What if Everyday Was New Year's Day?

aceo paper collage newendstudio
Another twelve months spent as the sands of time run between our fingers.  Did we reach for the stars with the help of a step ladder?  Is a try as good as a win?  The To Do List gets longer, not shorter. But isn't that the way it should be?  

Are we wiser and not just older?  Are we happier or better by savoring contentment?  Have we reached any of our goals?

What if everyday was New Year's Day?  It's the day after the party, after the expectations and the list making.  Resolution and forward thinking plus planning finds its way into the week after Christmas and before the long weeks of winter and hibernation ensue. 

What if everyday was the day commitments were begun?  What if all day long, it being New Year's Day each and every day, the promise to ourselves took the best seat in the house.  

Every day we get a chance to start our Second Act.  Our New Year's is not inscribed in stone, not yet.

I was looking through my photos (the ones the computer didn't lose for the third time) and saw this one of my aceo, Second Acts.

2013 was to be the end of one era for me and 2014 to be the Second Act so to speak.  But, as things happen, I'm still going to be in a 2013 state of being for the foreseeable future.  2014 living will be my New Year's Day whichever day it falls on in the new year.  

I said this last year , and it's worth repeating:

"Thank you for bringing laughter, wisdom, and heartfelt tears."  
Let's renew and continue to meet again in the New Year..."

All the best to you in 2014 and may your plans be well played out for you and those you love.  See you soon...

Christmas Wishes

Merry Christmas Friends,

Christmas decorations

Bells will be ringing

Candles and angels both shining bright...

Singing, "Peace on Earth"

The Prince of Peace,

Your Christmas Gift is here!

Waiting for Santa
Little ones hoping to see Santa when he slides down the chimney

fall asleep in the cozy fire's glow with snack in hand and sweet dreams to entertain.

Christmas cupcake waits on the mantel for a quick snack, but- will it still be there on Christmas morning?

ornaments on tree

Wishing all of you the 
Best of Christmas Gifts,

Peace, Love, Good Health, 
Friendship, Purpose, & Prosperity

For this Christmas and the New Year! 

Christmas 2013

Happy Christmas and See You Soon...

Meet Chico the Welsh Donkey who Walked 1000 Miles Around Wales with Hannah Engelkamp, He's The Seaside Donkey

"ETA:   With Christmas a few days from now I thought it time to post about donkeys. What's the Christmas connection?  Thinking over the Bible passages with donkeys: as transport for Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem; when the family left with new baby Jesus and used a donkey to carry Mary and Child;  Palm Sunday with Jesus riding into the city atop a donkey; finally, the talking donkey in Numbers:22 in the Old Testament.  There may be other stories, but these first come to mind. The humble and unspectacular donkey is a star, a story focus, a beast of burden, a purposeful spirit, and a cantankerous companion."  

My only experience with a mule, or is it a donkey, was a "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" birthday game from when I was very young.  (I'm not ancient yet.  Is that game still around?)

•Catrin Edwards, Cara Bastin and Kaylyn Dalton meet Chico.
Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Review newspaper article and image.
For the past few months I've been entertained, entranced, and gotten a little misty eyed reading Seaside Donkey, 1000 Miles Around Wales, With a Donkey.  The writer just finished her walk around the coastline of Wales with, "Chico."  

I'm telling you about Hannah (the writer and adventuress) in case you may like to visit her blog and get caught up in this story.  I'm impressed with her gumption for setting out to do something like this.  You can find links to newspaper coverage of her walk here.

The walk was not without it's problems.  Besides the weather (Wales can be very rainy) there was relationship building between woman and donkey.

Time on the road, the fields, the shoreline and more was about 5 and 1/2 months.  My feet hurt just thinking about that.

The Kickstarter project she has set up and needs backing for can be read about here.  A book, movie, and more are in the works- looks like a lot of fun.  I hope she gets all the pledges needed.  The cut off for pledges is January 29, 2014.  If I had the opportunity I would go on the walk she is offering. Chico's big eyes just call out for attention.  Of course, he has Flo now, so he's not entirely lonely.

Congratulations to Hannah, Chico, and those who gave a hand along the walk.    


Moving Across the Historic Highway Coast to Coast on Historic Lincoln Highway

The beginning of the Lincoln Highway, in Times Square, New York.
Image: Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times.
The eastern terminus for Lincoln Highway is in Times Square
and the western terminus is in Lincoln Park, San Francisco.
Before there was Route 80, before Route 50, there was Lincoln Highway, the nation's first paved coast to coast road. Construction started in 1913.  It took more than a decade of hard work to build and navigate the 3,000 plus miles in all kinds of weather.

Standing in Times Square, I'd never foreseen that I'd be driving on Lincoln Way years later, nor thought about it when visiting family in San Francisco; didn't know of it's historical importance.

You could say the road was built on enthusiasm and a bright idea.  It was intended to be a toll-free road, the most direct route from New York  to California, and built by business people and not by the government.   An interesting look at the history of the road and how it came to be is here.  

Gas stations had to be built, guides, motels, diners, and more were needed to serve the people and their vehicles.  Early road goers had to make do with campsites and the best they could hope to cover on the road was about 18 miles per day with the cars available.  I have an image from Grapes of Wrath when I think of car travel in the 1920's and 30's.

US30 Historic Lincoln Highway
Driving down the hill on Lincoln Way before it crosses over the river.
Christmas lights makes downtown look cheerful on a rainy evening.

I drive on Lincoln Way often. Surviving over 100 years and being a gateway from ocean to ocean, it's a piece of our past which can still be appreciated today.

If you ever do a coast to coast and find yourself on Lincoln Highway, (also called US 30) get in touch for a cup of tea and a chat.

Have you ever travelled on this historic road?

If you want to read more about it:   Lincoln Highway News  is a blog about it and for Ohio interests Discovering Ohio names some of the places you can visit, like the Kewpee Diner, First Ladies National Library, and more.

A Pinch of This and a Pinch of That Christmas Colored Cake with Jello

Ever need an easy dessert for the holidays, maybe a cake that's not completely plain and need it fast? How about jazzing up a boxed cake mix with a red and green theme?

Take a Pound Cake Mix and after preparing the batter, divide it into three portions - make them as equal or unequal as you like.

I added one small box of Lime Jello to one portion, squirted some Red Food Coloring into another portion, left the basic batter plain and then layered each into the loaf pan.  I swirled them a bit to make the irregular design.

You could use Cherry or Strawberry Jello and Green Food Coloring to switch it up.  A layer cake or sheet cake would also work instead of a pound cake.

Add some whipped cream and you have a quick and easy treat.

I don't remember where I got the little Christmas teapot from, but since tea is my main drink, this ornament makes me smile.

Have a wonderful day and enjoy...

Tree Trimming Helper

dog in Christmas hat and antlers
I was okay with the garland as necklace, but
 I DO NOT like the x*#! hat and antlers!

I couldn't resist.  She pulled the antlers off twice, but then she let me get a few snaps of her.  I will say that she enjoyed the necklace (beaded garland) and walked around the house wearing it, no problems with the jewelry diva in her.
But, when I put the antlers on, that was a different story.

Lucy, my tree trimming helper:

dog with antlers
Look into my eyes... this will be the last time I wear antlers for you!
antlers on dog
The indignity of this getup!  I will get you for this...

Stretching Dollars and Charming the Grinch

tutorial to make thrifty wreaths
That Grinch song is playing on the radio and it's so darn catchy.  I know a few people who are real grinches, and not just at Christmastime but all the year long.  They have no interest in celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, or any significant milestone or achievement.  They live for themselves.  They are miserly with their time; they are stingy with their words; they are selfish and satisfy only their own needs and wants.
Do you know any grinches?

tutorial for stretching dollars with wreath making
I wanted to put wreaths on the windows, but with packing and decluttering and trying not to spend on more stuff- I set out to see how cheaply I could make 6 cheery wreaths.

At a dollar store I bought one package of wired garland, which was 15 feet for $1.00.  Plus I bought some curling ribbon $1.00 for each roll and 2 packages of red glittered bows with loops for $1.00 each (6 bows in total.)

I cut the garland to size and just connected the cut ends by wrapping one end to the other.  I put the bow loop over one of the cut ends before wrapping it closed. Then I just put the ribbon around the circle, over and under- simple.  It still was a little skimpy so I put curling ribbon on three places on the big wreath and on the bottom on the smaller wreaths.  I took a card someone had sent, cut it down with patterned scissors and hung it from the bow.


That's my wish for you and to the Grinches in this world. I hope the holidays don't overwhelm you. Don't let the hub-bub, the crowds, traffic, and all that there is to do- take your joy.

Thanksgiving Reflections

lake and monument at High Point NJ
High Point, NJ in the Autumn.
While I am writing this, (Monday) we are being warned about the first big snowstorm of the autumn- it's not yet winter and we have had frequent snow flurries since our snow on 11/12/13.

If the weather gives a break then I am going to get a Christmas tree this weekend.  It's not usual for me to decorate this early, but I really feel like some ornament and garland hanging is the medicine of choice to lift the gloom of these early snowstorms. (That and some brandied egg nog.  I bought Soy Egg Nog to try.)

I think I may pull out some of those remaining record albums and lose my voice singing along.  Lucy (dog) is never sure what to make of those sing out loud moments of mine.  

My turkey is defrosting in the fridge; the dessert will be apple pie with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  It will be a good day to reflect on the happy moments and the trying ones, but most of all to just feel peaceful and thankful for all the moments that make up a lifetime.

Thanks to all of you for visiting and sharing your time and kindnesses.  Thanksgiving is universal, and in the USA we celebrate on Thursday.  It's our official day to acknowledge and remember, to gather with family and friends if we are able, and to enjoy good food, parades, and whatever else you want to keep close.

Wishing All of You a Very Happy Thanksgiving!    

One Foot in Front of the Other

Learning new things is scary and exhilarating at the same time.  A few new things crossed my path this past month and I didn't want to do them- at first- but then once I did and put my oar in the water, so to speak, it was a little triumph.  

There's another first time thing, a short little video I made. I have been putting off learning how to make a video, and I dropped the camera yesterday so not sure what would be the result, but I just jumped in and tried.

My plans to relocate by today due to one thing and another, just didn't materialize.  But, never fear, I am forging ahead and still decluttering, selling stuff, and nursing my bruises and wounds.  In due time I'll sell the house and move on.  As long as it takes, is what ever will be.  Unlike St. Nick who settled in for a long winter's nap, I will be working my pace and moving some day.  Fingers crossed- by late Spring of next year.

I packed away most of my craft and art supplies, but I still have a few things I can do when I get the time.   I've got some makeover shoes for an upcoming post.  Have a great week!

Wintry Welcome

Feels like longer, but it's only been about 6 1/2 weeks since I was here.  That's 1,104 hours or there abouts or 46 days.  I did say I would be back the first week in October, but as we all know, sometimes things get in the path of good intentions.

November 12, 2013 written in the snow
We had a thick coating of snow this morning.  As it's one of those mathematically notable days, "11/12/13" I ventured out in the cold to take this photo of the date written in the snow (by me) and got a bit of frigid air as a gift lifting up my coat. Breezy and snowy- good combination; then back inside before my camera froze and drying off my coat and slacks.

Welcome to an early winter in the northern hemisphere, or at least the northern part of this state.

All Dried Out and Check Your Hose Tip

Image Source
With a title like that, I don't know what you might be thinking, but it's safe to keep reading.  I promised to come back this week to update and my house clearing adventure over the past week did not disappoint.

Here's the tip:  Check Your Water Hose Connections on Your Washing Machine and Dishwasher at Least Once a Year.  

You know how you put off doing things because there are so many things to do?  Well, I often noticed that my cold water connection was pretty newish, at least installed in the past ten years and it looked clean, non rusty, and the hose was flexible.  The hot water connection was an ugly rusted monstrosity and the hose was not flexible and I should have given it some attention.

Here's what happened (in brief):   the connection/hose on the hot water pipe line shot water all over the basement through the wash and rinse cycles. It was like standing under a water fountain in a public monument and walking into inch deep water.  The washing machine is fine but my cleanup left me with two ruined tables, wet chairs, a soaked fan, and an underwater emergency radio.  I lost four good packing boxes plus two boxes of packing papers- some bubble wrap is drying out.   A few other things may be salvageable and I threw out other boxes that were soggy.

It took the better part of two-three days plus Liquid Wrench and muscle to dislodge the bad coupling thingamajig.  The hose and replacement parts are now new and shiny.  I can do laundry again!

The good news is that lots of stuff was in big plastic/vinyl totes, not in cardboard boxes yet, so they survived the shower.  The other good news is that Jury Duty was not required.

Thank you for checking in.  I'm going to get back to some kind of normalcy any day now, no promises as to when.  My eye is giving me a little concern so there are loads of reading to get to and emails to answer, please don't think I have forgotten.

Make sure you check your hoses soon!  I'll be back next week.  Enjoy the end of summer, the weather here has been chilly, but comfortable, hope it's really nice where you are.
Bye for now.    


Yellow Roses for the Wounded an Update

It was so nice to log on today, do a skim and see what everyone has been doing. There are new babies on the way- Congrats Paula!  Lots of new babies making moms happy and tired, new business ventures, new products, new art, new jewelry, and more. I've kept busy plugging away:  packing, sorting, shredding, donating, discarding, painting, and planning.

yellow roses in a bud vaseIn the past few weeks I've dropped a ladder on my right foot- ouch, poor toes got bruised, but better now.  I twisted my left foot and couldn't walk for days, all better now.  Sprained my left wrist and arm badly- still not healed, but slowly coming around.  Dealing with allergies, colds, and fever- but hey, no moaning- just keep on keeping on as they say.

Into my shopping cart dropped this- I treated myself to a bouquet of small bud yellow roses.  They were $3.98 and lasted more than a week.  I put one stem in this bud vase and the other stems in a vase for the parlor table.  While sitting on the couch resting my foot I had something pretty to look at!

One of my thrift stores turned me away as they have so many donations they are all backed up.  The Salvation Army couldn't do a pickup for 7 weeks, so I cancelled them and asked Habitat to pickup.  Free things at the end of the driveway disappear shortly after being put there.  A couple of things on Craigslist- ablounge and monitor-  are not getting any interest.  I still have all the big furniture to list and sell, if not, then donate.

The plan is to move in November, but if the house doesn't sell or other things crop up, I will return to stay until it's finalized.  I have had to accept that things aren't going according to my timetable; going with the flow is a tough lesson to learn, but I'm teachable.

THANKS to everyone who played along with our Inspired by Four Letter Words Series, it was fun to see what we all made and to think of words on our Pinterest Group Board. Please add to the Pinterest board, but for the foreseeable future, let's put a pause on the linkups here on the blog, (unless someone wants to add it to their blog, let me know.) When I first suggested the idea, I didn't know if anyone would participate, so once again, THANK YOU for joining in!

I am not able to visit as often as before, but I am keeping all of you in my prayers for your good health and happiness.  I know that some of you are entering the busy season for your shops, and I wish you extraordinary sales and overflowing good business ventures. Whatever you are doing, I hope you have a great time, make happy memories, and that it lasts a long time.

A special birthday shout out to Stacy,  who has a birthday on September 18th and mine is the 19th.  Any other September babies, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, TOO!!

I will update next week, still have to find out about Jury Duty, until then, all the best.

Progress on the Home Front, Choosing to Donate

Image Source
Just popped in to say that I am still hard at work emptying the house to ready it for sale.  After the garage was filled I was lying awake one night and wondering why it was I felt I needed to have a yard sale.  Previously when I decluttered all of the goodies were given to charity shops, the church, and thrift stores.  It felt good to unload and know that other people would get some benefit from my donations.

So why did I want to have a yard sale this time?  I guess it was feeling that in making this next move, a little extra cash would come in handy.  Or maybe I was trying to hold onto the past. Changes, even ones I initiate, can be hard to accept.

That's when I realized that all of the extra stressors were making me feel a little "less than."   So I decided to can the yard sale idea and go back to giving all the stuff away.

It's hard to let go, but time is in short supply and more valuable than using it to organize yard sales that might not draw in the cash buyers. Private sales through Craigslist are another option, but around here the site is crowded in that it's hard to get noticed once you are 8 or more pages deep in the day's listings and more often than not, the person never shows up.  In the end, the scales were weighed and donating it all was the verdict.

When it's all over and done with I hope to look back at this stressful time and chalk it up to experience. It's not easier to give it all away, especially with the sadness over the years of memories invested in the stuff. There are items from my Mom and her Mom that I'd rather keep if I had the space and the will to dust, but they aren't precious to me in the way the people are precious.  It's all stuff and it could be gone in an instant if a fire or tornado had struck.  Still, it's the person's spirit which endures after all the china, books, knick knacks, and so on have disappeared.  I'd trade it all for more time with them.

It's almost not funny, but the employees at the Goodwill drop off center recognize me.  They are happy to get the boxes and bags and have a little chat.  Later this week Habitat for Humanity is coming to pick up furniture, tools, and appliances.  I'll have more for them to pick up as the time to move gets closer.  

One of the tips I read somewhere was to photograph the item and then give it away.  I might try that. You could never call me a hoarder, that's for sure!  It's going to be so Zen around here when it's all neat and tidy once again.  Ommmmmm

See you soon...

Summer Ending? Time for More With Four

Happy almost end of August and summer, too!  Time to enjoy all that's left of warm weather and summer vacations for those of us living above the equator.  If you're south of the equator, please send us some cool weather, but not too cold.  I'd like some gorgeous autumn leaves in a month or so.

Alrighty, you know what today is.  It's that day of the month, time for "More With Four or Inspired by Four Letter Words."   Anything you make, create, cook, felt, paint, bead, write, or what have you that has any number of word(s) which can be described with 4 letter words- nice ones not the naughty kind - we want to see!  Add your blog post link to the linky below and head over to the Pinterest board  for more fun where we eek out every last 4 letter word we can think of to describe the creations.

ETA:  I deleted the linky.

Image Source
This month I have run out of time to show you my Inspired creation- another ring - due to the house move prep, the sprained foot which made me take a 3 Day Time Out and now, getting a Jury Summons.  Is the Universe telling me something?

I got the Jury Summons last week.  I won't know if I have to go to Jury Duty until next month.  I do have a feeling that I might get called this time.  Ever since I moved here, I have been sent the summons nearly every year, but have not actually had to serve.  Since I have so little breathing room left before the move, I hope that this summons will not have to be acted on.  I'll let you know.

I guess you could say my inspiring 4 letter words this month include:   Jury, Duty, (sprained) Foot, Time, Rest, Move, More (boxes), Able, and Pain.   I'll be round visiting and thanks for being here!

Your Nearly Free Wall Art Idea a Poetry Inspiration

Do you have $1.00 (plus tax) and an empty picture frame?  That's all you need for this look.

This is the follow up to Paint Your Own Wall Art, A Home Seller's Tip.

decal framed wall art

While decluttering to prepare the house for sale, I found several wood picture frames.  The glass was gone as well as the backing, I had been saving frames to make a Vision Board or Inspiration Board.  I'd also thought of making message boards or just framing groups of aceos or other small works with these frames.

Just hang your empty frame and place the vinyl wall decal inside. That's it.  If you want to decorate the frame or put the decal under glass, those are nice additions.  I'm running down the clock, so just framing it was the way to go for me.

I first saw these decals in one of those $1.00 stores, although in this store, most prices were higher.  I didn't get my first choice of decals since I didn't buy it when I first saw it, but this one seems to have an appropriate message.

The decal came as one connected phrase with the little bird, flower, and butterfly separate.  I moved these around until I got the look I liked.  You just easily peel it off the wall, there's no mess or sticky residue.

I made these wall art pieces because I took down the paintings and photos to get my house ready for sale, but the ideas would suit anytime.  Are you saving broken things for those "some day projects?"

Paint Your Own Modern Art Directly on a Wall, Free $$ a Home Seller's Tip

That is one ambitious blog post title, "Paint Your Own Modern Art Directly to a Wall, a Home Seller's Tip." If I can do it, you can do it.  Maybe stripes, maybe swirls, maybe circles, whatever you like- give it a go. Why do it?  I did it to have something on the wall, instead of bare walls, thinking it was better to have a lived in look instead of a house with no soul look.  Also, I had the supplies so all it cost me was time.  There will be a follow up post on another nearly free wall art  coming soon.  The next one doesn't involve painting and is fast and easy.

paint your own art
Don't sweat the colors on the wall.  Make the house clean, tidy (as much as humanly possible), in good repair overall, and cross your fingers that the tide will bring in that one buyer who will make your next move possible sooner rather than later.  If it's meant to be, it will be- eventually.

Here's the deal.  If you have recently read the blog, you may recall that I am in the throes of decluttering, emptying boxes long stored, repacking, and setting aside stuff for yard sales and donations.

Added to that list are all the normal life routines, plus unexpected surprises (mostly pain in the neck ones) and others.  Now you know that I will not repaint my house inside and out.  It's already fairly neutral as I knew this day would come and I planned for one less job. So, let a buyer visualize their own colors, use the imagination God gave you.  Ranting at anonymous persons on HGTV!  

prepare wall to make art on a wall Which brings me to:   After several days in a row of being in the basement among the boxes I needed to come up for air and light, plus my mind needed a break from all the decision making of the fate of so many sentimental items.  Even the non-sentimental items were getting to me.

I had already taken down all of the paintings in the parlor and had this one blank wall that was nagging me.  I taped off a section of the wall and after cogitating on it while doing other things I decided to go ahead and paint it.

stripes painted on a wall mirror

I used ordinary acrylic paint from craft supplies. After painting the stripes, I didn't like the starkness and so I blended colors together and decided not to paint a border or frame, the floatiness looked better to me.   I used about eight bottles of paint, so that's eight fewer bottles to pack.  (Always intentional, lol.)

To make the wall even more memorable, I hung two mirrors off center over the stripes, first the round one and then the rectangle.  It's hard to take a photo with mirrors, these are the best I could make.  The rectangle mirror has the reflection from the table and window.

multicolor stripes on a wall mirror

Now, you may not like this painting at all, but my question is, "Which one do you like better- the one with the round mirror or the rectangle mirror?"   I'd like to know your preference.

Do you have a favorite house selling tip?

Working Around the Gremlins

You know how it is.  As soon as you decide to move, all sorts of things start to go wrong- with the house, the car, the pet, etc.  I wonder if the gremlins were just waiting for that moment to strike with their full force and mischief when you have made the crucial decision and you are faced with a notebook full of jobs to get yourself, the pets, the house, etc. ready for the move.

garage sale jumble

Sort of like a version of Murphy's Law:  If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something. or  If there is a worse time for something to go wrong, it will happen then. or   If anything can't go wrong, it will anyway. Check out more of those corrupted optimistic truisms at the link.

I walked into the room where I have my craft/art/sewing supplies and found a shelf had fallen off the wall.  It knocked the basket off the wall that was below it.  The shelf knocked down pictures, collages, supplies, etc. Some were on the floor, some in the trash can, some on the desk, chair, ...

I could find no reason why the shelf fell down. It wasn't broken, the screws were still firmly in the wall, too.   This happened without me hearing it happen and I was home at the time.  Even Lucy, who is suspicious of every normal noise and the abnormal ones, too- didn't hear a thing. Gremlin?

I don't mind about the shelf falling, nothing broke, especially not the lamp with that new curly bulb which would require HAZMAT Teams and all sorts of misery to clean up, no that was fine, thank goodness.

It's that thing which makes you doubt which bugs me.   Have I made the right decision?  I will never get all these jobs done in time.  Maybe I should change the date?  That last one is a big contender, and one I will be fine with.  It's about the journey and not the end.   I'm trying not to overlook daily blessings while I search the horizon for my big leap to come.

New End Studio sounded like a suitable name when I first started the blog.  I have been thinking to change the name in line with the new direction my compass is pointing.  That may sound corny, but it's true.  Name change is possible, but not the top of my list right now.  

How did you decide on your blog or business name?  Did you ever change it?

A Year of Setbacks, A Year of Wonders

paint and supplies from Home DepotBetween boxes and all those moving chores a few new jobs were added to the shortlist of things to do. There's never a perfect time to do household maintenance, except before it needs to be done, before there's a problem of course.

Sometimes you don't know what needs to be done until it jumps out at you, or falls down at your feet, or stinks to the rafters, or...    None of those happened except for the, "I never saw this before..." and realizing it had to be fixed moment.

So I find myself in Home Depot getting supplies for those unexpected jobs.  This is only half of it- at least I hope so.  The weather has been too hot or too rainy to do any of the outside work, so I am learning to appreciate my basement since Spring.  But enough is enough.  Let me come up for air and light already!

When I look back on this year, I feel a close alliance to what the Queen of England said, way back in 1992, it was her, "Annus Horribilis,"  A horrible year.  Actually the whole of 2013 wasn't horrible just a few more things to build the character, as they say.  So, if I'm in Home Depot and building my character over the months this year, and last year, and all the way back many years as I think about it (you, too, probably?) next year should be the time to reap some rewards. Hope so!  "2014, Annnus Mirabilis!"  2014, Year of Miracles and Wonders!

Do you have any BIG plans for 2014?

That Day of the Month, Fourth Friday, Inspired by Four

It's that day of the month, time for "More With Four or Inspired by Four Letter Words."   Anything you make, create, cook, felt, paint, bead, write, or what have you that has any number of word(s) which can be described with 4 letter words- nice ones not the naughty kind - we want to see!  Add your blog post link to the linky below and head over to the Pinterest board  for more fun where we eek out every last 4 letter word we can think of to describe the creations.

Check out the previous linkups by clicking on the sidebar button, add your link below, and have a little fun. The Fourth Friday of each month is the time to be here.  Sometimes I post the link on Thursday for scheduling's sake and for bloggy friends in different timezones.  You can add your link until Sunday at noon- or thereabouts.

My make for this month is a ring, using a bronze toned adjustable ring base, a Catholic medal fitting the base, beads and a crystal pendant on a loop or bail.  With a dab of glue, jump rings, pliers, and patience I put the ring together.  Why patience?  Seed beads and my eyes are not friends!  I used two magnifiers plus my own reading glasses all at the same time and kept at it.  Lucy was company and managed to keep me from throwing in the towel.  Result- I have put the seed beads away in favor of larger beads.

holy medal ringprayer to Mary medal ring

This medal has a prayer to Mary, the Holy Mother.  I like the contrast between the bronze lacy edging, the crystal, and the strong colors in both the beads and the ring setting.  This is one way to use those medals and charms that come in the mail without asking for them!   I realize the photo is not perfectly clear, that's due to me, my eyes, and not perfecting the shot.  If I can get all three merged in a better way, I'll replace the images.

Ain't No Mountain (of Cardboard Boxes) High Enough

Just one of the things keeping me busy these past few weeks is the pile of boxes to open, sort, and repack.

I looked away from the computer and blog for what seemed like a couple of days, to realize my last post was for Independence Day.  Time is on the rug that has been pulled out from under my feet!

With only one good weekend weather-wise before the heat and thunderstorm rotation began, there is now a full garage.  I'll try Craigslist and put some things out on the driveway, just to get this garage emptied before I bring up more stuff from the basement.

Every so often I wonder if moving is the right thing to do- then here comes the next tornado warning and I remember. About a week ago Lucy and I spent hours in the basement, partially in the dark with flashlights (the power went out) and although we were safe, and many aren't- it's not something I want to do every summer and early autumn, waiting, wondering, praying, hoping that the tornadoes will fizzle out- diminish- weaken then skip our town and everyone will be safe. God bless all those who live and thrive in the path and history of the whirling winds. Although tornadoes are just one consideration in the moving, they aren't the only reason. More about those reasons to come.

Hope the weather is cooling off after the intense heat and you are all enjoying your summer!

Hope to see on Friday what you have made on Inspired by Four or More With Four and on the Pinterest Board.  If there were only four more boxes to go!


Birthday Greetings America, on Your 237th!

Liberty Bell birthday greetings on July 4, 2013

Happy Birthday America!
You're 237 Today!

Wishing everyone in the USA 
and those far from our shores who celebrate with us,   
"Happy, Healthy, and Safe Holiday."

All the best,


Leaving Thumbprints

Pretty soon I will be packing up the craft room and whatever supplies are moving with me. When it gets to that point, I may be sharing photos instead of new collages and jewelry.

photos and haikuIt's going to take some time to get to the new and maybe final destination, so there will be more changes and challenges in store for me along the way.

This next phase of changes is going to be a doozy, and hopefully a happy and mercifully exhausting one, too.

My fingers are crossed for a successful and completed house sale by September.  The garage is almost filled up, and a yard sale is imminent, with more to come.  House chores are being added to the list and lots of boxes to unpack and repack.  I haven't started on the main floor!


Who gave vacant claim,
surprised by laughter resigned,
                                                                at the turning point.

There's no turning back, there's only diving in, and if failing, then turning a new page, whatever happens.  Let's all leave our thumbprints and make our marks- life is short, so open up and do our best to make the most of it.  Press Hard. ♥

More With Four, Inspired by Four

ring with danglesThis time next week some of us will be in the middle of a long weekend or a long lie-in on the couch or bed after celebrating July 4th.  I can already hear the cherry bombs and fireworks around the neighborhood the past few days.

At the start of summer I still drink my hot tea, though, summer heat doesn't mean I switch to iced tea- perish the thought.  Regular drinks are  hot tea only and lemonade or water.  The over 21 drinks are for another story.  Do you have a favorite summer treat?

ring with saved medal
I used one of the Holy Medals that I've been saving from the mail or given by others and made a ring.  Feeling a little guilty for tossing these in the trash over the years, I recently started saving them in the bits and pieces containers.  Quite a few of the medals or pendants, charms, icons, whatever you want to call them, are well made, some in solid metals and some beautifully engraved and made in Italy.

wear in either direction, medal ringI took this pretty blue and gold colored medal and glued it to an adjustable ring base.  To the bail I added the beads and faux pearl (which was part of an earring).  It can be worn with the dangles facing over the back of the hand or over the finger.

What have you made for the Inspired by Four?  Link up your blog post in the linky below.  Join our Pinterest Group Board, follow the link and leave a message on the group board.  Hope to see you there.  Our next linkup on the blog is July 26th, in four weeks.  Have fun!


get the InLinkz code

And the Questions Keep on Coming

jellybeansladybird ladybugNow that I've had the good fortune of time to think of the 11 Questions for the Liebster blogs, here are the 5 blogs I have named and the questions for them.  They want to pass on the award to 5 blogs with less than 300 followers, and to answer my 11 questions on their blog.  They should then ask 11 questions of their choosing of the 5 bloggers, and so on...  Here is my blog post where I answered Sue's questions.

    pour me a cup
  1. What color is your front door?
  2. Do you have a nickname and what is it?
  3. What is the best compliment you ever received?
  4. As a young girl, did you keep a diary?
  5. What is your favorite spice to cook with?
  6. If you could stay a certain age for the rest of your life, how old would you like to be?
  7. From your own blog, what is your favorite post?
  8. What is the most annoying or putrid sound, odor, taste, touch, or sight you have ever witnessed?
  9. What is the best advice you ever received?
  10. How old were you when you got your first kiss from a crush or boyfriend?
  11. Can you keep a secret?  
lots of dolls
"Bonus Questions"
What do you imagine the world will be like in the year 2199?
What do you wish you could do now that you don't yet know?

Once I start thinking of questions, the list will get longer, so I'll stop here.  Have a fun time on these.  

Are You Killing Your Creativity When You Strive to be Perfect When You Are Chosen For Custom Projects?

aceo crackle surface dots in bright colors New End Studio
An ongoing project with no end in view, begins like a tree in the forest, but all that effort in making the work perfect, turns the tree into a toothpick.  A box of toothpicks is a sad display of effort.

When someone suggested I make custom items, I nearly passed out.

My throat tightened, heart started beating louder and blood pressure increased.  The heat rose in my face to the top of my head, and I felt faint. My blood sugar dropped.

I had to sit.  Wait.  I was sitting. 
Dizziness and cortisol were speeding through my muscles, the adrenalin wasn't released fast enough.

On the outside, I looked cool and collected. 
Inside, my hearing went quiet and I just wanted to continue to block out the conversation without being rude.  I wanted to rewind back a minute before the idea of custom work was suggested.

Don't we all (sometimes) want a rewind button?

Perfection and custom work are seriously unmeshed in my book.  I want the work to be the best possible.  Having multiple projects going at the same time helps me to not finish things, giving way to all kinds of time demands.

Okay, moving house is a big time demand, and eye surgeries, eye issues, and regular life does put a big dent into any free time; but, eventually I have to finish the projects.

Copious amounts of honing and polishing the work drag out the inevitable conclusion.  I usually find fault with something, days, weeks, even years later. Laying out boundaries does not come into the solution.  Humor does though.

I'm not perfect.  When polishing and readjusting keeps the item from getting to its destination, it makes perfection a fault.  The recipient doesn't see the imperfection, they only know they are waiting for the finished item to arrive.  I'm usually a bit early, but for something I am so invested in, I will drag out the details, procrastinate, and refine, hone, and repeat.

Worry over what someone thinks or says is not productive, and you can always find a rogues gallery of critics.  Those who receive the item matter.  Those who don't understand the work, don't buy the work- don't matter.  The old saying, "You can't please everyone all of the time, " is so true.
New End Studio Say Yes in flower petals and twigs
Read my blog post for the Say Yes bouquet.

Taking some wisdom to replace perfectionism procrastination and make a good habit includes: Polish to the best point possible.  Get the work into the hands of those who want and appreciate the idea, time, effort, and expression. Enjoy the process and see it through to its end.

Using the best efforts available, "Finish the work."  
Then let it go.

Are you a stress-free custom project maker?  Do you enjoy custom work or do you like to follow  your own path?  Would you ever refuse a custom request?

Making Buttons and a Liebster Award

jellybeans blog awardI'm in the midst of getting the house ready for sale, doing all kinds of jobs that have been put off for too long. I was wondering what I could write about since my desk has been left in the middle of a couple of projects for weeks and I haven't gotten to them.  So no new works to share right at this moment.

Sue Forey-Fibreart  gave me a Liebster Award and I have the answer to my blogging dilemma with this post.  Thanks, Sue- for the award! and these fun questions:

ladybird ladybug1) Who is your favourite artist?
     I 've gone in cycles, sometimes it's a photographer, watercolorist,
     collage, abstract,...right now I  couldn't pick just one person.        

2) Are you a morning early bird or night owl?
     Until recently a Night Owl, but mornings are becoming more
     productive.  I like that early morning bird chorus.

lots of dolls3) When did you first start writing your blog?
                                                I started this blog in March 2010.

4) Who is your ideal man?
      Living or Fictional?  He'd have to be something special to keep
      my attention.  ♥

5) What is your worst habit?
      Only one?  (My Ideal Man may be reading this. See #4.)

colorful ribbons6) What type of music do you like to listen to?
       Depends on my mood, and if I can sing along.  Folk, Rock, Jazz,
       Blues, almost anything, any era.  My Ideal Man would like to
       sing, too or at the least, not mind my attempts.  

7) Favourite holiday destination?
      Somewhere near an ocean, not rural, and not too far from a city
      with museums, antiquities, and more.

8) Do you sell your creations and if so where?
      In the past, I listed and sold aceos on Ebay, but took a break.
      I now have a Storenvy shop, which  is currently in limbo.  Last year I
      created  a blog shop front, but have not opened it as yet. In the
      meantime, if you see something on the blog that you like,
      just email me.

9) Who is your biggest fan?
      I have no idea.  Do I have one?  If you're out there, please come forward,
      let me know, and why?!

10) What is your favourite weather?
pour me a cup        Depends on my mood.  A light, soft rain, not cold, not hot and
        not humid for those dreamy days.

        A brisk, crisp thin airy day for the middle of autumn.

       The warm, early Spring light days for easing into gardening.

        Walking by moonlight on the crunchy snow in the middle of winter,
        when it's quiet and  the air is cloudlike from your breath and just
                                                 less than bitterly cold.

11) What is your favourite TV show?
        Have to say that I don't have one favorite show.  My thumb is wearing out from channel
        surfing. Sometimes I read while the tv is on.  Maybe this is the answer to #5 above.

I made these Liebster images with free photos from the  Morgue File and editing on ipiccy.  If you like them and use them, I wouldn't mind a linkback here.

Please visit Sue  and her awardees.  Sue makes beautiful felt paintings, landscapes and myth making stories come to mind.  Now I have to think of 11 questions for the next 5 awardees, the awards go to blogs with less than 300 followers...