Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Beading complete

and I stayed up until 11 pm to finish it last night, but it is now ready for the backing which takes much less time. Considering I had no idea where I was going with the beading, it looks pretty neat.

I finished the 4 pair of pants and put pockets on a 5th pair yesterday. Made myself a little crazy trying to figure out an embroidery piece to machine on to some t shirts and finally gave that up as something to be done under less time constraints.

Today I'll be trying to get jewelry and animals packed for the show, and we need to drag the tent out of storage and put the top back on it. Not my favorite activities, but necessary.

Also need to finish up my ACE entry for Daisy and the Prince, so I should be busy!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Pants and bracelets......

Working a lot on both of those things!

While watching the Indianapolis race I cut out 2 pair of long pants for the DH and 2 pair of capri length for me. The fabric swatchs are what I'm using....the green and the paisley are for him, the other two for me. Got the pockets in the side seams and these are now ready for putting the patch pockets on the outside. I'm also adding pockets to the sides of a pair of pants I already had since I found some fabric that matched quite well.

Also worked a lot on the bracelet. Have all of one side finished, now on to the other side to finish it off.

Today I hope to get the pants done and hopefully the beading part of the bracelet too. I can probably do quite a lot between loads of laundry.....

Oh yes, I also need to work on my write up for my next submission for the ACE award.

And so we're off to work..........

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Its time to vote for URSA!!

Yes folks, this is your chance to help me qualify for an award for my work. I have entered 5 pieces in this contest, and the voting has now been opened to the public who will determine which of the many entered pieces will move into the next stage of the contest.

Ice Buddies #18

Fafa Bird #19

Autumn Leaves #7
Moon Shine #11
Polar Dreams #17

So, this is your chance!!

Work continues in the studio on the bracelet. Its coming along nicely, and I'd say I have about half of the beading done. I hope to have it finished for next weekend's show, but we'll see since there is a lot of other "stuff" that must be done before then.

Went to Wallyworld yesterday and got fabric to make some summer weight pants that have pockets.....I don't like the jean shorts, etc., that are available for sale, and the pants I've used in the past (pj bottoms actually!) have no pockets, which makes me NUTS!! So, I got a pattern for scrubs which have pockets and I can make them the length I like....right below the knee and put as many pockets as I like in them.....I'll be making some for DH too.

Had one of those "fugue" states this morning between 5 and 6 a.m. where I wasn't really asleep, but not awake either. I find I do a lot of designing in that state....must have something to do with the brain waves. Anyway, I have an idea for a bear that will be another quite different piece. I'll be letting him "perk" for a while, as the ones created this way seem to develop additional details if I don't rush it.

I was notified yesterday that we are in the top finalists for an ACE award from North Country Teddy Bears. I'm pretty excited about this too......The ACE allows us to entry a piece every month if we want to, some awards are given during the year, and a "grand prize" winner announced once a year. I have been thinking about entering Daisy in this competition too, so now I'm even more inclined to do that.

Today will include that most important sports event, the Indianapolis 500 race and cutting out assorted pairs of pants (I pulled out all of the fabric possibilities last night and ran them through the washer). I will also work on the bracelet and the last block of the quilt (I can do that now, having "mined" in my sister's lovely green fabric stash, and finding some great stuff to do the trees that will look MUCH better).

Time to get busy!!

Friday, May 26, 2006


at least some. Here is a picture of the malachite bracelet I've been beading. Its growing on me....looks better the more I do to it.

Today its off to have the tires switched out on the truck.....

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A case of the BLAHS.....

probably a let down from having had such a wonderful time in Albuquerque last weekend, then spending most of this week doing the mundane......laundry, shopping, etc., I just can't get excited about anything.

Today's excursions will be mowing the back yard before it gets so long we loose the dog back there; taking the dog to the vet for the booster part of her distemper vaccination (after which she will be set for 3 years) and buying a bag of dog food....whoopppiiieeee (or not)

I did work on the bracelet a bit last evening, have completed all of the bezels around the stones (there was one big one and 6 smaller ones), and started working the malachite patterning of beads. Its pretty interesting to work in basically 2 colors, which is what I'm doing on this one....shades of green and black to mimic the stone. We'll see how this progresses.

Work on the quilt is currently progressing at the 2 steps forward, 1 step back pace. I finished the applique of the 3 cats on the first December block, and they look pretty good. I had cut out the "tree hats" for each of them, pinned them all in place and stitched down the first one, then decided the fabric for the trees just didn't do it. Back to the frog stitching! And now there will be a trip back into the fabric bin to find something else for the trees....the original pieces were all cut out of various Christmas fabrics, but none of them was green, and against the back ground on this block, I've now decided they need to be green. (at least the bin of fabric has all been sorted into color groups already -- all in preparation for the next piece that I'll be designing, so looking for the greens won't be too difficult)

So, I guess I'll wander off and see if I can get anything done.....

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

what do these 2 objects have in common?

well, each of them could be inspiration for a new animal.

The metal and plastic item is a mechanism that goes inside a bear so you can move his head and tail. Its called a yes/no mechanism, and we have been hunting for one for several years, but there were none available. It seems the fellow that used to build these has given it up, so if we're going to do more than one in this style, DH will try to replicate its function in his own version. Meantime, I can think about building an animal to put around it.

The bottle is exactly what it looks like, and it is glass, but its little...that is a standard wood clothespin standing next to it. So, I'm thinking about mustard colored mohair, rings that look like onion, pickle relish.....who knows what will come of this excursion into strange thinking.....

I have begun working on a cuff style beaded bracelet. It has a pretty good sized piece of malachite as the center and I'm working with greens and black to create the feel of the malachite over the whole surface. I just began building the bezels around the stone last night. This probably won't take a real long time to complete, and if I like the look I do have 2 additional brass cuffs to work over.

Haven't done much else in the studio the last 2 days. Trying to get laundry done, sorting out a lot of things for a garage sale in early June and putting stuff on Ebay has kept me busy. Today we will make our monthly excursion to Costco for vitamins, meat, computer paper.....so I won't get much studio time today either.

Time to get crackin'

Monday, May 22, 2006

Home again

and a whirl wind trip it was. Did the show in Albuquerque, NM, yesterday. Not a big show, but we did make some money here. Wonderful, serious customers and the venue is great, nice room, good light, cushy new carpet....we will definately want to do this show next year too. The show was over at 3:30, and we drove home after, arrived about 10:30.

Our new "less is more" approach seemed to work. Less stuff on the table, more sales, less time to pack up...its all good

I did come home with a work list of things to complete before our next bear show and some ideas for some new projects.

Today we need to empty out the truck then go pick up the dog, visit with my folks to check up on them, etc., and I have magazine articles to write up and get sent in and photos to tweek, so probably not much studio time today

Better go get started

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Here we are in Albuquerque....

and its HOT!! but after spending all day either in an air conditioned car or an air conditioned hotel, the allergy head ache I've had for 3 days is FINALLY gone. Its wonderful.

On the way down I started the trial run on the new bird we're working on. He has lots of bright colors and a lot of small inset pieces...some of which prompted some swearing! The picture shows one side of his body and his beak (which is wrong side out) I've made a few changes from our drawn up pattern, but not many.

This evening we'll have dinner with some of the artists that are here for the show, and I'm looking forward to talking with all of them. This show is becoming my second favorite to do for many of the same reasons that Nevada City is number 1.

Time to go check on my auctions and catch up on my mail!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Meet Bunnie

can't believe I actually finished another animal! And this is another one of those "did I do that" moments....which is what I'm striving for!! Bunnie stands on her own, her feet are much larger than I usually do, and I really like the ears almost touching the ground. The hat had been on hand for a long time, and I really like the orange flowers and ribbon with this mohair.

So today's work will be more to the practical....ironing clothes for us to wear for the show, packing the car, getting all the chores done around the house before we take off.

And maybe some time to make an art card or two....

Thursday, May 18, 2006

11 done, 1 to go

finished the February blocks of the quilt. They look pretty good. Now on to December which has 3 cat faces on it.....lots more really little pieces.

Went yesterday to get some thread for the noses on Bunnie and two other pieces we are working on.

The DH has finished his sewing project (stitching his very first bear), put joints in the bear and stuffed it. He picked out a very nice thread (one of the new DMC lusters) for the nose on this one.

Didn't do a lot of work yesterday as our daughter brought her boy friend down to meet us. They also went by to see her grandparents, so the fellow is getting the "full treatment" this week.....its ok, next week they are going to Idaho for his sisters' graduation, so he'll return the "favor"! He's a nice guy and welcome back in our home anytime (as long as he remains a NICE GUY!)

We were watching a PBS program last night about the first generation of TV stars, most of whom came out of vaudville acts. At the end there was a clip of Red Skelton (one of my favorites), and he said something that I thought was very profound: "Talent is God's gift to you, using that talent is your gift to God".....

So today's challenge: go forth and use that talent (whatever it might be!!)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Mowing as a fashion statement.....

Spring is here. That means we have to do one of my least favorite things -- mow the lawn.

Yesterday was the first mow of the season. I've spent a couple of hours the past week raking and picking up in the yard -- necessary when you have a dog -- but with our dog there are little "extras" -- the wood pile. For some reason she likes to chew the bark off of logs. During the winter she would help herself to as big a log as she could carry from the wood pile, carry it around to the back patio and chew it up. I picked up almost a whole bag of wood chips.

So, on to the mowing. The yard looks a lot better and this season's haute coutre for the job includes: old shoes (I may have missed a "meadow muffin"), a hat to shade the eyes, long pants (in case of "fly ups") and in the case of the DH, a bright magenta shirt with brilliant yellow suspenders --- such is art!!

I did well on my "get it done" list yesterday. The joints are in Bunnie, and today we will progress to stuffing on her. We've been discussing what the proper eye treatment is on her, and have a couple of ideas. The new design has been cut out, pinned and is waiting for machine work. The hang tags are on the new pieces.

Spent some time fooling around with a pattern from on of my online groups. The picture is the result....its supposed to be a mouse....the head and tail are right, but I'm not so sure about the body....it was interesting to see how someone else's pattern worked.

Time to get to work!

Monday, May 15, 2006

the research continues.....

and actually, this has been a standing joke between my daughter and I for several years. When she was in college, she commuted to and from campus on some fairly "rural" roads, where little wild critters were know to venture too close to the road and be "re-tired". She began a semi-scientific study, based on her observations of the conditions of various "road kill" critters. Her theory: there is something about racoons that keeps them from exploding on impact. As we traveled on the high way, we saw evidence that her theory is correct, one more unexploded racoon. Wonder if there's any real substance to that? (Ok, we have a very morbid sense of humor, but you must admit we are at least aware of the world around us!)

Pictures today: the Art Card is one more in the series, this one is of a 10 inch bear I did quite a while ago, and is about the last of the ones like this that I have. She made a pretty cute card.

Other pictures should be titled Go Go Joe! He's finally done!!! This is definately an amazing technicolor dream coat!! (I can just hear him singing, "close every door to me....") This was quite an experiment to do the lidded eyes on a bear this small (he is only 8" tall). The nose was a lot of fun too....on top of the multi colored thread, layers of glitter nail polish....the experimenting goes on!!

On today's drawing board: 1)get joints into Bunnie so I can get her stuffed and maybe get her done by Friday evening; 2)select fabric for the next bear experiment (this one to have an open mouth); 3)make hang tags for the new finished pieces; 4)begin work on the new bird design. (oh yes, and mow the back yard and do laundry) its going to be a busy day!!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

too much fun

being had in the studio yesterday.

Talked the DH into turning Bunnie right side out. As I said, she has really LOOONNNGG ears....after he turned the ears right side out, he tucked the bases of them into the frame of his glasses and spooked the dog....what a hoot!! After all the turning was done, we decided that the arms weren't right for a rabbit, so he drew up a new pattern idea for me which I cut out and stitched. These arms are much better for a rabbit. Next step is getting in joints.

I have almost finished the coat for Joe, just need to do the hems and finishing work then he'll be all done. Very cool!

I have started putting color back in the sunrise bead piece. These look much better. I was real surprised that I actually had enough beads on hand to even start. When I get done I will definately be very short on anything red or yellow.

We have been asked to write another report for the Teddy Talk group about the show we will be doing next weekend. This will be fun! Today's picture is Lois the Cub Reporter going over her travel plans with maps and tour books.....

Today we are going up to visit with my mom, and our daughter will meet us there. Should make for a very interesting day. Happy Mother's Day to all my readers!!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

and the work goes on

as I work out the details on Joe. I have now put his eyes (and lids) twice, and I'm now much happier with them. The first go round I had used a bright purple for his eye lids, and we decided that was just TOO much! (ok, now we say eyeshadow is optional!!) I got his feet done too....now its on to the coat....I have the lining done (did that first to be sure it would fit before I cut into that wonderful "created" fabric), so maybe today I can get that done.

Bunnie is all stitched, including the hand work on the feet and face, so now we can turn her right side out and proceed with joints, stuffing, closing then the fun parts!! Might actually get her done for next week's show too!

Need to get the flyers in the mail to my customers for that show today so they'll have time to plan to attend.

Oh yes, today's picture is another Art Card with pictures of Daisy and Peaches....kind of cute!

Well, got lots to do, so better get to it!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Thinking about creativity.....

I spent about 3 hours yesterday working "creating" the fabric for the coat for Joe (see pictures!). Each one of these panels was created by sewing strips of fabric together that are 1/4 inch wide at the top and 1/2 inch wide at the bottom. (no, I did NOT cut them first, I used a quilter's technique, and learned a lot about the potential for that technique for future projects.)

As I was working on these, I spent a bit of time thinking about the change in how I am approaching these new animals. In the past I was always in a hurry to get them done, the focus was on numbers.

Something strange happened in Nevada City this year. I spent 3 days next to an artist that only brought 7 bears to the show. SEVEN!! And there were just those 7 for sale and 1 that was not for sale on her table. And people could actually SEE each one and pick it up without knocking over something else.

All of this put me to thinking about the whole way we put our tables together. We've been complaining that we can't compete with the imported stuff for prices. If that is true then we should stop trying to look like a retail store and look more like an art gallery.

It also makes me think that I don't need to make more bears by numbers, but better ones instead. If it takes a whole day to create the fabric for a truly amazing piece, then I shouldn't begrudge the time to it because the results are worth it. It ends up with more pieces being created that give me that "did I do that?" feel, and that is really what I'm looking for. After that, I'll just have to find the tools to sell those.

Anyway, we're going to try that approach in Albuquerque next weekend and see how it goes. This is the right show to do it in.....this one is only artists, so the "playing field" is fairly level. Here's hoping!!

So, the plan for today is to try to get Joe (at least the bear) finished and start in on his coat. I did get Bunnie's machine work done yesterday too, and part of the hand work as well. We'll see how the time goes for doing more to her.

and its off to work we go.....

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Cats chase rats, cats and bats, cats in hats.....

we're starting to sound like Dr Seuss! Any way, I finished another pair of cat blocks for the quilts.....this one is June, note the top hat and the wedding veil on the ears. This leaves only two sets to go, and because I figured that I'd get better at this as I went along, I have saved the most complex ones for last....the next one to do is February which has 2 cats on each block and the last one is December which has 3 on each block. And I'm getting to the "faster, faster" stage of this project wanting to get it done as about 3 more are crowding into my head.

Late last week I saw Cynthia England demonstrating her picture quilt technique. This morning I went to the web site and downloaded her free instructions.....I don't want to use her pattern, just play with the technique for a design of my own.

Yesterday I had a lovely phone conversation with a lady about the HGTV quilt pattern that I had been looking for. She gave me some ideas about saving the picture files to create the patterns and a site to get more details. Tried that this morning, and I think its going to work! Another project added to the list....FUN!!

Work continues on Joe. I added some glitter to his nose with several layers of sparkle nail polish, a first for me....I even did a small test piece on some of the fabric first because I wasn't sure how I would like it. I made him totally new ears with the inside of the ears being "made" fabric where I have shaved the pile off the mohair fabric then run a series of cross hatched stitching in the same varigated crochet cotton that his nose is across the material. Something new again!! My DH drew a sketch of a coat for him and I created the pattern. This will be a pretty complex affair with many wedges of fabric in different colors and a fairly interesting purple lining. And, to show how truly crazy we've gone, I'm going to attempt the new eyelid technique on this one even tho' the eyes are only 8mm! Still have to figure out what to do with his feet, but I'm sure something will come to me. I'm already thinking about the interesting art cards that I can make from pictures of this guy.....Go, Go, Joe; Go, Go, Joe!!

Got all of the sunrise beads picked out with minimal damaged to the black beads. Today I'll be looking at more sunrise photos to get some ideas of where to go next.

Didn't get to the "bunnie" yet. Should get there today tho' since I'll need to go to the machine to stitch the panels for Joe's coat too, I can stitch up "bunnie" while I'm there.

No art cards yesterday, but I did find some very cool stickers at the grocery store to use on the next few.....I have an idea for one that has pictures of Daisy and Peaches.....should be fun!

And so its time to get busy.....lots of work to do!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

...and here she is.....

Miss Peaches is complete! Pretty cute with her caterpillar. No doubt one of them will turn into a social butterfly. Its hard to believe that Daisy and Peaches are basically the same pattern. each one is definately a unique one of a kind!

I did a second art card using a picture of Daisy and her frog...is he the prince? Fun.

Work continues on the smaller white bear that I had started in Nevada City. I put his nose on with a multi color varigated crochet thread, so it is purple and blue and green. Guess I'll have to name him Joe. I'm thinking about what I can do to his eyes and ears to make him even more outrageous.....

The pattern for "bunnie" is done. A very unusual piece with an almost flat face, short legs, big feet and really long ears. I got the pieces all cut and pinned for the machine work last night, so he'll begin to take shape soon.

DH is working on his first sewing project. His "first bear" is coming right along, so we'll be to the jointing stage soon.

After putting in 2 complete colors and part of a third, I've decided the colors are too pale in the sunrise piece, so I'll be doing major "frog stitching" to remove them. This also means a trip to the supply boxes to see what bright colors I have to do this (then I can decide if the project goes forward now, or gets set aside until I can purchase other supplies). I've also decided it needs some thin grey clouds in the sky, so I'll be trying to figure out that too.

We woke up to snow on the ground this morning. Yes, in May!! This is the kind of wierdness in weather you get when you live in the mountains.

Well, its off to breakfast then a quick trip to the grocery before returning to the studio.....

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Peaches is done!

Similar to Daisy, but not the same. Kind of fun to do one of a kind pieces, its easier than trying to make two alike anyway. Pictures to follow tomorrow, I need to spend time with her in the photo studio.

I finished another art card too.....this one is based on the beaded Icon I just finished. The card is pretty cool actually.

Today's work includes listing a bunch more stuff on Ebay and maybe something on Bid4Bears, then putting a face on a new, as yet unnamed, white bear and maybe another art card. I have a new and really unusual rabbit pattern in the works, but I don't know yet what I'm going to make him out of. Also thinking about revisiting the panda pattern....I have some very nice fabric I could use to make the panda.....

Monday, May 08, 2006

and the next card is

Daisy......this one is "ok", have some ideas to do some other things with her picture.

The nose on Peaches got taken out AGAIN, but this time I really do like the result. Spent a lot of time working on her sunsuit, its very colorful. Hope to get her basically finished today.

We set up a 6' table in the living room to experiment with new show set ups for the Albuquerque show.....We're taking bigger bears mostly and doing a MUCH less crowded table. There will be extra stuff underneath, but we're going to "keep it sparse" and see if that method works as well for us as it seems to for other folks.

Web work is coming along. Going to have to sit down with the folks I've been working on a site for and try to find out exactly what it is they want. I'm beginning to think that what they want is WAY beyond what I can do, most of my web work has been with the idea of presenting art in a nice way, I think they are looking for more "bells & whistles" that I know how to do, and with the time frame, I don't have time to learn it.

Well, its off to breakfast now, then to work on Peaches!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Pen is mightier than the sword.....

or at least in this case, more effective! In response to my email to the Health Fair people, I got an envelope in the mail yesterday with one of the colon cancer screening packets enclosed since I couldn't get one at the original location. I am impressed! Ok, next year I'm definately going to a different location. Maybe go with my mom.

All of the black work on The Farm is now done.....hurrah! This was the hardest bit of beadwork to do (especially at night). I'm really happy to have this part complete, now I can get on with the colors of the sunrise. I think that will be more fun.

Spent a lot of time working on the website yesterday. Its a major PAIN to add new buttons when a site is as big as mine. I keep thinking I'll simplify it, but I want to have as much of my stuff out there as I can have so I have a chance of people seeing it. 'sigh' Oh well, it is interesting "brain exercise" keeping up with adding new stuff.

I have been notified that the items I submitted for inclusion on the Land of Odds site, has been accepted and can be viewed here: http://www.landofodds.com/store/bev.htm This is pretty neat!

I finally got the nose on Peaches. I just don't like the face on this one as well as I did Daisy, but we'll see what it looks like once I get the eyes on. I did the set up for the eyes last night -- cutting out the felt pieces, glueing the whites of the eyes to the background, etc. Today I can set the eyes and add the eye lids. After that I can sew on the ears and work on a pattern for a sunsuit for her. I found some wonderful fabric with jelly beans printed on a white background that I'm going to try for the sunsuit.

Figured out how to make an attractive envelope to put my art cards in. There are several stock patterns available for these things, but I wanted to be able to put the cards in the plastic sleeve BEFORE the envelope, so those patterns didn't work. I've got it now, tho', so I'll be making envelopes for each one as I finish them. Still working on page for the web site to show these off.

Well, I guess its time to go get some breakfast and then try to get that bear done!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

work continues.....

on various projects.

Pictures today of the latest completed quilt block....this one is November, see the cute little turkey hats on each ear.....HATED doing those turkeys, all those little curvy, fiddly edges for tails. The wings were fun tho' double sided and movable at the ends.

I saw a show yesterday morning (at 6:30 AM) with Cynthia England demonstrating her technique for Picture Quilts....I've been admiring her book in catalogs for a LOOOONNNNGGGG time, just can't justify the $$ to buy it right now. The show was amazing. Just that half an hour gave me the general idea of how she does what she does. I'm seriously thinking of trying her technique for a lap quilt I want to build. This requires more thought!!

The second picture is of a little caterpiller I made to go with the latest bear. He is one of those collaborations between my husband and I that always amazes me....I made the first little "wormy" one, then DH drew a really cute one which I interpreted with stuffed yoyos, then he suggested putting the rings of long synthetic fur between the yoyos to create the fuzzy look, then I decided to "color" the fur with Coptic markers.....pretty interesting. Now if I can just get the face on the bear....I put the nose in and picked it back out twice yesterday.....I'll try again today.

Work on the website is coming along. I hope to load up a bunch of stuff by tomorrow evening. This morning I have taken a bunch of pictures of the next batch of stuff that is going out on Ebay, so I will be writing those descriptions today for loading tomorrow also. We're finally getting into a routine for getting the Ebay stuff out.

After sending my "rant" to the folks in charge of the Health Fair, I got a very nice note back, apologizing for my having had such a bad experience and telling me they would look into the issue. I don't know if I will have actually made things any better for anyone, but I hope so.

This is day 3 of depressing grey, wet, foggy weather. Its been cold enough that I had to put the winter quilt back on the bed last night. Too much of this makes me want to just sleep and makes my joints ache too.....grrrrrr

Guess its time to get something done.......

Friday, May 05, 2006

pictures as promised

Yes folks, I actually have pictures to post today!

The Art Card is the latest experiment, I'm not as pleased with it as I was with the Blues card, but I will keep trying. This one I used salt on for the sand beach and a bit of silk floral stuff for the sea weed. More ideas are perking....

This is the first shot of the newest framed piece I'm doing. This one is called Farm at Sunrise. I colored the background of the black areas with a marker so no white will show through when I'm done (its easier to do it this way than touch up afterwards as I've done in the past). Note the matte finish beads as "shadow". The buildings are all done, as are the shadows, and at the far right under the tractor I've started laying in the background beads. Not bad!

I'm now ready to put a face on the next bear. Peaches is a really pretty fabric, so I hope I do justice on her face. I'm also trying to create a caterpiller to put with her (we seem to have this theme going with this series of bears). The caterpiller has been more of a challenge than I thought it would be. Attempt #1 looks more like a fat ugly worm than anything else, so we're back to the drawing board there. Not discouraged yet tho'.

Worked on my own website for a while yesterday. I need to update a lot of stuff and get it posted out there. This part is fun, but time consuming, but it is yet another place where I can control my art (yes, I know, I never met a control issue I didn't like!!).

We took our dog to the vet yesterday for her shots. She got a clean bill of health report and a new "jinglie" for her collar. Vet says she looks wonderful, just right on the weight....she weighed 67 pounds. The green bean diet has been very successful, you just have to stick with it. We also got some enzime soaked raw hide chews to let her "brush" her own teeth (the tooth brush thing has not been very successful), this will help keep them clean.

So now it's off to work on caterpillers and other things......

Thursday, May 04, 2006

three days without pictures.....

what can I say. I've been spending a lot of time working on computer stuff.....

Have the basis of the web site I've been writing finished, now waiting for the "customer" to review, make requests, etc., this has been an interesting experience (now maybe I'll have some time to work on my own site!!)

Finished this morning the article for the magazine, got all the pictures transfered to the CD and wrote the letter. It will go in the mail today...YEAH!!

I did get the newest bear stuffed yesterday. Peaches is coming along nicely. Today I hope to work on her face and whatever is going to be her "friend".

The farm at sunrise piece is coming along too.....pictures tomorrow (I promise!)

Today we get to take the dog to the vet, always a fun escapade! Just the usual shots this time, which is a good thing.

Now its time for breakfast and to get things done....

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

You come, I'll make lamb!

For those of you who have seen "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", you'll recognize that line.....

Had fun yesterday doing a leg of lamb, stuffed grape leaves, lemon rice soup......yummy!

My sister, her husband and son and my daughter came to join us. Actually the lamb had been requested by my sister and her son who had tasted a little bit of it elsewhere and wanted more. We had purchased the lamb in California and carted it home with us for the repast.

Spent time this morning paying the monthly bills....there sure isn't much in the bank account after I do that..... 'sigh'.....

Today its back to work after having yesterday off to cook and eat and talk....I have an article to finish up and send off to the magazine, a new bear to stuff, and an idea for a new art card (my daughter gave me a whole lot of new materials to work with....YEAH!). In between we need to have the oil changed, pick up a lottery ticket and a couple of other projects......

Time for some breakfast and then to work.....

Monday, May 01, 2006

On being humbled......

Going to the Health Fair was a new experience for me. Long spoiled by having had really good insurance the entire time I worked and even after that while my husband’s retirement insurance covered me, I approached the entire process with a sense of loss. Frankly, I looked at my need to make use of this service a step down from the privileged way I had always just gone to the doctor’s office to have lab work done and not worried about the cost because my insurance would cover it.
Changes in my husband’s insurance about 18 months ago made it financially impossible for me to continue to keep that great coverage I had. The coverage that I was able to get at a premium price that I could afford (just barely), meant the first $1,000.00 of medical costs each year would have to be paid for by me (as well as having to pay for all of my prescription drugs, which did not apply to that $1,000.00).
So here I was, at 6:30 am on a Thursday morning, heading out of the house for the local Health Fair before breakfast.
Arriving at the location, I went inside and stopped at the first table inside the door. Politely I asked where I needed to go first. “We aren’t supposed to start until 7:00”, I was told, to which I said “but it’s already 7:04”. Bad choice on my part I guess, as I was told to go down to the auditorium, with a wave of the hand in the general direction of the hallway.
So, down the hall I went, turning in at the sign hanging from the ceiling that said “Start Here”. Right behind me came the same unpleasant woman, saying “no, not here, I said the auditorium”. So further down the hall I went, finding the auditorium finally without any assistance from the half dozen dazed looking students standing around in the hallway.
Once in the auditorium, I was given a numbered ticket and told that my number would be called. The auditorium was already pretty full, and no one there seemed to have any idea what was happening. A volunteer came in with a stack of maps that showed where things were supposed to be. Then another volunteer came in and told us that we need to fill in the paperwork to register. As if one, everyone in the auditorium files back out into the hall and forms a line back down to the “start here” sign to get the paperwork, fill it in and pay our $30 for our blood work.
As soon as I have handed over my form and my check, they check over the form then hand back two copies of it to me. “You’ll need to give this to the lab when you have the blood drawn” I’m told. Then I’m back in the hall waiting in line to have my “vitals” taken. It’s taking forever to do this simple measurement, and after about 15 minutes several of us go back into the auditorium to wait until they get caught up with the blood pressure measuring.
After a while a volunteer comes in and says the line has cleared up and we can try again. Once I’m in the room for blood pressure measuring, I figure out why it was taking so long. The “volunteers” are very beginning students. The one that takes my blood pressure isn’t sure she’s getting the right reading and has to ask an instructor to double check it. She never can find my pulse, and another student who has obviously had more training, has to do it. All the while the first student is giggling like a 12 year old. I’m thinking it’s a good thing this isn’t the only place I ever get my blood pressure checked.
Back into the hallway, they are calling groups of numbers six at a time to go have the blood work done. They are about 30 away from my number, so I decide to wander down the hall and try to find the “community information” room where I hope to pick up information about low cost mammograms. No information available on that, but I get a booklet on stroke and heart attack and a new toothbrush. The girls behind one table are inflating a pig’s lung to demonstrate the effects of tobacco use, and want to give me a nicotine patch, which I decline telling them I gave up that nasty habit a long time ago. As I head out the door I pick up a small piece of chocolate and a mint that I put in my bag to eat on my way home.
I walked down the hall to see if they are doing the Bone Density Screening or the Foot Screening or the Breast Screening that was listed on the web site for the site. They aren’t. In addition, they have already run out of the colon cancer screening test packets. So much for one stop shopping.
Back down the hall toward the auditorium, and I decide to talk to some of the other people that are waiting with me. I admit I had a preconceived idea of who would be at a Health Fair. I am surprised by the wide variety of folks that are. There is a large group of people that are there to have the blood work done because the $30 gets you about $500 worth of lab work, and they either have no insurance or they have such a large deductible that they can’t afford to have the work done.
One young woman tells me she is on Medicaid and for eight months she has not felt well, but even with Medicaid she can’t afford to have lab work done. She’s hoping this one day shot will help her feel better.
Another athletic looking couple in their 40’s are there because it’s “such a good deal”. A lovely 50-something artist waits with me and tells me that she too has had a problem finding an affordable individual insurance plan. There are about half a dozen young women in there 20s that have no insurance because they are no longer covered under their parents’ policies and their employers don’t offer a health care program.
At last it is my turn to go to the area where the lab work is being done. They take six of us and have us sit in the hall. One of the women is checking her watch every two minutes. It’s now almost 8:30 and she’s late for work.
Before we go into the room the volunteer at the door takes our paperwork and makes us recite to her what we have written on the form (I wonder if they think I’ll tell them I’m someone else at some other address than I used on the form). Once I’m in the room, I see that we are again dealing with students. As I’m shown to a table, I tell the young lady that I am her challenge for the morning. “How’s that?” she asks me, and I tell her “the veins are deep and they roll and you get ONE shot at it”. I’ve been to labs with fully trained staff and looked like I’ve been beaten for days after because they didn’t do it right, I’m not letting a student use me for a lab rat, no matter how inexpensive it is. I’m surprised, she gets it right without problem, she’s the first student that has impressed me. She takes the original of the form and hands me the yellow copy. “That’s your receipt,” she tells me. “Your test results will come in the mail in three to six weeks.” I can tell she has said that a lot.
Back out in the hall I overhear someone talking to the unpleasant woman that I encountered at the front door. The couple is saying they have been to a lot of other Health Fairs and none of them has even been so disorganized. I hear her say “well, we started with a plan and departed from there” and laughs. To her this is obviously just another day’s work. It would be nice if she had some understanding of how important what they are supposed to be doing is. I decide not to get into that conversation. I’ve had enough of her today.
On my way back to car I put the chocolate in my mouth. It’s been quite an experience, but next year I think I’ll go to some other facility. Once is enough with this group.
It’s a humbling experience. I feel like I’ve been treated like part of a cattle call. I remember my daughter complaining about a clinic when we lived in California. She said that she would have gotten better care from a veterinarian and threatened to growl, bark and pee on the floor to see if she could get a response. I understand that feeling. I need a lot more chocolate.

It's been a while.....

since I got here to post, so I'll do a quick review.

Thursday morning I went to the Health Fair.....a whole Loooooooonnnnnggggg story there, which I will post later, I'm still "polishing" the essay.

I have been working on my entry to Lark Books for their upcoming publication "500 Earrings". Over the weekend I got all the pictures taken (some still not quite to my satisfaction), got the CD burned, the form filled out, etc., etc., etc. It goes in the mail this morning.....nothing like waiting until the last possible minute to meet the postmark deadline ... not my usual style, but it happens sometimes.

Next contest entry is due soon, it is for the ACE, a teddy bear contest, so I'm working on photos and forms for that one too.

FINALLY got the check from the place in California for the car, so that's one less concern. I spent some time on Friday and Saturday picking up job applications from fabric and quilt shops that are close to home. Its pretty clear that if we're going to have to make a car payment (and pay for comprehensive insurance, license for newer car, etc.) that my days of just creating art are over. So hopefully I can get on somewhere with hours that will still allow us to do a few shows.

Finished the applique on another pair of the quilt blocks. This on is September, cute with his leaf hat ears. Now I'm working on Thanksgiving and having trouble with the turkey hats.....so many small curves! The blocks are definately on the home stretch now tho', only June, February and December left (saving December for last because it is the most complex, and I figure I may have learned something doing the others first to make it easier).

Also finished the Icon, and it came out really well. It looks pretty amazing in the frame. So now its on to a piece that is a farm at sunrise and two more pieces of jewelry (one of these is a fish with raised scales....a new technique I want to try).

Well, guess its time to get to work. I have cleaning and shopping and laundry (OH MY) to do today.......