra or two on hand at all times. Since we are going to be able to move-in early(after the 16th), I hope to take many small trips before the big move to start setting up the house. If it will fit in the car, I hope to move it before the big day. Draperies are first. I really hate washing, ironing and hanging drapes, don't know why but I do. I used to love to wash and iron my bedding and make my bed with the crisp, clean sheets but drapes, eh...... I worked at JCPenney's as a visual merchandiser and had to do housewares. We were required to iron all the bedding before redoing a display, I always loved the bedding but hated the drapes. Just a weird little tidbit. But I digress, today I have to wash all the draperies and get them ready for the move, continue to pack up my studio and hopefully start packing up the kitchen and bath (especially the stuff we don't use all that often). The good thing about going in stages, we can reuse boxes and will need less, plus moving day is bad enough when you have to move all the heavy furniture and appliances, who wants to move 600 boxes of random stuff, too? [By the way, 600 is a random number, hopefully we won't have that much stuff!:o)]

Off I go to the recycling drop off! Have a glorious day!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Available Seeds

chinese forget me nots


sweet peas
(these could end up being a darker pink or creamy white depending on the plant)

four o'clocks
(these should look similar to the above photo but some flowers are almost completely yellow and others completely magenta. They smell fabulous)


Can't guarantee they'll grow but I can't see how they wouldn't. If you need more info on any of these let me know, most are pretty easy to grow but some don't like to be transplanted, some are tender and need to be planted after the last frost and some do well being started early and then transplanted, it just depends on the plant! :o)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What's new in Elfland

There is much activity in Elfland as of late! I just celebrated my birthday this past Sunday, my husband thought I was 39 at first so I'm going to just go along with that(he later realized after I kept asking how old am I today?) Sometimes it's nice to be married to a man younger than you who has a bad memory! :o) As I told him, I'll take 39, my dad was 39 for years! LOL

We are moving to the new house at the end of September (which is why I haven't been able to post much as of late) I have been pulling things out of the recesses of this house and deciding what stays and what goes. I have already decided that about half of the books I own are going and have thrown away old art supplies that had seen better days. I am currently going through the kitchen cupboards and clearing out old unused dishes, cups and the like. Boy, Salvation Army is going to have a field day with some of this stuff! Before I met my husband I had started collecting dishes, you know every single woman needs to own at least 4 sets of dishes to set the tone for the dinner parties that never really took place. Time to get rid of all the ones that scream single woman and that really never get used!

Needless to say with the move looming, I don't have a lot of time to work on my ornaments although I hope to put together a few candy ornament craft kits since they don't take much space or many materials. One of the first rooms to get set up in the new house is my studio! I have already organized everything so that it can be loaded into the car and transported before the moving truck! (The other rooms that take priority, the kitchen and loo! )

The last thing to go will be the garden, I have decided to move a couple perennials that have moved with us from Columbus but many I am leaving behind or harvesting seeds. Speaking of seeds, I have huge amounts of seeds from some of my annuals (four o'clocks, sweet peas, cosmos) If you are interested in some let me know, I'd be happy to mail some your way. I'll do another post with photos of the flowers that I have seeds for in the near future.

I guess that's it for now, I can't wait to start churning out some new ornaments but that will probably be closer to October. I will keep you updated on any progress with the move and ornaments!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The New Neighborhood

These are pictures we took when we went to go see our potential new residence. Headlands Beach State Park is a couple miles from the home we looked at. There is also a nature area (the Mentor Marsh) that has hiking trails nearby. The city of Mentor is a bike friendly community and has bike paths in many neighborhoods, some that actually run from the neighborhood we would be living in to the beach park.

I grew up in Mentor and, ironically, vowed never to live there again (I also said that about Cleveland when I was 18 and then I lived in Detroit, Harrisburg, PA and Columbus, OH and realized it and its residents weren't all that bad after all) Mentor is a fine community to raise a family. Other nice features in our new neighborhood are the playground/splash park at the end of the street, within walking distance, and a very highly rated elementary school.

The home is smaller but the reality is our family actually enjoys togetherness. We are a pretty laid back family and we enjoy spending time together. If we need space, we have our own little rooms to disappear into or if we feel so inclined we can easily walk out the door and hike, walk or bike in beautiful surroundings. Plus, a smaller house is easier to keep clean and I have better things to do with my time besides clean (like make elves!! and take care of one fabulous toddler!) It's quiet, safe and offers a healthier, higher quality of life for all of us.

Oh, and the part I really like, the house actually has outdoor plugs so we could put up Christmas decorations!:o)

Monday, August 17, 2009

In the Works!

Thank You all for your kind words of support!

I've been rather frenetic as of late, thinking about moving all of this 'stuff' is just something I find rather unappealing. So I've been purging. I think after the first event, I realized how truly blessed we were, how we must have angels on our shoulders looking over us and protecting us from harm.

When you put things in their proper perspective you start to realize what is important and what isn't. While I will miss my little garden, I can start again. While I like the beautiful woodwork of this old house, I love the peace of mind of living in a safer community. While I love the spaciousness of this house, I have been thrilled to purge old things that I had dragged from home to home to home over the past 12 years that in retrospect just took up space. It is freeing to let go of things that really have no bearing on the quality of your life, things that just add complexity and chaos to a life that is rich and fulfilling in it's simplest form.

While ridding myself of things I no longer wish to own, I've started on a new creative pursuit. I have been so inspired by some fellow artists that work in paper clay that I have decided to try it myself. The photos are the first attempt at sculpting an elf. The sculpting material I used was not a quality paper clay, it was a modeling 'material' that was difficult to smooth and dried with an odd foam feel. However for a first attempt, aesthetically speaking, it's not too shabby and this little elf of mine is growing in fondness in my heart as he begins to come to life! I'll share his finished result when I can.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Kindred Spirit: Athena Workman

I had the idea for Kindred Spirits at the beginning of the year and I dropped the ball. I really want it to be a monthly feature though because there are so many talented artists out there that I want to share.

I believe I found Athena while dropping entrecards. I don't remember exactly where and when but I do know that I adore her style. I wish I could develop one so distinctively my own that is still full of whimsy. I love that her work is lighthearted and whimsical without being trite. There is a certain sadness or loneliness yet it isn't depressing. It is a very interesting combination!
One of my favorite pieces of hers is "Tightrope" , I pine over it on a semi-regular basis! (And secretly hope that it is still available when I actually have the money to spend.) So without further ado, here is Athena Workman in her own words!

My name is Athena Workman, and like my bio usually starts, I'm a married (for eighteen years) mother of two girls living in Tennessee. I'll be thirty-nine in September (whoa), and I've been drawing for thirty-seven of those years. I was born in Huntington, West Virginia, and have also lived in Florida, Texas, and Massachusetts. One day I'd like to either finally permanently plant my roots back in MA, or in Pennsylvania.

I'm a pretty shy person, although weirdly enough, I'm a pretty good public speaker and am friendly/nice enough when people approach me. I think my introverted nature led me to draw the things I do. I've reached a point in my life where my older daughter is in school, and my younger daughter is finishing high school (she is homeschooled), and I'm searching for something to do with the rest of my life. I'm sort of, hesitantly, weighing finally going to school to get a photography degree. Sorry, but at this stage in my career, I just can't see myself sitting in an art class and being told what to do.

Some of my hobbies are gardening, experimental baking (meaning, baking new things and forcing my family to eat them), and usually, entering stuff in the state fair and winning as many ribbons as possible. I’m also mommy to three hermit crabs (Mesh, Mr. Man, and Lucky), two big old male cats (Ollie and Salem), and one dog (Pippi). Salem is the alpha male and keeps them all in line; i.e., terrorizes them.I started "Miss Millificent's World" at Etsy in the spring of 2007 (I also used to run "Groovin' Pop!", but I closed it this year) as a way to sell prints of my art, and my art-related jewelry. One of my resolutions for 2009-- which I've surprisingly kept up well-- was to concentrate more on gallery sales, and getting into more galleries and exhibits; my art seems to do MUCH better "in person". That in part led me to revamp Miss Millificent's World at Etsy ( this summer. I'd pretty much closed the shop for good, and around the same time I had to quit my job as a cake decorator because of carpal tunnel. Being in the midst of empty nesting, I was wandering around, trying to figure out a way to spend my time without spending any money. I got out all my polymer clay (from old, abandoned projects) and made a little cake. I was surprised, but pleased, to see that I could recreate cakes in clay, and it didn't kill my hands. I decided to revamp Miss Millificent's World, showcasing "bakery sweets" jewelry, odd and Day of the Dead jewelry, and some of my photography, which always sold better anyway. I will also be offering notecards as soon as I get my little photo area set up again for that.

All that said about the old Miss Millificent's World, I'm in the process of revamping my site ( so that if anyone wants to buy a print, they can do so through my site.

Drawing and art as a career came about the long way. Sometimes I like to compare myself to Beryl Cook, who didn't start painting until later in her life. While I did draw intermittently throughout my life, my main goal was to be a horror writer. I've been published about two dozen times, in magazines, ezines, and anthologies, and actually was getting really good reviews, but then I got a horrible case of writer's block. I remember writing the last story I had published, and it was like getting a root canal on all your back teeth. To this day, the writer’s block is still a little traumatic. So, I turned back to artwork as an outlet for my creativity, and I'm thankful that I'd kept up my skills all these years. I'm also thankful that getting into galleries and showing my work isn't *anywhere* near as hard as getting a story published (it took me nine years of rejections before my first acceptance!). If it was, well... I'd be locked away somewhere in a straitjacket.

Nowadays, I can't see myself doing anything else. And the pure joy I feel when I come up with a great idea for a drawing or series is only topped by when I finish a piece I truly love.

*Like I've said before , I love theoretical questions so I asked Athena the one I will ask of all my Kindred: If you could invite any 5 people (alive or dead) to your place for dinner, who would you invite and what would you serve?

Oh, this is fun.
1. Robert McCammon. He is one of my favorite horror writers, and just plain *writers*, of all time. I'd try to get him to spill all the details about his Matthew Corbett series.
2. Gene Hackman. My husband says GH is my "favorite old guy". I would totally gush over "The French Connection" and try to persuade him to go back into acting, because he can't leave it at that "Mooseport" movie.
3. My old friend Elsie. I knew her when I lived in Salem, Massachusetts, and she was the nursery teacher at our Unitarian-Universalist church (and she joked that that was the only way you could get her into church, heh), so she took care of my girls when they were little. She was also an inspiration to me to be a better person, to do better by the world. I still miss her, and would love to sit down with her again.
4. Mary Engelbreit. She was the first artist that I really noticed make it as someone who draws (that was actually before I knew Edward Gorey's name... before that, I just knew that I loved the cartoon that introduced "Mystery!"). I think it’s crappy that it’s not as respected as painting or sculpture, so I’d love to hear if she has thoughts on that.
5. Russell Brand. The guy’s friggin’ funny.

What would I serve? Well, you can’t go wrong with a chicken dish, usually, so I’d probably do something with sautéed chicken breasts, cheese and peppers. If someone’s a vegetarian, I’d make my husband cook. I make a blue ribbon parmesan-oregano bread, and since mashed potatoes are my all-time favorite food, I have perfected them. I dare you to challenge my mashed potatoes! For dessert, it’s a tossup between triple chocolate cake (whipped chocolate ganache between layers of chocolate cake, wrapped in chocolate sheets) or blueberry spiced cream pie.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Athena as much as I did and will visit her shop, blog and website! You never know, you may just find something you can't live without. I know I did!

Thank you Athena! <3

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What's Going On?

For those of you who have been following my blog for a little while, you may have noticed I haven't been posting much as of late. While I was working on some projects that isn't really the reason for my absence.

About a week and a half ago, our next door neighbor's house was shot at with a 9mm pistol. The round went through their front window and destroyed their 75 gallon aquarium. Luckily, the neighbor wasn't sitting at her computer at the time like she often does in the middle of the night(our neighborhood is usually quiet in the overnight hours, but then I'm usually sleeping, so what do I know!)A second round went through their neighbor's dining room window and ricocheted through their living room. A third round may have been fired but no evidence was found.It appears that the shooters must have been in a vehicle in front of our house. The part that rattled me the most is that due to the balmy weather, my son and I were sleeping on the couch in front of a large picture window in the front of the house. Even scarier is the fact that neither one of us woke up. My husband heard shots but since people in the neighborhood like to set off firecrackers at all hours, he thought that is what he heard. He was horrified when the neighbor told him what had happened while he was taking Dharma out for her morning constitutional.He told me in no uncertain terms that we needed to move...yesterday. I stressed to him that that was not possible but that I would start looking.

Less than a week later, our neighbor across the street had the window in his car shot out by a group of young adults on a joy ride on the west side of Cleveland. They did upwards of $40,000 damage to over 100 cars. The neighbor's car was parked directly in front of our house.

I'm not one to overreact to incidents but these two events caused me concern. Mostly because of my little one. The saddest thing is that now we are going to move out of my friend's house which I must admit I've grown rather fond of. Plus, my garden has finally gotten to a point where I'm very content with it. I didn't feel comfortable sharing what was going on in my personal life until I talked to my friend that own's the house. Only my two closest friends knew.

We may have found a new home to move to, it is much smaller than what we are currently in but it is in the suburbs with an excellent school system. It doesn't have the character of this old house but it gives me a sense of safety and security and that is very important at this moment in time. We just put in our application and I told my friend what was happening. I am sad.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Crazy Squash, Zinnias and Dahlias

We only have about a foot and a half of dirt on the edge of the drive. I planted the squash there and have been pulling the vines out over the drive. My mom says it's probably good for keeping slugs away and from the bumper crop of butternut squash I have developing(only one or two spaghetti squash have made it), I would think she may be right. My husband hates the vines but they don't bother me, I realize they are making food for my table(he doesn't like squash but my son and I do) The dahlias and zinnias are blooming and the Chinese forget me nots keep going too! It is a very tall, dense flower bed but mighty pretty!

Friday, August 7, 2009

My 300th Post!

Alien flowers, also known as Cleome

A strawberry bon bon ornament

6 elves coming to life

Organizing my elf supplies

feathers waiting to be made

1 finished feather

first layer of feathers

another layer of feathers

The angel wings are coming together nicely. I have German glass glitter en route and hope to start assembling the wings soon. We are expecting a mini heatwave here in the next couple of days so today I hope to finish all the feathers that are cut out . (Standing over a hot ironing board during 90 degree weather is not fun!)

Well that is it, I had originally planned something more exciting but it required my husband scanning photos and since he's been in a mood lately with work, I decided not to do it right now. (once I start selling again, I should be able to invest in my own scanner, that will be a happy day!)

Thanks to everyone who stops by to check out the blog, I wouldn't be here with out you guys!

Monday, August 3, 2009

More Photos of the Black Beauty Lily

This is the view passersby see

Top view
(You can see how the petals recoil )

Another level view

This photo is getting up under it
(you can see the underside of the porch in the background if you look closely.)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Black Beauty Lily

I opened the front door this morning and to my delight the Black Beauty lily had opened!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!