Thursday, December 31, 2009


New washer and dryer stacked in the freshly painted corner. I'm really impressed with how this washer and dryer work.
Remember this ugly corner?
It looks like this now (but we've taken down the painter's tape). Sometime in the next week, it should have cabinetry.
There's also going to be a utility sink next to the washer and dryer, which will be really helpful.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Pantry/Laundry - Before and During

Disgusting floor found under the base cabinets, which were set right on the floor - no toe-kick.
Empty soffit overhead.
Took some prying, but Gerry got it. What do you suppose that grease spot is in the old wallpaper?
Peeling paint under the soffit area.
The corner where the pantry cupboard used to be.
It can't help but look better when we are done. We're painting today. New washer and dryer get delivered tomorrow.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Fabulous Light - and a Pantry Re-do

I wanted to capture some of the fabulous light coming in through the windows today. With leaves off the front trees and sun shining brightly, the kitchen received some rare illumination - the light and shadows were beautiful, despite my upset and somewhat dusty house.
It is amazing to see these kinds of temps and this kind of light at this time of year in the snowbelt of NE Ohio.
You can tell the angle is low on the sunshine...
but having lots of glass things around the room help with reflection...
and the reflection would be even greater if I'd washed the windows in the fall!
Cosmo felt I should be more impressed with his illuminated fluff, than the shadows on the counter...
and turned his back on me when I told him he was a pest.
Despite the strong colors of the living/dining room, the light bounces around and glows from within.
And here's the very beginning of the saga of why the house is dusty. We are re-doing the combined pantry and laundry room, which is a little alcove off the kitchen (with a door leading to the deck). Here's one before shot:
Here's another, with the god-awful 50s era wallpaper in the back.
There are many more photos to follow - before, during, and hopefully after. You won't believe the disgusting floor we uncovered. And the way these obviously used cupboards were cobbled together to create a pantry - it makes you wonder, "why bother?"

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

From me,
and Cosmo.
We all hope your Christmas was as merry and bright as ours.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Charitable Giving

'tis the season, and all that. The season? Yes, take your choice - the season to give (remember the old adage "it's better to give than receive"?); or the season to do a little last minute tax planning.

Those of you who know me well, know that I'm employed by one non-profit and I manage another. I have a fondness for charitable causes, without a doubt. The non-profit that I manage - the one with the cute little badge over there in the sidebar - happens to focus on companion animals and senior citizens - two of my favorite things in the world, as I live with and am married to residents of both groups. Oh come on, smile - my Oldtimer doesn't mind a little joke on him at times.

When we were first married, my Oldtimer told me that I had a life full of mini-missions. I never really saw myself that way; it's always interesting to see yourself through someone else's eyes. However, when he put it all together for me, I could see the point he was making. While he thought any old postage stamp would do because they just went on the envelopes of OUR money that we were sending away to someone else (granted, to pay for the electricity we used, or some such nonsense), *I* only used pretty postage stamps, because I thought it might brighten some poor mailman's day along the way. I snip the plastic rings that hold together a six-pack of pop, because we once read that the critters in the landfill get stuck and trapped in the rings and die a terrible death. (And why do I worry about critters and rodents, you ask? I haven't a clue.) I make my own soap because of the way it's better for my skin and the skin of my loved ones. (I'm most famous for giving my favorite light-weight jacket to a woman at a bus stop...) The list goes on, but I think you get my drift...

This has been a rough year for the charitable causes, for the needy. Many of the organizations that have, for years, given grants to our organization have reduced or eliminated their grant to us. The reasons given are two-fold - their own investments are down, leaving them less to grant AND/OR they have decided to focus on the basics - food, shelter, and clothing.

In my world, a companion animal is a basic, but I know that not everyone feels that way. I can accept that. In my world, luckily, we still have a way to fund almost all the adoptions that come our way (with just two exceptions). Having said that - donations to our organization are down about 60% this year. Though I'm hoping the cavalry will arrive before year end, as some givers realize their investments have climbed a bit after all, I know that we will have to make some cuts and deny some requests this coming year.

I'm not asking you, my lovely readers, to make a donation to my specific organization, though I wouldn't be upset if you did :-) No, I want you to do a deep analysis of your pet projects, and think about whether you can eek a little bit out of your budget to give your favorite organizations an end-of-the-year kiss. Unless you work in this field, you have no idea how great the need is out there - how many small organizations in particular are struggling - whether it's for hay to feed the rescued horses, supplies for programs to keep kids off the streets, coats for winter weather, food shelves, etc. It's a year of great need with little funding coming our collective way.

Can you do without your designer coffee for a month? How about a dinner of mac and cheese instead of McDonald's? Is there some little change you could make, just for a day or three that would give you a couple extra $$s to send your favorite org? Think about it. Some days when I open the mail I find an envelope with one or two dollar bills tucked inside a note written with shaky hand. When we get those squeaked out donations, I am almost weak in the knees, falling-down-grateful for the person that made that little sacrifice for us, so please don't ever think your donation is too small! It all adds up, especially for the smaller charities.

If you want to make a donation to a type of cause, but don't have a favorite group, do a little research on - they will give you all kinds of background information on various charities.

And though I favor Pets for the Elderly, I have other charities that get my "little bits" when I have a chance. They are:

Citizen's for Animal Protection (Warren County, NC)

All of us with a life made up of "mini-missions" thank you, truly. It all makes a difference.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Week

The tree is up, the table decorated, and gifts are wrapped (and shipped). Just a little more baking to do and we'll be ready.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Three Done - Two to Go

Three Santas done! The rose colored one is almost done, and the wine colored one just needs his bling. Then I have to see if I can foist them off on any family members, LOL. (Photos embiggen with a click.)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I've Been Working On....

...all kinds of things!
First, the gratuitous shot of the in-progress bathroom remodel which is NOT being done by me, but rather our favorite handyman. I AM affected however, believe me.
I was so tickled by the decorative Santas in the winter issue of Art Doll Quarterly ( - last article in this highlighted page) that I made a few of my own! I have five cut out, sewn and stuffed, and now am just putting the finishing touches on them. The gray one is done, the green one might be - or he might need some more doo-dads. None of them are traditional Christmas colors, as you can see by these two.
Fun, huh? Wait till you see the other three Santas!

And I am FINALLY willing to show my progress on the class doll from the Iowa Retreat last September. I have her lower wings done (though I need to drill out the support tubes for the body and upper wings).
The Body is almost done - you can see the pins holding things together where I need to stitch and wrap and I want to do a little more to her hair. My visualization is Tattered Moth - and the more I work on her, the more I think she's tattered from making her way through an ice storm. The upper wings are almost done, too - but I have to get the supports prepped.

There are several things I'd do differently on this doll, but I'm still thrilled with her and with the class.

I've also signed up to do Kelly Kilmer's Journal Prompt a Day for December, ( but will be running behind (Cow's Tail!) the group as I make room to work in the Treehouse.

Friday, December 04, 2009

It Opened!

A little warmth, a little water, and that poor confused iris opened. The edges look a little shriveled, but it still released that unique iris scent into the kitchen when the first bloom opened.

So uplifting.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


It's December 1, which I'm sure you've all noticed. I live near Cleveland, which is in the northern hemisphere - thus, late fall (although in this neck of the woods, it should qualify as winter - normally).

As I returned from an appointment today, I turned the corner, and glanced through the landscape berm to look at the pond. I saw something purple. I thought I saw an iris stalk. It's December. In Cleveland. That must have been some adjustment I got from the chiropractor.

Not believing my eyes, I walked to the pond, empty handed, and saw this:
Yes, that is an iris bloom stalk, amidst the bare twigs, withered quince, and a few ever-hardy thistles. See?
Yes, indeed. A purple iris bud. I had to go back to the house to get the camera.
Then, after I took the pictures, I had to go back to the house and get a scissors. I figured I should cut the bloom stalk and see if it opens in the house. Supposedly we have a storm headed this way, and it surely won't open out there (or would it?).
Fun to have in the house anyway. It looks good on the kitchen counter.
What a crazy place I live in.

Monday, November 16, 2009

HA! Ha, I Say!!

I knew it, I knew it, I knew it all along in my gut. My female instincts are still good. I have long attempted to get by with fewer mammograms, as I didn't think it was right for someone without risk factors to get x-rays any more than absolutely necessary.

Here's one article, with the news that came out today:

And to me, the most significant part of this story is this paragraph:
"While many women do not think a screening test can be harmful, medical experts say the risks are real. They include unnecessary tests, like biopsies that can create extreme anxiety. And mammograms can find cancers that are better off not found. Some cancers grow so slowly that they never would be noticed in a woman’s lifetime. When they are found, women end up being treated unnecessarily."
So every time I've been trying to stretch out my appointments because I don't think it's a good idea to get zapped that often, and especially to that doctor that all but patted me on the head and said "who put you on a two year plan?" to which I've replied "why are the schedulers so adamant that you don't have your next screening even one day before the anniversary date?" I say ha!
Women treated unnecessarily. Who'd have thought that possible? A little more $$ in the coffers, doc? Over-medicated, over-injected, over-treated, and...might I add....over-hand-sanitized. When will we say enough?


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Finished Another!

This doll, made from the Barbara Willis "Parfum" class at Gala 2008 is finally done! I don't know why I'm so resistant to the final steps. I think she turned out pretty well - I'm pleased to have had those beautiful gold metallic and silk fabrics from our friends from India.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Elfling Class with Barbara Schoenoff

Last weekend I took a two day class in Akron with dollmaker Barbara Schoenoff. What a fabulous weekend! Barbara is a terrific teacher, the drive to A Piece in Time Quilt Shop was gorgeous (think of autumn sunlight on miles of gold, orange, and yellow leaves), and the company was delightful.

We had our choice of which of Barbara's Elfling dolls to make. Since I already had two of the other patterns, I chose Finn Darian. Just finished up tonight...a finished doll, can you believe it?!