Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Book Review: The Abracadabra Kid

The Abracadabra Kid is award-winning author Sid Fleischman’s own story. It tells how he came to love magic and showmanship. How he went off to war, and came back as a writer (of sorts). How he morphed from journalism into writing stories and books. And how his humor and playfulness found a home in children’s literature.

This book combines many of my cherished pleasures: children's literature, biography, magic and humor.

You can read my entire book review on my website in The Bookshelf.

I received this hardbound book from a dear friend who knows the author. My book is signed, as you can see.

You know, I think I'd rather meet an author more than a rock star any day!

My favorite line from the book?

details accumulate ...
no detail is unimportant

Day 488: Happy Haunting!

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Happy Halloween

This pathetic paper pumpkin has been in our family for years now. I believe I bought it at a thrift shop when I was a single mom, decorating our "projects" apartment for Halloween — my two small girls, ages 2 and almost 4, in tow.

That was 19 years ago!

And now presenting, our prestigious paper pumpkin a la photograph.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

WIP: Eeyore [1]

I've decided to stitch another square for the cartoon quilt. I chose this chart of Eeyore. It was originally a design for a latch hook pillow top that my daughter Julie made (Eeyore is her favorite character).

Not having floss numbers to follow or a color photo to work from a has been a bit of a challenge. Hope I got close enough on the colors I chose.

This will be my November quilt square donated to CrossStitching
For Charity.

This is what the original latch-hook pillow looked like (found image on ebay!)

Day 487: EDM Challenge # 26

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Red Cabbage

Thought I'd try another
Everyday Matters challenge!
Challenge #26: Vegetable

I chose red cabbage because it's one of my favorites to eat. I like the way it swirls and curls in on itself. I like the juxtaposition of the purple against the white; the shiny against the dull. I like the way is looks succulent and intricate.

It reminds me of the human brain.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Day 486: At the River's Edge

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey
in my Photography section,
Root Snakes

The shifting levels of the Spokane River above the dam cause the trees at the river's edge to sometimes be close to the water and sometimes to have to reach for a drink.

These roots snake out from the trees on the shore, curling and searching for nourishment.

To me, they look like writhing snakes all tangled together.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Happy Dance: Rudolph Ornament

Here's my final ornament for charity. This Rudolph was a freebie and is by Blue Heron Designs.

You can read a bit more about it in my Stitcher's Studio in Cameo's Corner.

Day 485: Fallen Leaves

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Maple Impression

Leaves fall
Rains come
Sun returns
Leaves dry
Rake Rake Rake
Leaf leaves its mark

Sunday Secrets: Oct 28, 2007

For a number of months now I've been enraptured by the PostSecret website. If you don't know about it, I highly recommend you follow my link and find out!

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an amazing sociological experiment. Plus, it's just plain fun to see what secrets people are willing to share — and how many of the secrets resonate in me.

I've been saving my favorite PostSecret cards on my computer. Now I plan to share them on my blog with a link back to the original site so you can go look at the rest of them yourself and find the secrets that resonate with you.

This week, these struck a chord:

When I was little and worked at my dad's pizza shop, I'd sing my lungs out when I went out back to empty the trash. There were train tracks running behind the building. I was hoping the engineers would hear me and be impressed.

Me too! That's why I'm on this Creative Journey! It's one of the reasons I'm in counseling, too.

I don't hate my brain, but I feel sorry for it sometimes that its chemistry is off. I'd like to take it out and re-wire it so that it works without so much struggle.

Please. Please ask me. You'll probably appreciate my response. I may say yes. But you've got to ask.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Happy Dance: Train Bookmark

Here's the last bookmark I plan to stitch for charity this year.

I'm quite fond of this one! Love the simplicity of it.

The details of this design can be found in my Stitcher's Studio in Cameo's Corner.

Day 484: Halloween Surprise

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Jill

As a complement to Jodie's Jack, here is my Jill. So unoriginal, I know.

But she does seem to have that "Oh, no!" look on her face — just like when she saw Jack fall down and break his crown, doncha think?

Book Review: The Poisonwood Bible

I finished listening to the audio version of this book yesterday.

This is the story of missionary Nathan Price who, along with his wife and four daughters, goes off to the Congo in Africa in the late 1950s. I chose this book because it was part of Oprah's Book Club a while back.

My review? Only 3 stars.

You can read my entire book review in
The Bookshelf on my website.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Day 483: Crazed for Halloween

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Jack

It's that time of year! Time to show off our Halloween pumpkins.

This is the one Jodie decorated.

We found it's better for us to paint their faces on instead of carving them because they last through the holiday without growing fuzz inside. Ewwwwwwwwwwww!

Charity Sewing: My Third Quilt Top

This large (double/queen) quilt top took me three Wednesdays to put together for the St. George's Quilters. Did feel good to get a large one done, though. And I'm finally making friends with that Kenmore sewing machine that I use at the church.

I had a bit of trouble finding a surface large enough to hang the top for a photo, but I think you get the idea with this.

The three fabrics work really well together. This is one of the lovelier quilts, I think! Since we use whatever fabrics are donated to us, we sometimes come out with some rather *questionable* combinations. But these three work great together! Here's a close-up of the fabrics:

The pansy even has a bit of gold metallic in it. Really pretty!

I'm now stitching up a very graphic quilt top. It's got a lot of black in it with bright crayon colors — and chili peppers!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Happy Dance: Spiral Bookmark

Tonight I finished another bookmark for charity.

This fulfills my November obligation. Rather nice working a bit ahead of deadline for a change of pace.

I had a bit o' fun with the colors I used this time. You can read more about that in my Stitcher's Studio in Cameo's Corner.

Day 482: Sleep Tight

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Forest at Sunset

After emerging from the forest after my mushroom romp, this scene caught my eye.

The storms that roam over north Idaho at this time of year allow for a lot of sky eye candy. One only needs to look up daily to enjoy the show.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Day 481: On the Forest Floor

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section,
'Shrooms on a Log

I took a walk through the forest in the late afternoon today. Instead of staying on the main paths, I veered off on a minor trail. The ground is still damp there from the last rain.

I happened on a log ... a felled tree that had not decomposed much yet. On it grew a large family of mushrooms. In fact, there were three different kinds of mushrooms growing on that log.

I got down on my knees, eye level to the growth, and captured this shot.

They look like a family, supporting one another, heads pressed together, cuddled up for safely among the stray pine needles.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Day 480: Swarm

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Return of the Gnats

Last week I took a photo of one of the many, many gnats that landed on my sweater when I was out for a bike ride. The following day, the gnats were gone. The storms came through. The air was breathable.

But today, the sun was back out. As were the gnats. In force.

I love the way they look like glitter hanging in the rays of the late afternoon sun. I was pleasantly surprised that this image showed them to advantage.

Happy Dance: Clown Ornament

I stitched up this little clown as another ornament for charity.

It's another cutie by Pamela Kellogg. Love the shading she puts in her designs!

You can find more details about the design in my Stitcher's Studio in Cameo's Corner.

Day 479: The Ladybird

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Jodie's Ladybug

My daughter Jodie took this photo for me!

As I was coming in from the mailbox, this ladybug landed on my shoulder. Not one to flick away good luck, I grabbed my +10 macro lens from the car, attached it to my camera, and wandered into Jodie's room. I stood by the window as she took the photos.

Didn't this come out great? Maybe Jodie will follow in my footsteps and do more with photography in the future!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Day 478: Threatening Sky

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey
in my Photography section,
Over the Moran Prairie

Yesterday's Harvest Festival was held on Spokane's south hill at the grange hall. The hill overlooks the Moran Prairie to the south.

It was a windy, rainy, stormy day with some splendid cloud formations arriving at sunset in between the raindrops.

Day 477: IT Folks at Play

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey
in my Photography section, Mentos Experiment

My husband's department had their annual harvest festival yesterday. Besides sharing lots of food and drink, there were fun events planned for the entire family:

* apple bobbing
* dry ice crystal balls
* dry ice "Boo Bubbles"
* 3-D snowflake crafts
* fun with Mentos and Diet Coke

Geeky fun when a roomful of techies gets together!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Happy Dance: Bugs Bunny

"What' s up, Doc?"

Bugs is done!

Happy little guy, isn't he?

Another contribution to a charity quilt.

I've posted a larger image in my Stitcher's Studio in Cameo's Corner.

Day 476: Eat Me!

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section,
Alice's 'Shroom

So when I went to the top of the hill to try and get a different perspective of the
Benign Mushroom Cloud,
I was disappointed that the sky had changed.

But I got pleased again when I looked down and saw a bunch of these unusual mushrooms. I didn't have my macro lens with me and the sun was in my eyes, so taking photos of the mushrooms with just the macro setting on my camera was a bit like a blind man pointing and shooting. I gave it a valiant try. This was the best photo of the bunch.

I like the perspective ... the grass mighty and tall, the mountains and trees dwarfish in the background. It reminds me of
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Can't you just imagine the
Caterpillar sitting atop this 'shroom, smoking it's hookah and daring Alice to take a bite?

Speaking of Alice ... have any of you seen this version of the classic? It's the best!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

WIP: Bugs Bunny

I've started another quilt square for charity. This time we're making a cartoon quilt. I chose to stitch Bugs Bunny. The chart is from an old Paragon leaflet.

I started the piece last night and only had the white of his tummy stitched. But I had lots of stitching time today so made some great progress!

He's missing the top of his head, but oh, my! Isn't he looking dapper in his blue coat!

Day 475: No Disaster Here

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Benign Mushroom Cloud

Here's proof that not all mushroom clouds spell imminent disaster.

I saw this wonderfully formed cloud as I was driving home from the grocery store. Formations such as these are common on these Fall days where storms roll across the prairie quickly, then dissipate.

I took this photo from the lowlands, over the interstate, and with a long lens. I then drove up a hill to see if I could get a better angle on the cloud formation. But by the time I got to the top of the hill, the cloud had rearranged itself.

One of the cool things about photography is that each image can be so fleeting. If I'm going to get interesting shots, I need to have my camera handy, and my eyes open to recognizing events and scenes that are interesting, unusual, or on which I can get my own unique perspective.

I missed one this morning. I drove Jodie to school just as the sun was rising and throwing a double layer of light over some clouds. It would have been a gorgeous shot! But my camera was in my studio, plugged into my computer. This will teach me to be more vigilant!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Day 474: The Blue Gnats of Autumn

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my
Photography section, Gnat

We live within walking distance of the Spokane River. Every fall, we have a week where the breeding grounds of the river just goes nuts with the gnats. They rise and swarm in the millions. The closer you live to the river, the more in touch you get with these blue-bodied bugs.

Looking out the window toward the evening sun, they actually look rather pretty — like fairy dust sparkles filtering the cool air.

But the swarms make taking a walk or riding a bike a bit of a test. I avoided my walks altogether after trying a 2-miler on the First Day of the Gnats. I think I ate three of them. (Protein?) Even with my head lowered, they kept bonking me in the glasses and splatting against my arms.

I did try a bike ride to the post office three times this week. With each attempt, about 100 of the gnats lost their lives as they whacked into my chest. I had to take my sweater off outside and shake it out real well before entering the house.

Taking photos of these critters is not so easy, even with a +10 macro lens! For one thing, they move really fast. For another, they are teeny! This little guy is sitting on my sweater ... he landed there after my bike ride was over. All his cousins are just guts and parts stuck in the fibers.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Happy Dance: Tulip Bookmark

This is the October bookmark that I stitched for my charity group. So good to be caught up with these, too. Guess I'll have to get my crochet hook and yarn out soon and whip up four more preemie or chemo caps.

This sweet design is a freebie from the Kissy-Cross blog. You can learn more about it in my Stitcher's Studio in Cameo's Corner.

I'm not certain what my next project will be. I may finish another quilt top (queen size, this time) for the St. George's Quilters. I plan to work on it for 4 or 5 hours tomorrow.

I still need to do the finishing work on Boo. And I still need to order a mat and frame for the wedding sampler.

And I have a Bugs Bunny quilt square for charity that needs to be done by November.

Day 473: Jiggly at the Core

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section,
Deep in Bloom [10]

Sometimes I feel like this flower. Reaching for full bloom, but feeling a little tattered around the edges. At my core is symmetry, but the pieces are a bit jiggly and uncertain and odd bits stray in.

But still and always, High Color and not afraid to show it!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Happy Dance: Merry Kitty Klaus

Here's my October ornament! Now I'm all caught up with my ornament charity stitching. One more bookmark ... and four hats to crochet ... and then I'll really be caught up.

This is a little guy from the Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament Issue. You can read more about him in my Stitcher's Studio in Cameo's Corner.

A 45 Minute Day

My "To Do" list is extraordinarily long today. So I've decided to have a 45 min day.

That means, 45 minutes of concentrated effort, and a 15 min break so that I don't feel so put-upon. While I work, I'm listening to the audio version of The Poisonwood Bible ... a great way to keep my mind active while my hands are busy.

* showered, dressed, ate breakfast
* put clean sheets on bed
* two loads laundry (one washed, two folded and put away)
* cleaned master bathroom thoroughly

I'll just keep this list updated as part of taking a break today ... let's see how far I can get. Maybe I'll even take photos of my nice clean home when I'm done and post some.

* watered and fertilized plants
* another load of laundry (one washed, one folded and put away)
* cleaned the kitchen (and wiped down cabinets and counters)
* swept all the hardwood floors upstairs
* vacuumed all carpet upstairs
* swept front porch

* dusted downstairs (Dale's office, my studio, library)
* collected trash around the house and took it to garage
* took the recycling out
* filled water bottles (5)
* cleaned out the car, dusted, emptied litter bag
* dusted upstairs
* 1 load laundry (one washed, one folded and put away)

OK. I'm starting to get tired now. One more 45 min session, then I get a longer break to eat lunch and stitch.

* phone call with niece about family educational trust
* 1 load laundry (folded and put away)
* mail out
* cleaned the litter box and cat area, fed the cat
* vacuumed the stairs
* mopped the wood floors

YEAH! Lunchtime! After lunch, my "To Do" list has things on it that are much more fun than cleaning!

* finished the stitching on my cat ornament

* added the new ornament to my website and blog
* caught up on e-mail

* wrote a post card to a niece
* wrote a sympathy card to my cousins
* took a 3 mile bike ride to the post office
* took photos of gnats (really!)

* made a series of phone calls concerning an embroidery for hire job
* shaped eyebrows
* shaved legs and played 'beauty shop'
* fed the cat
* folded last load of laundry

I think that's enough work for one day!
Time to eat dinner -- and STITCH!

Day 472: The Color of My Soul

I added this new photograph
to Creative Journey
in my Photography section,
Deep in Bloom [9]

When I opened my photo today to re-size it, I considered what the blog entry title might be. I came up with "The Color of My Soul" because ... I don't know ... this rose just speaks to me. The pinky-orangey-red color with bits of yellow at the tips. Really pretty. Quite vibrant. And this one just looks like it will smell great.

So I decided to check online to see what I could find out about this color if indeed it is the color of my aura. Look what I found!

Orange Red: Confidence, creative power. In a good, bright and pure state, red energy can serve as a healthy ego.

YELLOW AURA COLOR: Relates to the spleen and life energy. It is the color of awakening, inspiration, intelligence and action shared, creative, playful, optimistic, easy-going.

Yowsa! I find that fascinating!

I don't know about the "confidence" part ... that's something I'm really trying to learn. I have confidence in a few corners of my life. And "easy-going" comes and goes depending on my stressors.

But, WOW! The rest of the definition fits me quite well!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Happy Dance: Joy Ornament

Another small finish!

This is the ornament obligation for September that I'll be submitting for charity. I'm almost caught up!

You can read the details of this in Cameo's Corner in my Stitcher's Studio

Day 471: Gone to Seed

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in
my Photography section,
Deep in Bloom [8]

Sometimes, it's the seedpods that are blooming.

Check out the subtle colors and the sparkles. Nature is amazing. I love to look at it close up.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Day 470: Deep, Rich and Brilliant

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my
Photography section,
Deep in Bloom [6]

I know with a blog post title like this you were expecting another self-portrait ...... but no.

This time I was only speaking of the colors of this flower.

Friday, October 12, 2007

WIP: Boo [4]

Stitching's Done!

I finished all the stitching on Boo today and got him washed and pressed. Now, to figure out how I want to finish him. A pillow? A banner? Hmmmmm.

I decorated for Halloween this afternoon, and find I already have a pillow, three framed pieces [1, 2, 3], a door knocker, a 3-D basket, a T-shirt, and a wire whimsie on perforated plastic. (Guess I enjoy stitching for Halloween!)

So I'm leaning toward the banner idea. Perhaps how I finish Boo will be determined by the supplies I already have in my stash.

Day 469: Succulent

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my
Photography section,
Deep in Bloom [6]

Not everything that blooms
is a flower ...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

WIP: Boo [3]

He's Got Eyes!

Boo boy is coming right along. If I have a few more hours, I may be able to finish him tomorrow!

Day 468: Stop and Smell the Roses

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my
Photography section,
Deep in Bloom [5]

For the next week or so, I'll continue my Deep in Bloom series.

Fall is in full color here in north Idaho, but the flowers are trying hard to hang on, adding to the array of hue and scent.

I sort of like this time of year when the blooms show so many imperfections, bitten by the frost and the bugs.

Let's hear it for the garden's last hurrah!