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Monday, December 31, 2007

Finishing Up the Year....

There are a few things I need to catch up on so this might be a potpourri of thoughts! Like that never happens with me!

First, I received a PIF package from Victoria last week and I'm just now putting it on here for you to see! Me....late?? NEVER!! :-)



She sent me all these cute cards. I hope you can read them. They're so cool. Thanks, Victoria! These will come in handy for writing notes and letters.

And since you all know I don't have nearly enough STUFF in the studio (!!!) I had to use my 50% off coupon at Michael's the other day. I went thinking I would buy some paintbrushes but got sidetracked and came home with this....


front view


back view

Did anyone see that cute little crow stamp in there?? Now, I wonder who that reminds me of?

This was priced at $49.99, and it was marked down to $19.99 which I thought was more reasonable so I decided to get it. I bought another stamp, one of those blocks with a stamp on each side, and figured I'd use my coupon on that since you can't use it on a sale priced item. WRONG!! When the girl rang me up she deducted the 50% from the stamp kit above so I got it for about $10! All those stamps plus four ink pads, chalk, ribbon, stickers and notecards. I think I did pretty good on that! Plus there's a set of alphabet stamps in a larger size than the ones I have now. To buy those would have been as much or more than I paid for the entire kit! So I felt pretty darned good about my foray into the after-Christmas shopping frenzy.

As for celebrating the New Year tonight, I think it will be hot chocolate in front of the fireplace with HB and the kitties. No partying for us this year! But we don't ever go out on New Year's Eve anyway. Both of us worked in the restaurant/bar business in our younger days and have no desire to get out in that mass of people! We used to refer to it as Amateur Night when I was a bartender. HB and I usually have a small bottle of champagne but not this year. I don't think Coumadin and champagne go together!!

I hope whatever you do to celebrate that you have a wonderful evening and share it with the ones you love. And be safe....

And "just bee-cause" you know I love these things, I thought I would finish out the year with a quiz!

You Are A Blue Girl

Relationships and feelings are the most important things to you.
You are empathetic and accepting - and good at avoiding conflict.
If someone close to you is in pain, it makes you hurt as well.
You try to heal the ones you love with your kind and open heart.



I think that part about "if someone close to you is in pain, it makes you hurt as well" must be true 'cause you all know I was hurting (my calves!) last week!

Happy New Year!!! Have a good one and I'll see you in 2008....

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas at Our House....

Before this year ends I thought I would share with you a couple of Christmas photos before it was too late. We had a very nice Christmas although it was a bit subdued. My favorite photos are these of my daughter enjoying her favorite cookies....first opening them....



and then sampling one of them....



This is my grandson opening one of his gifts....he looks so serious!



And HB was happy with his new book....



He loves this guy and watches him almost every day on CNBC. Every year I know I can buy him the newest book and he'll be happy.

HB bought a book for me!! Wonder why he would think of doing that?! I love it....it's "The Art of Feminine Drawing"....sorry about the glare but the book is very light gray in color and has a reflective mirror-like thing on the front so it was difficult to get a good photo....



This is our little tree in the family room. It looks a bit pathetic and forlorn with just a few gifts under it but as I said earlier, our new counter tops were most of our Christmas. Then with HB in the hospital I didn't get to do my last minute shopping so everyone just got a little bit this year. The main thing is, we were together.



Now if you aren't thoroughly bored with Christmas I'd like to show you an ornament I made for my friend, Gail....



And last but not least here's my daughter with the beaded doll I made for her....



I think she likes it.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Have a Cocktail and Relax....

Is everyone ready to party? There's only a short amount of time left in this old year and I for one will be glad to see this year in my rear view mirror! I began it with such high hopes and ended it in a state of exhaustion! So here's a little cocktail to celebrate....

The Recipe For janet

3 parts Flair
2 parts Power
1 part Wisdom

Splash of Moxie

Limit yourself to one serving. This cocktail is strong!


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The report on the patient is as follows....HB is doing much better and is actually up and walking around a bit. He still has to have a couple of scans and x-rays to try and determine why the blood clot formed. He didn't take any long flights nor did he have any kind of injury so the doctor wants to rule out everything until he discovers the culprit that caused all this. And the weekly blood tests must continue for as long as HB's taking the Coumadin. But no more running up and down the stairs for me! Yay!!

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Recently I did another tree picture. I'm not completely happy with this one. It doesn't seem to have a reason! But here it is anyway....



I used a really great black marker that Maryellen sent to me, and I love it. Tria is the name of it and it has three different tips! It gave me a pretty dark black like I'm trying to achieve. Hopefully I can get back into the studio tomorrow and do some more art. I'm feeling rusty!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Still on Duty....

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and that Santa was good to you. In spite of all the problems, HB and I enjoyed the day with Molly and Ryder. We had a nice meal, opened our gifts, and there were actually pictures taken....but I haven't downloaded them yet.

This morning we had to be up very early to be at the hospital so HB could have his blood test and then tomorrow he will see the doctor. So far he's being a pretty good patient. I've only had to smack him a couple of times!! :-) And by the time this is all over I should have calves of steel from going up and down the stairs. Maybe I'll make a video of how to have "Calves of Steel" sort of like "Buns of Steel" and then I'll be famous. All you have to do is have a husband who is restricted to being quiet and live in a two-story house.

Our next door neighbors have been fantastic since they got home from their cruise. I can't tell you how nice it is to know there are still people like this who are willing to do just about anything to help us out.

Thank you to everyone who has commented and sent me messages over the past few days. I have read each and every one and appreciate them all....but there is just no way I can respond to each one of them right now. And I haven't been around to visit any blogs....just no time to do that....maybe I can visit tonight. Just know that I'm thinking of all of you.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Nurse Janet, Reporting for Duty....



Hi to everyone and a huge big humongous THANK YOU for all your comments and messages. They must have done the trick because HB came home last night! He has to be quiet (that's going to be difficult!) and take it easy. HB has to go back right after Christmas for another check up and he will be on the medication for two months. So far, so good.

Now I just have to get a nurse's uniform and some running shoes on so I can keep up with everything. No driving for HB! And since we have a two-story house it means a lot of running up and down the stairs. He was borderline but the doctor said he would trust me to keep him quiet!

Thank you again for all your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, December 21, 2007

When It Rains, It Pours....



Would you believe that I woke up yesterday morning to find water all over my kitchen floor?!! And my next door neighbor, who I always depend on when HB is not here, left on a cruise with his family Tuesday morning! So could it get any worse?

HB is still in the hospital but I wasn't able to see him because I was busy dealing with the kitchen crisis! He has been getting shots in his stomach....OUCH!!!....and he said they're not pleasant. The doctor changed the medication and started HB on Coumadin. That is scary as I've heard all kinds of horror stories about that stuff.

When I checked HB into the room, the nurse didn't believe me when I said he didn't take any medications, not even over-the-counter ones! But actually neither one of us takes any medications. And we'd like to keep it that way!!

Thank you ever so much for all your messages and thoughts and prayers. They are much appreciated by both of us. I told HB about them when I talked with him yesterday....about a 100 times!! I'm sure the switchboard (or whatever they use now) was kept busy with me calling every 5 minutes!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Paging Dr. McDreamy....

I just got home from a looooong day. HB had an appointment to see his primary care physician and he took one look at HB's leg and said "you're going to the hospital." It's a deep vein thrombosis which is exactly what the ER people said he didn't have on Saturday! He's been in pain ever since then and this morning it was worse again. Thank goodness for HB's regular doctor.

I'm tired and hungry and stressed and just about anything else you can imagine. I'm sure I won't be around Blogland much over the next few days.

Please keep HB in your thoughts.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Hoopla

Junie has tagged me to do this Hoopla!!

Here are the golden rules:
1. List 12 random things about yourself that have to do with Christmas.
2. Please refer to it as a ‘hoopla’ and not the dreaded ‘m’-word…
3. You have to tag specific people when you’re done. No “if you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged” stuff is allowed…then nobody ends up actually doing it. The number of people who you tag is really up to you — but the more, the merrier to get this ‘hoopla’ circulating through the blogosphere.
4. Please try and do it as quickly as possible. The Christmas season will be over before we know it! Let’s involve as many people as possible!
5. Please give Andrea some link-love as the “Hoopla-Creator!


Ok, Junie, here is my hoopla about Christmas:

1. Christmas has always been a favorite holiday for me. Not so much because of the gifts but more for the decorations. Years ago I would go insane with decorating!! If it stood still for a few seconds it got decorated. Now, not so much.

2. I love having a big Christmas tree. HB and I now own three artificial trees. One is 6' tall, one is 7.5' tall and our new one this year is 9.5' tall.

3. Many of my ornaments are ones I've had since I was a kid. Also I have a few that my kids made when they were little.

4. "O Holy Night" is my favorite Christmas song. I love the sound of it....the melody, I guess. Another one I like is "We Three Kings"

5. HB and I have bought a special ornament each year since our first Christmas together in 1990.

6. I love wrapping packages. Years ago I was the designated wrapper in our family! Many times I wrapped my own packages....and I never once peeked inside! One year I wrapped packages for almost an entire day because I helped a boyfriend wrap all his gifts and he had a huge family. I like making each one different, with matching ribbons, etc and I like perfect corners and hidden tape. But things have changed a bit and now I wrap them and I'm just happy they have paper on them!!

7. I'm still waiting for that one special gift I wanted as a child! I never did get a piano. One year I was certain that I was getting one. I heard all kinds of scraping sounds and it sounded as if something heavy was being brought into the house....but the next morning there was no piano. I don't even remember what it was I got that year because I was so disappointed.

8. As a kid I loved getting a doll for Christmas. And that's somehow a bit odd because I never was a motherly type! My last doll was a "walking" doll and my mom bought me a small trunk for her clothes and made her a complete wardrobe with everything from nightgown and robe to a coat and hat for going outside.

9. We always open our gifts on Christmas morning. HB and I sometimes open one gift on Christmas Eve but when my kids were small there was none of that! Santa came in the night and left everything under the tree so it was there when we got up in the morning.

10. I love going Christmas caroling but no one does it anymore! At least not like when I was younger. No one ever goes around the neighborhoods, going door to door singing carols. I miss that.

11. My mom and I used to bake dozens and dozens of cookies to give as gifts. I had a double oven stove back then and she would come to my house and we would bake for the entire day....sometimes doing that a couple of times. We stored all the cookies in empty coffee cans and then when we got ready we would assemble plates and boxes of cookies and candy for friends, neighbors, family and my mom's co-workers. I loved doing that. I still love to bake cookies but not that many!!

12. Speaking of cookies, I always bake Molly's favorite cookie every year. The recipe only makes a small batch so I usually make a couple batches at least because she gets one batch just for herself! They're called Mocha Nut Balls and they were one of the cookies my mom and I used to make. Here is the recipe:

1 C soft butter
1/2 C sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp instant coffee (I use more)
1/4 C cocoa powder
1 3/4 C sifted flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 C finely chopped pecans

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until light. Add dry ingredients. Mix well, and then add the nuts. Form into 1" balls, place on cookie sheet and bake at 325º for about 15 minutes. Cool and then roll them in powdered sugar. Believe me, these are addictive!

Ok....that's my 12 things about Christmas. Now since the rules are very specific and say I can't just say this is for whoever wants to do it I'll choose Sheila, Groggy Froggy Lisa, Pam, and Beth. Sorry!! I know it's the busy time of the holidays!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

What I've Been Up to....

Please forgive me for being, once again, way behind in blog visits. But this time I really do have an excuse!

Yesterday I spent a good part of the day at the hospital! No, not for me....with HB. He woke up with a huge lump in his leg just above his knee. I insisted he call the doctor and he said go straight to the ER!

After all the signing in, waiting, more signing, more waiting, we finally got to see a doctor. They ran some tests and did an ultrasound of HB's leg....that was interesting to watch!....and they eventually declared there was no immediate danger. No deep vein clots or anything like that....whew! So we were sent home with instructions for him to keep his leg elevated.

Have you ever tried to keep a guy from getting up and doing stuff?! It's an almost impossible thing to do! Just call me nursemaid Janet! All in all it was not how either of us had planned to spend our Saturday!

And more bad news for me. My son is not going to make it here for Christmas. He has hurt his back and won't be able to be here. I'm really bummed out about that because it would have been the first time since the early 80's when both my kids would be with me for Christmas.

The good news is we are not having any bad weather as so much of the rest of the country is having. This is when I'm very glad I live where I do! No ice storms, not much snow, if any and that's just the way I like it. I hope all of you reading this are safe and warm and snug in your homes and that you have electricity and lots of hot chocolate!! Be safe....

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Another Little Piece of Art....

Yesterday I finally put all my Christmas cards in the mail. Whew!! Hopefully they will all arrive in time.

Today I have lots of errands to run so this will be short....but I promised you I'd show another piece of art I finished so here it is....(This is 9" x 12" on Bristol.)



"She Watches Over Land and Sea"

Once again I messed up the hand. I just can't seem to get them right. Also I have a halo sketched in with pencil but I'm undecided about adding it. What do you think??

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And just because I love them so much here are a couple of quiz thingies....

You Are 71% Creative

You are beyond creative. You are a true artist - even if it's not in the conventional sense of the word.
You love creating for its own sake, and you find yourself quite inspired at times.


Unconventional....moi? Never!!!

Your Career Type: Artistic

You are expressive, original, and independent.
Your talents lie in your artistic abilities: creative writing, drama, crafts, music, or art.

You would make an excellent:

Actor - Art Teacher - Book Editor
Clothes Designer - Comedian - Composer
Dancer - DJ - Graphic Designer
Illustrator - Musician - Sculptor

The worst career options for you are conventional careers, like bank teller or secretary.


So, true....I absolutely HATED working in an office! I did it but I wasn't happy about it.

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Have a great day!!

Art in Different Forms....

I'm so pleased that you all like the gifts I gave this year! I didn't have to check sizes, or colors, or even to make sure I had addresses....I just had to make a difficult decision about which items I would purchase. I wish I could have bought even more but at the moment that was all my purse would allow! I'm thinking of making this a regular thing to do each month or so. After all, Christmas isn't the only time when people need things!

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The mailbox has been busy over the past few days with lots of beautiful cards. I also received my ornament from a swap I was in....Violette sent me one of her fabulous creations!




The picture doesn't do it justice. I have the ornament hanging on the mantel but against the brick I couldn't get a good picture so I put it on some foam board so you could see all the ribbons. I love it, Violette!! Thank you so much.

Also in the mail was a wonderful big letter "J" magnet from Kai. Here it is on my fridge with one from Violette and one from Molly....



Kai also sent me the picture she drew of me earlier. I think she did a good job capturing me....



Thanks, Kai!! You're such a sweetie!

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I have been doing some art over the past few days, too. I seem to go in spurts and spells when it comes to art. I either spend most of my time doing it or I don't do any!

This gal fell asleep in the garden and all the vines made a tattoo on her face!



She's my "Tattooed Lady"....I have another drawing I just finished this morning but you'll have to come back tomorrow to see that one!! I can't show you everything all at once....there has to be some teasing!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

My Gift to You....

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!!!! This morning there was snow on all the mountains around us....nothing down this low but it sure looks pretty.

I received my first surprise of the season from Vallen a few days ago....she sent me a cd filled with Christmas music. Some of my all-time favorites were included plus a couple that I wasn't familiar with so I've had fun listening to lots of music lately. This is the cover she made....



Aren't these Santas great!! Thank you Vallen!

And speaking of gifts, I'm taking an idea from Sheila and Gillian and getting all my blogger friends a gift that will keep on giving. As I stated when I began my Love Reaches Out blog, many of us receive so many gifts and we have soooo much and especially at this time of year the extravagence seems almost absurd. So I went shopping here and this is what I got for you.



First some food....enough seeds to provide food for 15 people for one year....



some high-efficiency stoves for Darfur refugees....



and (you know me!!) books!!....for children in Nepal.



I'll be feeding minds as well as tummies so that makes me happy. I hope you like the gifts I chose for all of you and I also hope you understand why I did this. I also encourage all of you to do the same. It's such a great feeling to know I'm giving to someone who really needs it, and that my gift will make a difference in their lives. Isn't that the true spirit of Christmas? Merry Christmas to all my blogger friends!!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Trees....Old and New

Things around here are settling back into a somewhat "normal" routine again. HB's job finished up just before Thanksgiving so he's been home ever since and that means we're back to sharing the computer each day. That's why I haven't been posting much over the past few days!

Just so you all won't feel too bad, the temperature didn't stay warm very long! We're back to afternoon highs in the 60's, which isn't all that bad considering what some of you have, but those 70's were sure nice while they lasted! We even got a smidgen of rain but not nearly enough to make a difference around here.

I've been trying to get a good photo of our Christmas tree but I'm just not a good photographer! I finally just took one with my little Kodak but it doesn't do the tree justice. In person, it has a frosty, somewhat magical appearance when the lights are on but I just couldn't capture it. So this is just a "flat" photo of the tree....



And here's a close-up....



We decorate this tree with red and gold ornaments and I always put up the red drapes in the living room and dining room. We have a smaller tree in the family room that has all different colors of ornaments on it....some that are really old including one blue glass ornament that was on my very first ever Christmas tree when I was only a few months old. It's just a plain ornament, no decorative stuff or anything and it's very fragile. My mom always told me the story about my first tree. It was 1943, during WWII and things were scarce. My Great-Uncle Dan insisted that I had to have a tree for my first Christmas and he spent the day out looking for the tree and the lights and ornaments to decorate it. This was quite a thing for him to do especially since he had a wooden leg.....it always fascinated me! I can just see him tromping around looking for stuff for a tree!! All he could find were plain blue glass ornaments so that's what I had. But I had a tree!! And I've had a tree just about every Christmas since then with the exception of a few years when we were in the RV traveling around and there wasn't room for one! And last year when I was Mrs. Scrooge!!

The only piece of art I can show you right now is one of my trees that I re-did. I had drawn the original on just a piece of sketch paper so I did this one on Bristol and once again it's too big for the scanner bed and it cuts off the black edging I did but you can see most of it.



I did this one with India ink markers but the black still isn't as solid as I would like it to be. Better, but not quite there yet. I will keep trying things until I find what I want!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Can You Believe it?

We are having some absolutely spectacular weather here. I almost hate to show this to you since I know many of you have snow....but here is a picture of my thermometer on the back patio this afternoon. You can see the almost bare tree in the background and all the leaves on the ground....and the temperature is 72º!! Can you believe it??


clickable if you want to see it closer

I haven't been in much mood to do anything but be outside! Let me know if you want me to send some of this weather your way!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Ants and a Bird....

Thanks to Julie and mizamigo for taking part in my PIF. I can't promise that you'll get something before Christmas but you will get something soon.

I've been busy being a warrior! I'm in a death fight with.....would you believe....ants!! Yes, it's December and you would think they would be hibernating someplace warm or doing whatever ants do in the winter. But these are Southern California ants and apparently they didn't get the memo about moving on down to the tropics. We have ants in the kitchen cabinets!! I had to remove everything so HB could spray and he also caulked any openings he could find but I know they'll find a way back in....they always do. That's one of the perks you get when living in California. Ants love it here, too.

I know this is really a trivial thing to be whining about when parts of the country are under a heavy blanket of ice and snow but it's not pleasant to be getting ready to fix our weekly Sunday morning waffles and to find ants crawling all over the counter. How dare they contaminate my new counter tops!! Plus now the little buggers are very difficult to spot on the granite! I'll have to be even more vigilant.

Over the past few days I've done another drawing. This one is a little different, and it took me a little longer to do....


"A Bird in the Hair is Worth Two in the Bush"


I painted the outside edge freehand so it isn't perfect! I decided that was the only way I am going to get solid black!