Sunday, December 28, 2008


Today I was not only able to play in the treehouse, I was able to shop using gift cards and 50% off coupons at Michael's! I find myself buying more stick-ons and glitter to make more snowmen for next year. I had planned on gifting this year's, but my Oldtimer loves them so much, he won't let me give them away.

While in the store, I was talking to Bekah about our Miss Olivia and her fondness for all things princess. We sent a pink tutu, a blue dress, and some high heels for gifts, along with some other princess items, but Bekah said that Miss O needs a magic wand and a tiara. Well! I have been happily working on a magic wand since I got back home, AND I purchased six foam tiaras, so she should be all set.
(Finished magic wand - going in the mail soon.)

Also in the works today - a mixed media collage on felt, as a follow up on a challenge prompt of "Stamps" from the CPS group - I think it was last September.

I got some wire in the mail for the Marilyn Radzat Whimsical Wabbit online class.

AND, I'm anxiously awaiting and gathering for a Prosperity Doll online group with Mais-Liis Peacock, here (look under "classes"). I'm still working on a gathering of angels from her Creative Sparks group.

Why does the creative stuff always get back-burnered? And on that note, I'm off to eat lunch and then shampoo rugs.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Belated Rest in Peace

The summer before my senior year of high school, we moved. That's a tough time in a teenager's life to move. The fact that Lolo and Hawkshaw moved in large part to get me away from certain friends, made it even more difficult for me to handle.

So, I went from a big, inner city high school to a small town high school, where friendships had been formed years prior to my arrival, and I had to be bused nearly 20 miles from the outer edge of the school district. I started the school year alternating between sorrowful and full of attitude.

I had one girlfriend at the beginning of the year, and no real guy friends. No dates for the activities early in the year. Later, in the winter months, one of the guys became brave enough to ask me out - one very good looking wrestler. Denny Holmberg and I dated most of our senior year of high school, through graduation, and after graduation we even talked about getting married. Some issues arose, however, and we went very separate ways, despite the plans already in progress.

Now that our 40th reunion is being planned, some of those "kids" from my senior year have been in touch, including Denny's friend Mark. Mark wrote to me (in part):
"Denny passed away on Oct. 17th, just two months before his 58th birthday. He had put up a brave struggle for the last 10 years with brain cancer. He ran his bayou tour in the Honey Island Swamp in Lousiana for 20 years. It was a very popular alligator tour with Europeans who toured the US by bus. "

I also found this article about Denny by searching the web - a heartbreaker about how Denny suffered after Katrina:

Rest in Peace, Denny. I'm so sorry we didn't get one last visit.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Kitchen Window

That gray circle in the lower right hand corner is the thermometer. If one could see it, the reading was 7 degrees above zero; the windchill at the time was -35 degrees.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Finished Snowfolks!

I was so inspired by the bottle snowpeople on the cover of a recent Cloth Paper Scissors, I had to make my own. Of course, I started two weeks ago, and just finished today. I love them! They were so much fun to make, and I kind of loosened up as I went along. Too bad I don't have more bottles I'm willing to give up - I'd really make some great ones! I know all the views are pretty much the same, but I was trying to give a hint of the glass glitter and other goodies on them.

Shopping and wrapping are done. Everything has been shipped. As soon as I vacuum up some dog hair, I think we can relax!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Decorating Weekend

'Tis the weekend for holiday decor! We were able to put up both of our Christmas trees, add some brightness around the house, and even add some lights to the front exterior. You might wonder about that photo for the blog header...more about that at the end of this post.

Once again this year, we decorated our 12 foot tall tree for the family room/office AND when decorated, my Oldtimer lifted the entire 12 foot tall tree up onto a table to fill the corner. This is the second time he's lifted the fully decorated tree onto a table - I have to turn my back and squeeze my eyes closed.

And here's the copper-colored tree in the freshly-painted living room. It's a little crowded in there!

I love the color scheme on this tree. Sometimes I miss the multi-colored tree filled with ornaments made by my kids, but I do love to have a theme, too.

We've always brought out the angels this time of year. Here are the willow angels on the front porch, as viewed through the wreath on the door.

And this year, we've managed to even put our lighted garland on the railing to the family room. Here we have hung some of the "kid" ornaments that I miss...

Included in the ornaments on the railing is the one you see on the top of this blog. To this day, it's my very favorite ornament. My son Chris made it while in pre-school. It's a bread dough ornament, painted and glittered and strung with a silver thread. I think it just represents all that is wonderful about children - when provided with paints and glitters, he slathered on the color, until the overall effect was a little murky. And when told it was a bread dough ornament, he, of course, had to take a bite to check it out. So, I treasure this ornament, probably above all others, because my first baby made it with his own hands, slathered it with love, and gave me a perfect imprint of his baby teeth. Now he's expecting his own little one, and this 30 year old ornament is even more of a treasure. I really miss my children this time of year.
Below, you'll see my offerings for the "Creativi-Tea" swap on the CPS yahoo group. My bags are called "Wonder Tea."

And this mess (below) is my attempt to make bottle snowmen like those on the cover of a recent Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. They should be completed soon...and once again, I've made a mess of my workspace!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

This is NOT Creative

It wasn't even really very fun...other than reacquainting myself with my "stash." I can't even remember how my Friday evening in the treehouse transitioned from going to do something creative to re-organizing all my drawers of stuff. But I did it...and at the end of the afternoon today (Saturday) I have re-arranged the drawers, and even put some sticky note labels on them. I have NOT, however, created anything, finished anything, labeled any soaps or worked on the O&L website. What is wrong with me? I didn't do any housework, either, but that I understand.
These pics are after most of the stash was off the floor and back in drawers. get the idea. (See that drawer on the bottom left? It's now labeled - Paper Junkies. No....I don't have folks who are addicted to paper in the drawer, I have all sorts of little pieces of paper junk in that drawer. Pieces that may be big enough to use on something some day, but certainly not large enough for anything significant...and I no doubt have enough paper junk to make collages and cards and tags the rest of my life without ever needing to purchase or swap for more - but you know I will, without a doubt, accumulate more.)

(Do you suppose there is anyone else in the WORLD who still has brown shag carpet in their home?)
Well, this at least looks like something creative. This is the view from the floor up to the bulletin board where I keep a lot of inspiration.
I told my Oldtimer that when I die, he may as well just order a dump truck to back up to the house, open the window, and throw it all out into the waiting truck below. No one else is going to think this is a room full of treasure!

And in other news, it snowed most of the day...and the cat, especially, already has cabin fever. He's been on top of the book shelves, walking on window sills behind whatever is propped there, pouncing on the Murphy-dog from behind the dough bin. It's going to be a long winter. The dogs just slept, as usual.

(I still think Buddy, like most cocker spaniels, looks like the Luck Dragon in the movie Never Ending Story.)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

More Elves!

Why do these things tickle me so? I just couldn't leave the dogs out of our annual Christmas dance. Como doesn't photo well, so he had to be the camera man.
Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Monday, November 24, 2008

Holiday Prep

The days before guests arrive always find us cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. It's not that we live in filth, mind you, it's just that I don't make washing down the shower walls or dusting the tops of the books a priority in routine maintenance. So, when guests are imminent, it all gets done, plus the normal work of capturing the dog-hair dust bunnies.

I did take some shots of the now complete (or nearly complete) living room. I'm not happy with the curtain side panels yet - I like the color but not the drape - but other than that...I think it's complete. Following are a few views...

At the dining end...everything looks more green, doesn't it? I think it's so lovely to see sunshine coming in through the front window - of course, that means all the leaves have to be off the trees out front, which isn't exactly my favorite season.

Here's the front vestibule area, with a peek at the edge of the fireplace wall. We *never* use that front door, there's another into the kitchen about 10 feet away, silly layout.

Dining and seating...but look at that window/mirror corner...
It needs something; it's the only place without art on the wall. However, another painting/print probably isn't appropriate. What does it need?

And here's a splash of color from the deck:

I still have two rooms to clean and a whole lot of food to buy and baking to do and a meeting to attend...and oh, my gosh, the day job. But I do love company, especially for Thanksgiving. I'd rather have them here for Thanksgiving than Christmas. I better get this day going.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I found this on Luna's blog and loved it so much I had to "lift" it:

Sign me,

Between 18 and 22, a woman is like Africa, half
discovered, half wild, fertile and naturally beautiful!

Between 23 and 30, a woman is like Europe, well
developed and open to trade, especially for someone with

Between 31 and 35, a woman is like Spain, very
hot, relaxed and convinced of her own beauty.

Between 36 and 40, a woman is like Greece, gently
aging but still a warm and desirable place to visit.

Between 41 and 50, a woman is like Great Britain,
with a glorious and all conquering past.

Between 51 and 60, a woman is like Israel, has
been through war and doesn't make the same mistakes twice,
takes care of business.

Between 61 and 70, a woman is like Canada,
self-preserving, but open to meeting new people.

After 70, she becomes like Tibet, wildly beautiful,
with a mysterious past and the wisdom of the ages...only
those with an adventurous spirit and a thirst for spiritual
knowledge visit there.


Between 1 and 70, a man is like Iran,
Ruled by Nuts.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pay It Forward - Closed! Other Stuff, Too

There are now three ready to participate in the pay-it-forward plan.

Diane,I have your snail mail address, and no you haven't already received :-) I'm delighted that you signed up.

Adria and One Creative Queen, please send me your snail mail address ( and I promise something lovely before year end.

Now...just pay it forward with something to make the coming year happy and art-filled.
Today I have been a cleaning fiend. I always turn into this dreadful, angst-filled person before company comes, even the best and easiest houseguests. I clean in places they surely won't look (and if they DO look under the stove, don't they deserve to find a little dust?). Today the guest room was re-spiffed and much spillover art was put back into hiding.

Cosmo helped me clean and put things in order. His favorite chore is pulling down all the feather boas that are artfully draped in the treehouse. He is quite certain they look better in a heap on the floor.

And once we got the guest room ready, he stood in the window and peered down the road - "Are they here yet? When will they get here, Mommy?"

Friday, November 21, 2008

Morning Views

My computer desk sits against a loft railing, and I can see into part of our back yard through an octagonal window - across an open space beyond the railing. Wednesday morning, I glanced up from writing an email and wondered how our Murphy dog got into the neighbor's yard - and realized it was a deer moving into sight.

We didn't dare open the door to the deck, because we knew it would scare her off, so the photo isn't the best, but I wanted to share my lovely view. That same day, I realized that the chickadees and titmice found the feeders, and wanted to get photos of those to share, but of course they wouldn't cooperate. quality is not the best today! I think you get the feeling though.

My Oldtimer did step out on the deck after she moved along...just to see if he could get a better photo or see more deer (we've seen as many as 11 in the yard at times - as close as we are to a major city). No more deer, but he did manage to capture this lovely morning sky. No, that's not our fancy-schmancy house back there...we live in the old farmhouse that used to own the land all those houses are built on! We get to look at all this, and not maintain any of it.

I love sunrise colors, even in the winter - they're so hopeful.

By the way, here's that same view, taken just three weeks ago! We were trying to capture photos of the FLOCKS of birds on the lawn.That's a pretty dramatic change in color palette in just three weeks, isn't it?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This Weekend's "Art"

About two weeks ago we had new Levolor blinds installed in the rooms across the front of the house. The living room and bedroom main windows are very large, and for privacy's sake, I had a large white pull-down shade in the bedroom. It became very difficult to manage, and it looked like a big blind eye from the outside. When we found the sale on the blinds and a deal on the installation at Lowe's, we went for it!

Oddly enough, I chose white blinds. I've moaned and groaned since we moved into this place that everything was white - even all of the custom draperies. White on white on white. I felt like I was living in an apartment. Even the carpet in the hallway from the garage was a shade of white. I mean, who in the world puts white carpet in the hallway from the GARAGE?

For whatever reason, many parts of this house seem to want to be a shade of brown, but the living room...oh, how it needed color. The accent wall around the fireplace is a lovely shade of blue called Bon Voyage. I love it...just a hint of green and gray, it's actually a warm blue. The remaining walls are a shade of green called Corn Husk, which is an absolutely perfect description. It doesn't show properly in these photos - it's not nearly so gray/yellow. I'll get daylight pictures tomorrow. I had another celery green color that I tested and decided against, so we put that in the front entry, as that's a very dark space. I was afraid it was going to be almost a glow-in-the-dark color, but I love it in that space, and I really like the way the chestnut wardrobe shows against it.

I love how the colors work together. The Olga Lipats triptych on the fireplace really pops now with the colors in the painting pulled out in the walls. (I still need to arrange some of the goodies on the tabletops...)
Something about the combination of some of our traditional looking wood pieces with this more contemporary color combo really tickles me. Many of our framed pieces have gold frames - almost too shiny gold frames...

...but as you can see on the left-most painting in the photo below (called "In Awe of Autumn" by Wanda Satterwhite) the green is actually picked up and reflected in the gold frame and it really works!

So, nothing from the treehouse this weekend, but I'm thrilled with how the living room came together. I wanted to share right away, but now I'm off to iron the side panels for the windows. Other "art"...two loaves of chocolate bread, two loaves of whole wheat bread, two batches of soap, and orders packed!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Pay It Forward offer

Inspired by Griselda (and I am often inspired by Gris!) I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange.

I am not quite sure what my gift will be, although I have several ideas (will it be soap and/or lotion; will it be a creation from the treehouse?), and you will receive it in time for the new year, I promise.

The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog, putting abundance, creativity, and art into the world.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Some Called Him Hawkshaw

Because today is Veteran's Day, I thought it would be appropriate to finally introduce my father to my blog. I'm not only Lolo's Child, (and you've certainly all met Lolo here), but I am also Don's Child...some called him Hawkshaw.

No doubt, now that I've opened this door, I'm going to regale you with other stories about him, but today's opening story is of a Veteran. You see, he lost both legs above the knee near the end of World War II - at the ripe old age of 19. He was a foot soldier, whose job was to carry a bale of wire on the Phillipine Island of Mindanao. Just as they stopped for a rest, his unit was hit by a mortar shell. When he "came to," briefly, he felt for his legs and knew that one was hanging on by shreds, but the other appeared intact.

Taken immediately to basic medical facilities, both legs were removed above the knee. The one he thought was intact was so loaded with schrapnel, the doctors didn't feel it could be saved. Once stabilized, he was sent back to the US, where he spent a full year in a VA hospital near Salt Lake City - far from home and family for a young man from Minnesota.

The only thing he ever mentioned about his time in that hospital was that he played checkers almost daily with a fellow patient, a German POW. Neither ever learned to speak the other's language, they just played checkers together. About 20 years later, we took a family road trip and found that hospital; I remember little about it except that it was white, stucco, looked a bit like a large abandoned bakery, and sat back at the end of a long drive with a lawn in front. We didn't go any closer, just drove from Minneapolis to Salt Lake, and looked at the building from the end of the long driveway.

He spoke little of his experiences in WWII. Because his disability was the way he always was for me, I didn't find anything unusual about having a father with no legs. Only when we went out in public - long before any disabilities acts were in place - did I realize that our family was different. Someday I'll tell you stories about curbs without ramps, buildings without elevators, and children who walked backwards and stumbled while staring.

However, much like the men mentioned in Tom Brokaw's book about the Greatest Generation, my father didn't think he merited any special treatment or unusual attention. The fourth of "Ma Kraemer's boys" to go off to war, he simply did what he felt was right, came back, got a job in a factory, met & married, had two children.

Only in later years did I realize what a hero he was - yet another silent hero - because he did just that. We took for granted that this man who could ride a horse, drive a car or tractor, build an addition on the house, and "scoot" up a long flight of stairs to attend his nephew's wedding reception, never expected special treatment nor looked for a "handout."

He taught himself to walk, and walk well, wearing wooden legs with clanky metal knees. Therapists raved that he could walk without his canes in the house, and use but one cane outside - as you can see below, in the photo of him carrying me, his 8 month old child.

During my junior high years, he was told he could no longer have his wooden legs, he was forced to switch to "new and better" legs with soft cups and hydraulic knees. He hated them, found them painful, and never wore his artificial legs again. The photo below, taken in 1979, shows the way he looked most of the rest of his life - usually in a wheelchair (though sometimes sitting on a leather pad on the ground, with a strap across his thighs). When we had company, he would let the pants legs hang, giving some illusion of legs. Most often, however, he would simply tuck the ends of his pants up into the belt.

Though I have many, many stories to tell - from his youthful love of horses, to his grandfatherly love of my children, and all the living that came between - today's story is about just one of many veterans who gave so much, without expectation or complaint.

"Hawkshaw" died in 1982 at the age of 56 from one massive heart attack. We were told that amputees have a higher incidence of heart disease.

I still miss him.

Donald J. Kraemer

April 4, 1926 - June 5, 1982

Saturday, November 08, 2008

How Are You at Tree ID?

I keep admiring this tree in the neighbor's yard across the street. I've posted the tree, from a distance, so you can see the shape of the trunk and branches. I've also posted a closer view of the leaves at one end of the drooped branch. And finally, I scanned a leaf (which nearly fills an 8 1/2 X 11 piece of paper) as compared to a US quarter, but it came out as a pdf file and I'm not sure how to put that here - if you have some ideas, send me a note and I'll send back a scan of the leaf.

No, the tree does not bloom or at least not that I've seen, nor have I spotted any fruit. Any tree experts out there?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Mystery photo...

On my computer, I set my screensaver to the "photos" option, and then set it to go through all my photo files. The newest version does some really nice transitions and backgrounds, as well as just paging through the photos. Sometimes it converts all the photos to black and white for the screensaver/photo show, and it's surprising how different a photo can appear when viewed in black & white. For instance, this one:

kept coming up looking like this:

It confused me at first, but then I realized it's a shot of one lonely little Cosmo paw, peeking through the deck railing. I love it - both versions.

It's a beautiful day here in NE Ohio - weather is warm-ish and sunny and my spirits are much lifted.

And speaking of Oldtimer is out in front of the house, trimming back the maple branches that were threatening to rub on the roof and siding this winter, so...I better go lift that pile of stuff to haul to the mulch pile!

Happy Halloween!!

Friday, October 24, 2008


The "prettiest cat there is" remembers his growing-up years in the office supply section of Oldtimer & Lily. He's very grateful to find that someone still provides envelopes in bulk.

I'm so sorry this photo taken with my cell phone didn't turn out better. We had to stop and take a picture - unleaded gas at $2.59 a gallon. Who ever thought we'd be HAPPY to see that? (I'm so old, I remember the gas wars that dropped prices from 23 to 19 cents a gallon!)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday Morning

This morning I was glancing back through my blog entries for the past few weeks, and realized I haven't really posted any rants or complaints or words of advice. I can't imagine what has me so calm, but I don't have any to post this morning, either.

Perhaps it's the view outside my kitchen window, looking as though sunshine has dropped to the ground.

Or the promise of more to come.

It could be the view of seven fat geese taking off from our pond after a short pit stop.

I've been baking a lot of bread lately. Testing new fragrances. Cleaning house, preparing for winter, and the tensions of my job have eased a great deal, as well. I guess they all come in to play.

This morning, I have a routine dental appointment - perhaps that will give me something to complain about, but I doubt it. I even really like my dental office. I wonder if, after three long years, I've finally begun to settle in here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Foliage changes, rock in place!

Though Spring is still my favorite season (the epitome of hope), I can't help but appreciate the beautiful fall colors - bright foliage against beautiful blue skies. The hardwoods here in Ohio are making their changes - and the beautiful tops of trees against the sky are so striking. Here are a few shots Oldtimer took over the weekend, from the vantage point of our driveway! (Can you imagine a drive through the countryside on a sunny day right now?)

My Oldtimer has a fondness for rocks and boulders as landscaping elements, so we went out a couple weekends ago and bought one on sale. (I'd like a big rock, too...preferably one that sparkles and fits on my hand.) We had the perfect place to incorporate it, and the young man said they'd deliver. Imagine our surprise (or at least MINE) when they dumped it off the back of the truck and left it for us to put in place! Standing it upright wasn't too difficult - levers, vantage points...all those manly things. Getting it positioned into the space once upright was another story.
It took a couple weekends of thinking, but we finally got it in place this past weekend. (Besides the thinking, it took a good amount of grunting and sweating, too - mostly by Oldtimer.)

And while stepping back to photo the rock, Oldtimer captured once again the serene scene across the ivy front lawn, with the fountain in the distance. I'm glad he captured this before the leaves start dropping...doesn't it look peaceful and lush?