Sunday, January 31

Ye False Spring, I Am Not Fooled

Oh, I was fooled, though. It was so much like spring, and I know better than to get all spring-feverish and be tugging hoses here and chopping with hoes there and plotting a run to the garden center to get the plants they put out for fools.

I've yet to have a Valentine's Day that wasn't take-your-breath cold here, and that's two weeks away. So I must hold steady and stay away from the plants until this false spring departs and winter blows and laughs its way back.

But I had company: The poor dandelions were fooled, too, as they are every year.  This photo is from several years ago, when we also had a pear tree, before the drought got it. A big dead sprig of Bermuda grass is showing throught the fence - it wasn't fooled. Grass is rather cautious, but fruit trees, weeds, and this old lady are naive and trusting.

Saturday, January 30

Pretty Framed Tags for Crafting and Scrapping Fun

Here are some plainish tags that might be useful when crafting or selling. For some reason, when I craft, I find it easier to start with something and alter it, rather than make something completely from scratch.

The middle row has edgings of pink and red, good for Valentines Day.

Thank'ee for dropping by.


Friday, January 29

Rustic Hearts Printable Collage Sheet

TGIF, dearies! Here are some "decorated" rustic hearts to print and cut out, and a set of plain, too.

I love vintage textiles and am working on a set of hearts featuring barkcloth and novelty prints. I went to the fabric store yesterday after work. I went for tapestry needles, but looked around at the fabric. 

While there are many pretty designs, I didn't see the wide variety of the stores of yesteryear, which were bursting with inexpensive printed yardage in fun, fanciful designs. Those designs of yesterday fetch a high price today. I saw a small 1960s barkcloth curtain panel featuring cavorting horses go for nearly $200 on an auction site.

But here are my little hearts - click and click again to see them larger:

Thursday, January 28

Printable Kokeshi Dolls Valentines

And here we have some simple Kokeshi Doll Valentines for collage, Valentine's Day, tags and so forth.

When I was quite small, I had a pair of Kokeshi Dolls with white hair, and I thought them the epitome of fashion. Little did I know my own hair would soon turn prematurely gray and white!

In the 1960's, white hair -- not platinum -- was often depicted on Hallmark cards and other commercial items, as well as on the Kokeshi Dolls. And does anyone remember the white and silver lipsticks?

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 27

Sewn Paper Hearts from Book Pages: A Tutorial

On Pinterest, I saw a "Pin" that was very eye-catching. Someone had made hearts from the pages of an old book. They were written in a language other than English, in narrow columns. 

I don't have the same columned paper to use, so I used paperback paper. Click my picture of my version, below, to get a bigger picture. Don't click the "P" unless trying to "pin" it.

But there were no instructions on the post where the hearts were featured. I took a good look and tried to reproduce them.

They were slightly filled, and the edges were sewn with a blanket stitch after being darkened with ink or chalk. Then a little vintage cut-out was pasted to them, and what looks like "caviar" was placed around the cutouts in a heart shape. The caviar was deep blue on the heart nearest the camera.

What's caviar? It also goes by the name "micro beads" and "micro balls" and I found it by searching for "nail caviar." It very much looks like little fish eggs! Alas, my caviar is taking its time arriving, so I put some big glitter on my hearts and called it good. 

So, to make these hearts, find a suitable book - I'd suggest an old hardback with decent paper. I unfortunately used a very silly sci-fi paperback, and the paper was as porous and lousy as the plot. Hmph!

  • Cut out heart shapes using a template (you can make your own, or use those below). Pull or tear out four pages, trace around the template with a pencil, cut through all four pages at once. Continue until you have enough hearts cut out. Each heart takes two pieces, m'dears.

  • Now ink the edges with a nice brown ink or piece of chalk. A Prismacolor pencil will also do the job quite nicely if you have no ink or chalk!
  • Sew a blanket stitch around the edges. When you have just a little bit still open, stuff a bit of cotton fluff or a bit of tissue paper in there, then finish stitching.
  • Print out some likely images, or get some old Valentine reproductions and cut out shapes or heart shapes
  • Glue to the middle of the hearts
  • Take your glue (I do like that Aleene's Fast Grab very much) and apply a thin bead where you want the caviar or glitter, and shake or spoon it over the glue very quickly.
  • Shake off excess.

I think they look fine in a canning jar, or in a nest, or really tucked anywhere you like. I think five is the minimum to make. Wish I had made more, and maybe I will, as soon as the caviar arrives.

Tuesday, January 26

Pretty Pom Poms from Vintage Dress Pattern Tissue Paper Tutorial

Now dearies, when I went to that Antique Junque store, I grabbed up some bundles of dress patterns. I think it was six patterns for $1. Some were old and some were more recent. 

I didn't want the patterns for themselves, but to use to make some "shabby" pom poms. I saw them decorating another booth, and just had to make some for myself.

I'm the person at work who makes pom poms for birthdays. Whatever the person's favorite colors are, I make pom poms in those colors and decorate their offices with them, along with festoons of crepe paper streamers and tissue paper confetti. I made the pom poms at my desk today. No one batted an eye, because I'm always making a pom pom of some sort. And with oil down dramatically, I didn't have a lot of work today.

To make these, try to find either uncut patterns or patterns for adults (I bought a pack with too many kids' patterns), and preferably for large items like skirts. That way you have a lot of tissue to work with, and can get quite a few from each packet.

For a small to medium pom pom, stack at least nine sheets of tissue. I cut mine into rectangles about the size of a sheet of letter-sized paper for my largest pom pom, and smaller for the little ones.

Then fan-fold the paper. Don't go too thin, and don't go too wide. And press down very hard to put a good crease. Then twist a long wire (or a piece of string) around the middle of your pleated sheets. 

Now cut the ends into a rounded shape. Cut pretty far down on each side; don't just round the very ends (it hasn't been rounded yet in picture below). Gather the pleats, round with scissors. You are giving a nice rounded petal shape to the edges of your pom pom.

Then start making your pom pom. Pull up the first sheet of tissue towards the wired middle. Be gentle. I do a 3-step pull: Pull one side, then the middle, then the other side. I do about three sheets, ONE AT A TIME, then I switch to the other side of the pom pom and pull up three, ONE AT A TIME. Keep pulling up, switching from side to side.

Now flip the pom pom over and work on the "underside." Pull up three on one side, then three on the other, and keep switching off. 

So, you're working it two ways: Each SIDE, and each END.

You will end up with a fluffy ball. I use the ends of the wire to attach the pom poms to things.

One thing that is so cute is to just pull up one side of the pom pom. It makes it like a flower, with a flat base. Fun to just sit on a desk or atop a box or can or a gift.

There are many better tutorials for making pom poms. Try Youtube!

Monday, January 25

Add A Knob to A Jar Lid Tutorial

Well hello, dearies, and Happy Monday. If TGIF means "Thank God It's Friday," what does OSIM mean, I wonder.

Oh, I love every day! I like getting up early and getting to work. 

I've been placing drawer knobs or drawer pulls on canning jar lids for ages, well before "Mason Jar Fever" set in with the hipster bunch. And I thought I'd put up a little tutorial, so people could see how easy it is. And wouldn't you know - the day I decide to do so, I stopped by Michael's Arts & Crafts store only to see an entire BIN full of jar lids with knobs, for less than the price of a knob. Well!

But - with knowing how to do it, you're not limited to their selection, and when canning jars fade out of favor, you'll still know how to do it. When choosing a jar lid, be sure to use a one-piece lid. The two-piece lids don't lend themselves to it very well, but you could use a two-piece if you like, and certainly you can if the jar is decorative and you won't be using it alot. 

The tutorial is simple, and here's what you need:
  • Jar lid
  • Drawer Pull
  • Hacksaw for metal or side-cutters
  • Hammer and nail that is slightly wider than the width of the knob's bolt
  • Piece of wood, like a 2x2, or other small piece to fit under the lid, so that when you hammer the nail in, the lid does not dent down (if using a hammer and nail)

If you have a hacksaw for metal, use it. Otherwise, use some side-cutters.

  • Take your lid and mark the center. I just eyeball it. My husband tried his fancy geometry stuff and put the hole off-center. 

  • Tap a hole into the lid, at the center mark. I used a nail and hammer. Husband used a drill, to avoid flaring out the lid, but mine worked fine, too. Put the little piece of wood underneath the lid, and tap in the nail from the top of the lid (the good side) down. Pull the piece of wood off the nail and remove the nail.

  • Get the knob ready. Snug up the nut on the drawer pull to near the bottom of the knob. BUT don't screw it up all the way, because you need to leave some room for the thickness of the lid, and you need to have a bit of bolt sticking out from the nut. Please see the photo of where the side-cutters are going to cut. Note there is at least an extra thread showing between the side-cutters and the nut and washer.

  • Use a hacksaw to cut, or if using the side cutters, you will have to squeeze, rotate a small turn, squeeze, rotate, etc. Then when you are back where you started (might have to go around a few times if you cannot squeeze hard), you turn your wrist towards the floor (still squeezing with the side-cutters) and pop the end of the bolt off. It will shear off. Discard the bit of bolt you removed.

Note: Cutting the bolt shorter messes up the threading. You must leave a bit of the bolt sticking out of the nut. That way, you can use the nut to "rethread" the messed-up part of the bolt where you cut it shorter. It straightens the threads and allows you to take the knob apart, place into the hole, and replace the nut on the underside of the lid, along with the washer, to hold the knob in place.

  • Take your knob and remove the bolt. Place the knob's bolt through the hole in the lid, then turn lid upside down, place the washer onto the bolt first, then the nut, and snug the nut.

As always, thank'ee for stopping by. I used to confuse which was the "nut" and which was the "bolt." I finally managed to keep them straight by thinking of the bolt like a lightning bolt - the piece longer than the nut.

Sunday, January 24

Jackpot! Thick Handful of Old Recipe Cards from All Over

I went browsing at the local "antique mall," which is actually more a jumble sale/junk shop/grandma's garage sort of place. It's the kind of cavernous store where people rent booths and can put anything out for sale, as long as it's vintage, with "vintage" defined as over a year old. And it's the kind of place where the farther back you go in the store, the darker the lighting, and the more peculiar, dusty, and sad the displays. I keep to the front.

And right there on a chipped enamel table by the front window, if you wedge yourself through a gap between a giant washboard and a big piece of oilfield machinery, is a box with many baggies filled with recipe cards and clippings from a variety of cooks. And these are old recipes, dearies. Many are credited to other people, most of them using the form "from Mrs. Clarence Simmons" - women referred to by their husband's name.

What fun! I'm rubbing my hands together like a pleased mouse. These are going to be enjoyable to read and sort. Already I spied a pencil-written recipe for Best Beet Salad, on a card gone tan with age, and another for Apple Conserve. 

There's a short recipe on a scrap of old paper for Dumplings, and one for Lemon Chess Pie.

I see some mimeographed paper, too, barely legible, with the once-vibrant purple ink now a delicate lilac shade.

One thing stands out: People were not as picky, and people had lovely cursive handwriting.

If any of these are keepers, I'll pass them on to you.

Thank'ee for stopping by.

Saturday, January 23

Are You Snowed In? And A Wish for A Beautiful Saturday

Here's hoping blog friends and old friends in the East are safe and warm.

Before moving to West Texas, I lived all over. Just all over this country, from one coast to another and to the other (the Gulf Coast), on islands, in log cabins, by rivers, in the desert, by the Canadian border, and more. I'm one of those bores who pipes up "I used to live there!" or "I lived right by there!" all the time. 

During my two years in the D.C. area, I experienced snow, and lots of it. I had so rarely seen snow. I was so frightened of it that although I was exhausted from being a new mother, I got up every few minutes and went outside and used a broom to get the snow off of our car, and tried to keep it from piling up behind the car.

I'll tell this tale, again (I never miss a chance to tell it a time or two): I fainted when I first saw snow, as an adult. I just could not wrap my mind around the fact of seeing snow, on a hill. I was raised in the delta. I did not understand hills and snow. 

To see snow and a hill together overwhelmed me and I fainted, much to the disapproval of my future in-laws, who were stern no-nonsense people wondering what possessed their equally dour son to pluck this silly flower out of the South and want to marry her. 

So, friends, I hope wherever you are (I lived right by there!), you have a wonderful Saturday.

Friday, January 22

Pretty Calling Cards Sampler, and A New Orleans Connection

The strangest thing happened today at work: I met a traveling salesman, as they were once called, who is a year old than I am and who was raised just a few blocks away from my childhood home. He came into work, and as soon as I heard his accent, I knew he was brought up in New Orleans. And he was carrying a box. "That has to be a King Cake," I said. Unmistakable bakery fragrance was wafting out of the box. I could feel that cake in my soul.

And that's when we discovered we were practically neighbors as children. I could have spoken with him for hours, but there was work to do. It was a lovely interlude, just the same, and I keep happily and wondrously replaying our conversation. I know exactly his former home, having biked and walked past thousands of times. His family had the chain-link low fence with the swinging gates that met over the driveway, and two Shetland Sheepdogs devoted to barking everyone down the block. Gone, now, of course, gone for decades. It's so rare, for me, to find someone who has the same memory of something as I do. So much has changed.

Today I have a cute sheet of "calling cards" to print and use in crafting or scrapbooking. 

Remember, to save, click, but not on the "P" or you'll go to Pinterest. Click, click, right click, and it is saved.

Thank'ee for dropping by! And for my readers in the midst of the huge winter storm in the East, I hope you stay warm and safe.

Thursday, January 21

Taco Soup and Taco Filling: AKA "Festival of Cans" Soup

I tried this recipe with very guarded hopes. After all, opening a bunch of cans and heating up the result and having it actually be tasty would be quite a find.

Well, my little family very much enjoyed it, and they are not much for soups. I absolutely love it. A warning: If you dislike cumin, you will NOT like this soup.

This is my version of the soup often called "Eight Can Soup" on the Internet. It's easy to "fancy" it up with only a small amount of pre-planning. It's also good as a filling for flour tortillas.

Taco Soup or Taco Filling for Flour Tortillas

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly, OR 1 can white beans with mild chili sauce, drained but not rinsed (if unable to find, just use regular white beans)
1 can hominy, drained and rinsed thoroughly
1 can petite diced tomatoes, fire-roasted if you can find them (drain if you're going to use as filling)
1 can green enchilada sauce, medium or mild
1 box chicken broth (use a can of broth and a can of water if you don't have the box kind)
1 can of chicken (I used a small can of grilled chicken), including the juice, unless you're going to use the recipe for taco filling. If so, drain the juice.
1 packet dry taco seasoning mix. I used the low-salt version

I just put everything together in a large pot, mix it well, and bring it to a boil, then simmer a little bit. 

On top of the soup, we like any of the following:

Grated cheddar cheese
A Baby Bell cheese
Sliced radishes
Avocado chunks
Diced red onions 
Sour cream
Tortilla chips

To turn this into a filling for flour tortillas, DON'T ADD THE BROTH. Just heat it up in the microwave and then use the toppings on it.

Wednesday, January 20

Pretty Horse Valentines to Print and Use for Collage, Free for You

And here we have the second sheet of my Horsing Around Valentines.

Yesterday I posted the first sheet of horse valentines. This finishes the set.

As always, thank'ee for stopping by.

Tuesday, January 19

Vintage Style Horse Valentines, Free to Print

When I used to sell my designs, these horse Valentines were my best-selling item for spring. There are many, many young ladies who have horse fever, evidently.

If you print two sets out, you can place "Concentration." But kids probably don't do that anymore. I was never any good at it, anyway. Grr.

There are two sheets of these horsey cards. Tomorrow I'll print the second batch, and probably go on and on about something or other.

Don't get too caught up in making Valentines "perfect." People get entirely too fru-fru over things and exasperate themselves. I should know; I'm doing it right now, fussing overmuch with some little hearts made from book pages and sewn around the edges. Maybe they'll be done by tomorrow.

Monday, January 18

Free Printable Easy-Cut Treat Hugger Valentines / Collage Sheet

Here we have some Valentines that are easy to print out and cut out. Each has a "halo" of color so that your cutting needn't be exact.They are about 2 x 3 inches. 

I saw some fancy die-cut treat holders and thought I'd try for my own version. I like them best, actually, just as little cardstock paperdolls offering a hug. Candy is optional. I need to make some with longer necks for bigger treats to work, anyway. Maybe just sticking a "kiss" onto the tummy, with arms bent to be outstretched, might work.

After cutting, use a glue dot and place a treat such as one of those mini Tootsie Rolls on the chest area. Fold the arms over the treat and use another glue dot to make the arms "hug" the treat, or maybe use a bit of tape. These are fun for kids to give out. Don't try for perfection in something that's going to last a minute or two! 

Left to right on the sheet, we have a bear, a cat, a chihuahua, a mouse, then a seal, a piggie, a froggie, and a fox.  The seal was easy; I just gave the mouse an earectomy.

What does the fox say? Well, it doesn't SAY much. It does shriek like a strange bird and make a person jump out of their skin. I battle some gray foxes each year. Dearies, the foxes are winning. The battle was decisively won on their part when they stuck their frightening heads through the "look out" hole in the fence and gave one of their shrieks at me, disregarding completely the baby carrots I was throwing at them to scare them away. Later, they ran back and forth on the roof just to rub in their victory. Not very polite, really.

Remember, to save, don't click the Pinterest "P" as it takes you to Pinterest. Just click in a corner, then right-click to save.

Thank'ee for stopping by.

Sunday, January 17

Part Three of "Be My Valentine" Printable Banner

And here, dearies, is the last bit of my free "large" printable banner/bunting for Valentine's Day. The letters are not in order, because that way I was able to reuse two of the letters from the last file, and just switch out an "I" for the "T" that was there. We must save pixels whenever we can in case of a worldwide pixel shortage some day.

Thank'ee and enjoy!

Saturday, January 16

"Be My Valentine" Banner to Print, Part Two

I've been feeding and speaking kindly to the newest stray cat to show up - I feel so badly for him, out in the cold. But he does have the garage to sneak into, and a box and warm blanket on the porch, at least, although he doesn't seem to go into either place. We feed him as much Kitten Chow and wet food as he can hold. I feel very guilty for having not wanted another stray to show up. He is so shy and meek. He is in need and what kind of person would let a hungry animal go hungry?

From "A Christmas Memory" by T. Capote:

“My friend has never been to a picture show, nor does she intend to...In addition to never having seen a movie, she has never: eaten in a restaurant, traveled more than five miles from home, received or sent a telegram, read anything except funny papers and the Bible, worn cosmetics, cursed, wished someone harm, told a lie on purpose, let a hungry dog go hungry. 

Here are a few things she has done, does do: killed with a hoe the biggest rattlesnake ever seen in this county (sixteen rattles), dip snuff (secretly), tame hummingbirds (just try it) till they balance on her finger, tell ghost stories (we both believe in ghosts) so tingling they chill you in July, talk to herself, take walks in the rain, grow the prettiest japonicas in town, know the recipe for every sort of oldtime Indian cure, including a magical wart remover.”

My mind swirls constantly with phrases from the books I love, and I paraphrase them frequently. I wonder if that's common.

And here we have the second part of the banner. Just more letters, beginning to spell out "Valentine." See yesterday's post for the beginning, and tomorrow for the end.

Thank'ee for dropping by and I hope you enjoy.

Friday, January 15

Big "Be My Valentine" Free Printable Banner: Part 1 of 3

Have you ever been following a blog and suddenly you notice that it's not in your feed anymore? What does it mean? Does it mean the person "threw" you off their blog, or could it be a glitch of some sort? Two blogs I enjoy suddenly were just not there. I missed several posts. Horrors! I put myself back on their blogs, and if they disappear off my blog feed again, I guess I'll have my answer as to glitch or removal.

Here is a larger banner than the single-paged "Love" banner of a few days ago. It spells out "Be My Valentine" when complete. There are two lighter pink "polka dots" at the top to punch holes in and string ribbon through.

I just love banners, and hang all manner of them for every season.

Today, we have the "Be My" part of the free printable, along with some red rose "spacers" that might look nice at the beginning or the end of the banner. The "My" part is the only time I spell out an entire word on a single piece of the banner. The rest of the banner is spelled out letter by letter, and on the last day there are also more "spacers" with pink roses on them. Each letter-sized sheet holds three letters or three spacers. Thus, it takes four sheets minimum to print it out.

Tomorrow I'll post the "VAL" and "ENT" parts of the banner, and finish up on Sunday with the "INE" and some more "spacers." 

I notice the pink I chose as the background color appears peachy on a different monitor. I may go back and make some with a definite "blue-based" pink instead of a yellow-based pink.

Thank'ee for stopping by. 

Thursday, January 14

"Special Delivery" Valentines to Print

I doubt any of you are old enough to remember when string was used to tie up packages to mail. We called them "parcels" back then, and the post office was mighty particular about how a parcel was wrapped and tied, dearies. We used paper grocery bags as the paper to wrap them in, and cotton string for tying. 

Later, everyone used "horse tape" to seal the parcels. I can remember using a wet sponge and getting the horse tape the right amount of damp. Stamps were "licked" then, too. 

But school Valentines were either placed in tiny ungummed envelopes, or folded. 

Here are some tags/Valentines of my own design, but featuring olden time illustrations of children. Hope ye enjoy, and thank'ee for stopping by. Tomorrow I will start to post the "Be My Valentine" large banner.

Wednesday, January 13

Prim and Rustic Henny and Sheep Tags for Valentines

Halloo, dearies, and happy Humpday. Here is a sheet of some tags that I redid slightly for 2016. In the past, I had the green part a mustard-green color. I went with a truer green this time around. 

I have been associating mustard green with autumn lately, so it appearing on spring tags was not a good fit. On the tags we have Henny, some sheep, and crow.

To save the tags, just click (not on the Pinterest "P," though), then right-click to save. 

Thank'ee for stopping by, and I hope your week is going well.

Tuesday, January 12

Free Printable Valentines Instead of Politics

Oh, I follow politics to an extent, but I'm already quite shocked at the intense concentration about who is on whose side in the 2016 presidential election. I don't like Facebook anyway, and I'm about run off of it now, by the exceedingly nasty partisan posts. Strong opinions I respect, but the supporters of this one or that one are now calling people who don't support "their" candidate all manner of mean names.

Why, one moment you're reading a bad recipe or looking at a picture (the tenth posted that morning) of someone's baby, and the next you're being called an idiot and compared with some dreadful historical figure. Waylaid by a political post, out of the blue!

I'd rather make Valentines and send them out in the world as ambassadors of calm, prettiness, and peace!

Here are some Valentine tags with a "patina" style. I'm wild about patinas on old metal objects.

Thank'ee for dropping by.

Monday, January 11

Pansy Fest for A Monday

Here is a photograph snapped with my phone, showing the Johnny-Jump-Ups among the pansies at work:


 Their blooms are very wee compared to the pansy blooms.

And here are some little tags featuring pansies and Johnny-Jump-Ups and a rather somber-looking gnome. I think if I were standing there, with a beautiful bouquet of pansies and magic gnome powers, I'd have a smile on my face. Remember to click, click again if needed to bring it to full size, then right-click to save onto your computer.

Thank'ee for visiting!


Sunday, January 10

Wise Words from Eleanor, Nice to Post on Facebook or A Blog

Sometimes as I go about my day, I encounter very arrogant people who attempt to shame or discount me. Once upon a time, it would have worked, and stressed and saddened me. Now, I ignore such attempts, or use the stare/silence duo on them: A cool stare, held, while not saying anything. There is much power in silence, sometimes, yet much power in words, too. 

I very much like this quote of Eleanor Roosevelt's:

Thank'ee for stopping by. I think this could look nice on FB or a bloggie.

Saturday, January 9

A Happy Saturday Graphic

Just an altered vintage graphic to wish you a Happy Saturday, wherever you are! The pansies are in full bloom here, despite the snow of a few weeks back. Some Johnny-Jump-Ups also weathered the storm and are blooming. Their festive faces are so nice to see.


Friday, January 8

Free Pretty Valentine's Banner to Print Spelling "LOVE"

This is just a wee banner that will print on a regular letter-sized piece of cardstock or paper.

It's done in pinks, with a lovely Victorian rose design motif. I wonder who painted or etched that rose? Beautiful work. I remember Granny's "dusting powder" being in a pretty box with roses on it, and I remember when cardboard boxes covered with fancy designs were quite cherished and used to keep mementoes, paper, hankies, and so forth safe.

Speaking of which, at work some copier paper came in this lidded box, which I promptly took home and just love. Yes, it has writing on it, but I was just so pleased that someone had thought to make this box beautiful, perhaps knowing how many of us store things in such boxes.

For the banner: Just print out and cut, then either punch holes or just poke holes through and thread onto a ribbon or bit of string. Something to give it a bit of extra oomph: Place the triangles on slightly larger triangles cut out from pretty paper.

Thank'ee for stopping by!

Thursday, January 7

Smitten Kitten Graphic

My husband turns 81 today. We are 24 years apart, which once felt immense, and now feels like very little gap. Funny how the years seem to speed by so quickly, the more of them you attain. He says a year feels like two or three months, and that he will be remembering something and think in wonder, "That was 60 years ago," or "That was nearly 70 years ago. Why, it can't be!" I do know the feeling; I will be thinking of my college years, and suddenly realize that they are far, far in the past.

I made the mistake of going to Google Maps to "look" at places from my past. Oh, I felt dizzy. I felt so strange and heartsick. Gone! All of the places I had lived, all of the nooks and crannies I knew, the houses I biked past daily, the little clapboard house where I took piano lessons, the rented house just outside the college gates, all vanished. Yes, I understand the saying, "It threw me for a loop." I felt disoriented in time and space.

Ah, but that's life, I guess. Once I went with my grandmother to see her old homestead. We walked here, and we walked there, and she became very hesitant and faintly exclaimed, "It's gone! It's all gone! Impossible!"

But at least she had memories and although I can't see these heirlooms of the heart, at least I can remember them, if only through second-hand memories or my memories from a child's understanding.

I do wish Google would get interested in making maps from former decades. Maybe if people would donate the images from their past, Google could piece together how each block looked at a certain point in each decade. I would certainly spend too much time wandering around the "Memories Maps," but it would be a bittersweet joy to see the old places again.

Wednesday, January 6

Impressed by My Fellow Bloggers, and the Rest of the Birthday Girl Tags

And here we have the Birthday Girl gift tags for July through December. Click the PNG file (bottom of the two) if you want highest quality, but choose the JPEG file if space is an issue, such as on an older computer or flash drive.

I've had quite an awakening since I returned to blogging a little over a month ago. It seems to me that many bloggers are hugely talented -- much more so than when I "left" five years ago. I'm humbled by the wit, writing skills, and by the very lives and strength of so many bloggers. 

In fact, I have been so impressed, going from blog to blog (and constantly finding new blogs on their sidebars), that I almost haven't been able to post. I can barely choke out a post, and mine seem dull and stilted compared to the gems of writing and thought I encounter. I used to be carefree when posting, dearies, and wrote anything that came into my head. It was never a labor! And it was always such fun.

But now, I'm full of anxiety. That's not how I wish to be, however! I don't compare others against each other, or look meanly at the efforts of others. Why am I bending such an unkind eye on my own little efforts? 

I do know I am happy to have found so many blogs that enrich my life, even though we are far apart in miles and experiences, and connect only through words.

Tuesday, January 5

It's Twelfth Night 2016! And Some Birthday Girl Tags

Dearies, it's Twelfth Night, beginning at sundown! This marks the end, for many, of the "holiday" season and, for some, the beginning of "carnival." 

When I was very young in New Orleans, a very long time ago, we began the tradition of "King Cake" parties from the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6th) until Lundi Gras, which was the Monday right before Mardi Gras, the last day before Lent began. The parades rolled day and night in those days right before Mardi Gras. 

One fine day, I will write all about those times. But for now, it's too bittersweet,  even after many decades, to think about the days when my little world was all still alive, and as one of my aunts, now long dead, put it, "going about their business." 

She had been talking about distant friends and family and said that the phrase was a comfort to her, and that although she didn't contact people much, she knew that "everyone is just going about their business" and in other words, was alive and "safe."

Anyhoo, here are some tags for birthday girls. Today features "birth month" girls and their gems from January through June. The girls were naughty and aren't in calendar order, but they are all there. Tomorrow will be posted those from July through December. I'm putting up a .jpeg file first, then the much-larger .png file second. PNGs have better quality, but are huge.

Monday, January 4

More Printable Sachet Envelopes to Print

Please see yesterday's post for the instructions on how to print, cut out, glue, etc. The sachet envelopes work best if printed onto paper.

Here is a violet design for the little sachet/potpourri envelope, ready to print and prepare:

And here is one, below, that is ready to color in, with whatever you like to use: Pastels, colored pencils, watercolors, colored chalk. I don't think colored chalk gets the respect due it. It's cheap, easily found, and is lovely for when just a pale bit of color is needed. I've always liked using it on dark paper and the front porch. 

When I was very young, I drew with pieces of broken bricks. It was easy to find suitable bricks in New Orleans, if you knew where to look. In the truly olde days many houses were built with what is called "soft brick." The bricks were small and plump, with corners that had been worn, and there were colors from ivory to pink to red to a dark reddish taupe. Remember that "Indian Earth" makeup? It looked like red brick dust, to me.

Finally, here's a plain one, for those who have rubber stamps or who draw freehand:

As always, thank'ee for stopping by.