What's Doing Wednesday? Aceo

Still organizing the craft stuff here and thinking about how life is going to change, hopefully, for the better.  Husband and I have plans which will uproot us once again.  One of these days, if all goes well with the paperwork, I'll have a wonderful post for a Wednesday share.  That news is probably many months away.

This aceo is nearly finished.  The gentleman is a dear relative and the joke is on me. 

I've learned to see humor where none exists, if only to keep putting one foot in front of the other...to keep going and to enjoy the moment.  Do you have something you do to keep you grounded or to help you endure the stormy seas so as not to get shipwrecked?  Know what I mean?

Patriotic Sky View Trees Nature's Sparklers

The leaf buds come in as little nubby red tufts all over the branches.  They are like tiny sparklers just waiting to ignite into something exciting and eyecatching. I've been watching the tree for a week.  A few days before this photo was taken, the red buds were much smaller.   When the buds grow out, the leaves are green, not red.  Autumn makes the leaves brown and crunchy, and we wait for a little rain to make raking easier as this is a big tree and there are about 40 black bags (the big ones) to fill to overflowing with downed leaves. 

I waited for a blue sky with a white cloud or two to take this photo.  We have few sunny days here, and all I could do was try to focus and take a few photos.  The sun glare blocked out my lcd viewer so I was nicely surprised to get this photo.

This patriotic sky view made me think of the flags of other nations.  As it turns out, Red, White, and Blue is the most popular color combo in flags.  Some other countries with these colors include:  Chile, Australia, Cuba, France, Netherlands, Cambodia, Taiwan, and the UK.

We are back into the 30's in the daytime and the 20's at night.  But, Spring will be arriving here, any day, come on, we're waiting...

What's Doing Wednesday? Mixed Media Aceo


Adding some watercolors to the aceos
and agonized over tearing up a 100 year old book! 

I did tear it apart, it wasn't a valuable first edition type book, the cover was damaged when I bought it and it was published many times over, so I felt it probably would have been thrown away if I had donated it to the thrift store.  I bought the book a long while ago and saved it for just this purpose since I liked the old style paper pages and will use them as foundation pieces on some aceos in the future. 

I started this aceo at a crossroads in my life.  The angel image is of an ornament given to me many years ago.  This aceo is a work in progress and nearly finished.

Monday Someday ... Dream Aceo

Completed ACEO in Shop
 It's a slow moving dreamy kind of day.  We've had a little taste of Spring weather and it makes me long for looking up at the clouds with a breeze and some sunshine. 

This aceo is a work in progress.  The horse is an image I photographed years ago while on one of my exploring the area moods.  From standing in the field with his buddies he has dreamt of becoming more than a waiting around kind of horse, he is now a unicorn...

I've just joined the Spring Blog Hop started here:
Check it out!

A Pie By Any Other Name

Here's a version of Italian Meat Pie I made.  It's not a pie, and it's not Italian, I changed ingredients around to make this and it came out pretty delish.  This was for 2 servings, but it could easily serve 3 or 4 if you want to have it as a snack or add side dishes.

Cook the sausage and drain fat if there is any.  Scramble the eggs and add the cheese and any herbs and spices you wish.  I also added thawed frozen chopped spinach and some finely slicely carrots.  Pour the egg/cheese/herb mixture into the sausage and cook SLIGHTLY, you don't want to completely cook the eggs as they will continue to cook in the dough and otherwise will be too dry if you finish them up in the pan.

Important:  Remove the pan from the burner and let the mixture cool for at least 15 minutes depending on the temperature in your kitchen.  If you add the mixture to the dough immediately after cooking, the dough will be very uncooperative and you will have a bit of a messy dough.

I put the dough on parchment paper, season if you like and then put the semi-cooled mixture in the middle of the dough.  Turn the long sides of the dough in first.  Then roll up the dough from one end, as a jelly roll.  I brushed the dough with egg wash or you can use oil, and I like to sprinkle parsley and garlic on top.

The dough doesn't come with cooking instructions.  I cooked it at 350F for about 18 minutes.  Slice, eat, and enjoy!  

I think the next one I make will be ham and cheese.  Or, a veg and cheese. What other combos would be tasty? 

Blarney and Winkles Saint Patrick's Day

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!  

Sally sent a package of winkles from her close by beach in Ireland.  She wrote a sweet note and enclosed it with the shells.  The largest of the winkles echoes the waves of the water in my ear.  There was a little bit of Irish sand in the shells and I collected it and put it back into the bag with the shells, I didn't want to lose any of it.   We may have not yet gone to the homeland of my husband's father, but we have a piece of its heart here in our hands with these shells.

Sally sells on Etsy as:   http://www.etsy.com/shop/BeforeImGone  Take a moment and read her Shop Announcement, it's very touching.  She's an 83 year old lady and her story is wonderful.

Winkles spread out on the beach calendar photo of Ireland with some of OH's books and Sally's note.

Show and Tell Giveaway Win

During the One World One Heart event, I was the lucky winner of Michaele's giveaway!  She's a busy blogger with two blogs, she's also a teacher, (the reason for the post title) a mom, a wife, and on and on...  Like lots of us, she's busy with a capital B!

The giveaway prize was a super duper quantity and colorful assortment of pattern blocks.  I am going to use them in several different ways; I'll post when some of the ideas I have are worked into this bag of colorful blocks.

Thank you, Michaele! 
Please have a look at her blog: http://kidney-garden.blogspot.com/

A pretty handmade card Michaele sent with a note. 

A big bag of pattern blocks.

Flintstones Blogaversary Serenade One Year Old

Here is my 1 year blogaversary present to you... 

Thank you for reading, commenting, and following the blog.  You make me smile and laugh and you inspire me;  I hope the feeling is mutual.  Thank you for sharing this space with me. 

Distracted and Delighted Organizing and Saving Tips

Yesterday I went to the craft store to return an item which had a container which was really difficult to open, I figured I would be annoyed with this every time I wanted to use it, so I intended to return it for a different brand.  I left the store without even looking for a replacement!  Do you ever do that- get distracted by all of the other items and the ideas start to flow and then when you get home or in the car and that's when you remember what you were going to buy in the first place?

I spent far too long in the craft store.  I couldn't remember if I had certain items and took a lot of time picking out what I thought I wanted, only to put them back since I was frustrated with the choices available.  I often buy what I don't really want to try to make it fit my needs.   Or, buy something because it might come in handy, and then don't use it.
egg cups holders

The good thing with all of this wasted time was that today I have been sorting out boxes, drawers, and jars and finding things I'd forgotten about!  That saved me money from yesterday's store trip, but I still have more stuff than I'll probably ever use.  Since I sorted a bit today, I can now return two things I bought yesterday as I found some I already have.

I found some embrodiery threads with price tags so low, leftover lace from my bridal veil, snippets from old clothes and hats, and bits and pieces of sentimental value.  It was sad to look back,  and yet uplifting to remember some happy times.

My embrodiery hoops are now hanging from a tension rod at the top of a closet,  embrodiery threads are sorted in a see through box,  paint brushes are in cups ready for using, transfers and books are on the shelf...but so much more to sort through!

I wanted to take a photo, but this morning the batteries quit on me and I didn't charge the next set.  We had snow again, it's so boring talking about the endless winter, so I stopped telling you.  But, the batteries gave out when I was photographing the snow winding its way around the tree as if it was a whipped cream piping.  Here's a little savings tip:  I tried these rundown batteries in my portable radio and remotes and they work fine, there is a little juice left in them for a lower use item.

Just Because This Plays Over and Over Unwritten Lyrics

Just because this song plays over and over in my head after hearing it once in a while on the radio, I decided to search for the complete lyrics; they've been used in commercials, too.  Now I know what those few words are which I couldn't quite hear from the radio.  It must be saying something to me on a subconscious level. 

Do you have a song on a loop? 

Here are the lyrics for, "Unwritten"...


(lyrics and songwriters: Brisebois, Danielle A; Bedingfield, Natasha Anne; Rodriques, Wayne Steven)

I am unwritten
Can't read my mind
I'm undefined

I'm just beginning
The pen's in my hand
Ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words
That you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin

No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips

Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Oh, oh

I break tradition
Sometimes my tries
Are outside the lines

We've been conditioned
To not make mistakes
But I can't live that way, no

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words
That you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin

No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
[ From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/n/natasha-bedingfield-lyrics/unwritten-lyrics-18.html ]

Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open

New Toy Mini Pans and Lemon Loaves

There was a reason for buying these:
but I'm not telling.  I decided to try them out, and it was like a little tea party cake, and I plan on using them more often than not.   Cute mini pans for petite cakes and slices.

I made some mini lemon cake loaves, adding fresh lemon juice to the batter and cocoa sprinkled on half of each finished loaf.  The icing was fresh lemon juice, a little lemon zest, and Confectioners Sugar.  Pucker up, it was lemony and good.  The cocoa was a nice try, it doesn't sound good, "Lemon and Cocoa," but it was.  Next time I think I will try blueberries with lemon.  Poppy seeds and lemon go well together, too.  I thought about using coconut, but I don't like it.  I was thinking Spring and made Lemon Cake right in the middle of winter.   

I'm going to make mini Pound Cakes, cherries and walnuts for me versus Marble or maybe Raisins for him. 

Saint David Keep Him Close for Me A Dog's Life and Love

DaffodilsSaint David is the Patron Saint of Wales and March 1st is the day for his remembrance and celebration for Wales.  The daffodil is reputed to be Saint David's favorite flower.  The shape seems to be trumpeting the arrival of Spring!  Some people say that the flower top is soon hanging its head in sadness and is placed often on graves.  I've never heard that bit about graves before, it's some trivia I recently found.  The daffodil is a narcissus and comes in variation of colors.  Planted as a bulb, it will also come back year after year and naturally multiply on its own.   

At my home on the east coast, I planted daffodil bulbs in the farthest corner of my yard and waited for them to flower and multiply.  This second photo is not of my backyard, but this is similar to the way it looked.  My dog was surprised to find these flowers coming up amidst his favorite spots to sniff and explore.  They would brush against his short legs and bounce off his velvety black coat.  He'd run towards me with his big Beagle ears flapping, he loved the backyard so much. 

When we first adopted him, it was a rough time for him, coming from the home of an elderly lady who didn't drive and when her niece and the niece's boyfriend moved in my dog was not wanted or liked by the two new people in his life. 

We rescued him from the shelter the first day he had arrived.  He was standing under a very tall, all white purebred dog- which looked the size of a small pony.  I'd never walked a dog before and the shelter manager gave me his leash and told me to walk him to see if we were okay together.  I shouldn't have had any fears or doubts, we took off together, he was a little reticent and when I read the tag on his collar and called him by the name, he just loved that, me, a total stranger- knew his name!  This was the beginning of many little surprises, adventures, and secrets the two of us would share in the years ahead.

Since he had never been in a car before, except for the drive to the shelter and I think that was in the back of a truck, there were some trying times we had getting him used to a moving vehicle and not being sick in it- I think you know what I mean.  Eventually he couldn't contain his excitement when he knew he was going for a drive, he loved his car rides and sometimes just settled in for a nice nap.

He was afraid of a few things, owing I believe, to his not going out or meeting people and other unfamiliar places and objects; I tried to get him to meet a horse, but that frightened him, so I let it go.  He tried to upturn a large turtle we met on one of our walks.  He kept going close up and backing away repeatedly and I thought the turtle was going to snap and bite his nose, it was funny and charming to see his curiousity in action. 

He loved meeting new dogs, it was a loud yet comical situation where we had met a dog on
our walk and this dog followed us home.  He kept coming up to our door howling  and wailing so loudly for him to come out and play and ours wanted to go out to play so badly, but it was time to go to sleep and eventually the dog went home.  Everybody who met our black and white beauty liked him and wanted to pet his gorgeous coat. 

We adopted him at almost 2 1/2 years old and he had never been off his leash for walking.  At the time we adopted him, we were living in a townhouse without a fenced yard.  Six years later we moved to a single family home with a big fenced in backyard. 

A field of wild daffodils on the church walk at Baddesley ClintonTo introduce him to his new home, I walked my black furangel on his leash to the backyard.  He was just in awe.  I disconnected his leash and he just stood by my side, a little bit scared of the unknown yard with its overgrown grass.  I encouraged him to go and explore, but he wouldn't leave my side.  So, together the two of us started walking and he was confused, and only walked on his own by looking back at me after every few steps he took, to reassure himself that I wasn't abandoning him.  He wasn't certain that he liked his new domain and made the first exploration a brief one.  It took a little more time, but he soon adapted and made the whole of the backyard his own outside sanctuary. 

Inside the house, he made himself very comfortable, on the couch he loved to put his nose
behind my back and sleep, or he'd go to his bed and nap and then all of a sudden he'd wake up and run into whatever room I was in, to be reassured I was still there.  He loved the hair dryer and would turn to switch sides to make sure he was warmed all over.  He "spooned" in bed or put his head on my lap.  He was a loud sleeper with snoring and woofing  and running legs.  Sometimes I'd just laugh at his noises, they were just so endearing.

He often wagged his tail so furiously, as if in complete circles with the backside looking like a circus juggling act, that I thought the tail would wind itself so tightly and fly off into space.  He was that happy and threw all of himself into the moment.

From Day 1 of him coming to live with us, he'd pose for the camera.  I have photos of him, so skinny and curious walking up to me investigating what I was holding, the camera.  Once he realized it was not attached to my face, he'd comply with me telling him where to stand or lay.  It was funny, he'd put up with me and my camera for a little while and then he'd want petting, cuddling, and a song.  Yes, I would sing to him and sometimes hold up his front paws and try to get a little rhythm going.  I only knew a few lines of 42nd St, but I'd sing it because of his tuxedo look.  I'd sing a few other songs too, and he was entertained by my silliness.

After a taco meal I'd give him the paper plate with some taco for him and a little extra sauce on it.  He would lick that paper plate until it was shredded and there were holes in it and he'd put his foot on the plate to hold it down, being careful not to step in any food.  He loved popcorn and just for fun, I'd make a trail and watch him eat his way to wherever I was.  He loved tuna, salmon, tomatoes and more foods I thought he'd never like, although
he didn't like pickles. 

Outside he found spots with soft grass to rest on, made a running trail to tease the neighbor's dogs, accidentally put his paw prints in paint on the steps, and lolled under low hanging branches.  He chased squirrels and pulled tendons (several times).  He lazily ran after rabbits, never wanting to catch them, just wanted them to move on to another yard.  He jogged towards birds and was desperate to make contact with chipmunks- for some unknown reason he never liked chipmunks.

He'd jump up and try to catch flies, and sometimes he did- he'd either eat them right away, before they were completely dead (can you imagine that buzzing in his mouth) or put them on the floor and examine them.  Then he would eat them!  No licking me after that!

I had lots of tears over him getting Lyme Disease, that's when I found out we had been paying for the vaccine for years, and the vet never gave it to him.  He had surgery for growths/warts on his legs, he ripped a nail and ran all through the house dripping blood,  he got stung by bees more than once, he almost became paralyzed from an arthritis prescription, he had to have eyedrops (which he hated), he had a heart problem, and he had cancer.  Kidney disease took his life.

All of this sounds like he was in terrible condition, but he wasn't.  He ran everyday, he ate everything given and some things he found outside which he shouldn't, he played, he snuggled, he was normal in all respects.  He was a lover of life, curious, a little scoundrel at times and he had a lot of gusto!

The vet said my sweet scoundrel had 1-4 months left before the surgery for cancer, and the vet wouldn't promise that he would survive the surgery because of the heart problem,  but he made it happily through for almost 3 years more.   One day in April he was not eating or drinking and so the next day we took him to the vet.  Tests showed kidney disease.  He wouldn't eat the special food and we had to adapt his diet, but he seemed to recover well until the middle of September.  This was the time of the Chinese companies poisoning both baby and pet food, and his wet canned food was on the poisoned list of recalled foods. 

I've had a lot of losses in life and was mad at God for my little Hoover having cancer.  But, then God gave us more time together and it was a healthy time until his last few weeks with us.  The end was so unfair, he survived cancer only to get another disease, one that did not have to happen to him and many others.  

I watched him sunning in the grass, chasing squirrels-trying to climb the tree to catch them, making his way through snowbanks, and enjoying his meals.  One of his nicknames was, "Hoover" due to the way he ate his food and snacks- like a vacuum turned to High. 

Every single day was a brand new start for him.  Whatever had gone on before, problems, arguments, whatever it may have been which would mean that I would start a new morning with the memory of pain and discontent- he didn't share that attitude, he didn't hold a grudge, he was happy to begin again and wanted to get going on to a new adventure and I tried to do that, knowing I would be hurting soon enough.

 After the lawn was mowed he'd usually roll in the grass and really smush the clippings in to his fur, so he had just the right odor, I mean fragrance.  He was a Beagle and they love scents.  He rolled in other things, too, disgusting things, things we did not want to touch.

When his voice got a little deeper after we had been away for 9 days, I realized how much he missed us and how time was taking its toll.  He was mistreated at the kennel and wouldn't take any cuddling from me.  He came in the house, leaped up into the corner of the couch and wouldn't look at me.  He needed time to feel better and forgive me- it only took a few hours and he felt safe again.  We called up and visited the kennel after this and gave them hell- the odd thing was that they were highly rated.

I miss him greatly.  He passed on at about 17 1/2 years old, still black and beautiful, still enjoying the sunshine, just the white on his face grew in as the years passed.

He had so many charming traits, quirks, likes and dislikes, sometimes exasperating, but never enough to be less than Number 1 Dog in my heart and home.  I could go on, but if you love pets, you know what I am talking about.  They love us and leave us to miss them incredibly and completely.  His personality was so big it filled the house and without him the echoes weren't enough to soothe the wound and fill the hole.

If Saint David likes dogs, I hope he is watching over my much loved and missed one, in a field of daffodils and sweet smelling grass.   Dewi Sant, Patron Saint of Wales, Home of My Mother and Ancestors...