Friday, January 29, 2010

So, You Are Probably Wondering....

About why this used to be a design blog, and now, it's all over the place! WEll, one reason is that my life is all over the place these days...

That said, it's taken me forever to get the holiday decorations down, and putting my house and garage back together...It's been to cold to work in the garage, and when it's a pretty day, I just want to be outside...

Another reason is I've had two Geeks (computer) in,and neither one can figure out why my blog controls are all fouled up...yet, I blog on.

I know that I have said in the past that it's better to spend a few bucks on real flowers (there are great deals out in the local supermarket), than to have fake-looking silk..I am now taking that back...I was in Salado Texas, my favorite shopping spot in Texas, and these silk flowers (I call them "Teddy Bear" sunflowers, like the ones I used to grow in my garden up north) just waved at me...cheerily...the breeze caught them, and they moved! My husband even likes them..says they don't look like real flowers so much as they look like a scupture of real, I lied..

I am so stiff and sore today; long story...Found a note in my mailbox with a photo on it of "Samson", the missing 11-month old long-haired German Shepherd. Yesterday, it was raining a bit, and I was out sweeping the birdseed off our porch, when Pepe, the pesky Yorky from down the street, came careening up the steps with Samson (it said so on his tag)...Pepe apparently had told Samson that we have cats, and he likes to come over an terrorize them. I let them in the house (big mistake) only because it was raining, and I didn't want Samson to get away and be lost again before I could call the number on the tag.
Chaos broke loose....wet dogs, cats with their backs up...then, Samson was so excited, he decided to eat Pepe...So, I am standing there, holding Pepe up over my head, and Samson thinks Pepe is now a pinata', and is leaping at him...
I managaged to throw Pepe outside, and drag Samson to the garage, where I gave him a nice blanket, some food and water, and called the owner..who, of course, wasn't home.

I had to get our car inspected, so I left Samson in the garage, all the while thinking about all the trouble he could get into while I was gone. I finally got hold of his owner, and we arranged a time for him to come retrieve Samson.

When I got home, I thought the garage would be distroyed, but it wasn't, thank God. I put him on a leash (our departed Lizzie's) to take him outside to do his business, and here comes the other neighborhood Yorky, "Bella", whom, once again Samson decided was a tasty morsel...He lunged for "Bella", and I was holding on for dear life...So, there I was, on my stomach, in my good, leather jacket, black velvet Navaho skirt, my hat flew off, and I was being dragged across wet grass and rocks.
The neighbor came out from across the street, and just stood there watching..nice guy.

Finally, got Samson under control, back in the garage, his owner came and got him, and I cleaned myself up..

See what I mean...all over the place.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Baby Olivia

I am having such difficulties with the mechanics of this blog, that I am tempted to shut it down and start over, but am also sure it would still be a problem...cannot see photos, cannot use colors, etc..But, I so wanted to post these photos of Baby Olivia that I took last week. She was a perfect baby; the sun was shining, and their home was dark, so we stripped her down (it was 78 degrees), and took her outside. Never a peep out of her...she just went with the flow...what a sweet child.

When photographing infants, or children for that matter, you have to work fast, for once they melt down, it's pretty much over..unless you want a photo of a screaming child. Babies have that natural grasping thing, so she just hung on to that rose for dear life. I'd like to say she smelled her first rose, but the scent has been taken away by years of hybridization..which is why I love old roses.....

She did seem a bit startled by having this rose in her hand, and probably was just reacting to a new stimuli, but to me, she seemed a bit in awe of it..

I took some wonderful photos of the three of them (mommy, daddy, and Olivia) together, but won't post's there private moments I am protecting...
That said, these three photos are copyrighted (written)? and will become part of my "Here a Chick" greeting card line....

I am off to the health club to walk five miles...I did my first "Zumba" class yesterday...Latin Dancing and Belly Dancing...terrible at both, but had fun!
Life is good....

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Tribute to Kelly....and a Nest, and a Cat


There's a wonderful woman, who has a wonderful (actually, two) blog: and If you have read my profile, and some (okay) alot of my posts, you will see that I am trying to learn all this blogging, computer stuff, but just barely get by...Sophisticated bloggers just go HERE, and there you are....don't let that stop you from finding her. Or, go to my complete profile, and find them in "blogs that I follow"..Now, get up off the floor from laughing so hard, and go there...please.

Kelly is a wonderful sewer..she makes slipcovers down by the seashore in South Carolina...She is also a saint, who has a blog about animals, actually, the mistreatment that is rampant in this Country and around the world....So many of us say we love animals, but then, we just seem to forget that someone needs to be their champion...Kelly takes risks, and makes a should we all. She has a link on her "Did you know" site that I've been going to everyday for years...I checked it out on Snopes, and it is is daily helps feed animals in shelters. I went there today, and they are asking for help for the animals in is a secure site, and I did send a donation..(we also had donated to the people, but animals seem to get left out there alone and suffering), yes, this is a blog about design..sometimes, but those of you who have been reading for awhile know that the ETC. stands for so many other things..the Etc. of life.

The nest and the cat....I am photographing Olivia, a five-week-old baby girl, who weighs nine cat weighs nine pounds (that's Raisenette Funicello Buttafuco Badcat)...just checking it out..won't let him in it - hope she fits...we will find out this afternoon..should be interesting....And yes, I am a fan of Ann Geddes, who does such wonderful photos of babies...just playing..The nest is baby-friendly...The grapevine won't be anywhere near her...I covered a straw wreath form in the softest velvet (an old pair of Eileen Fisher - my favorite designer- velvet lounging pants -only the best for Olivia), then, a bag full of poly fiber fill in the center, then a piece of cozy foam, and topped off by a wonderful, feather collar, that I got at a resale shop...hope she fits in it....It's going to be 76 degrees today, so I hope to take her outside for it...we shall see.

Okay, all you Interior design fans..tune in later in the is about, well, Etc.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Moving on....

Since Aunt Lily's death, there have been countless back-and-forth telephone calls from Texas to Tennessee (my mother-in-law is the Trustee of the Estate), and many emails to Europe (many family members in Austria, who want to come to the memorial service). We are having the service in the first week of February in order to allow for time for the clan to gather from all over the Country and Austria...So, I am moving forward in my life. I appreciate all the condolences from my blogger friends.

Speaking of blogger friends, I have a problem, and even my Geek (maybe I need a better computer Geek) can't tell me what's wrong. So, here's what happens. When I upload a photo, hit done, and save now, instead of the photo appearing, it is encoded. Then, when I hit Preview or Publish the post, the photos appear..which is a good thing, but it is driving me nuts. I went to the tutorials and help sites, but cannot find an answer. Anyone out there know why this is happening (I mean, Mercury is out of retrograde for us Geminis, so can't we move forward.?

I did finally make a wall hanging out of one of my floorcloths. It is a reproduction of an original Choctaw Ceremonial wedding dress. I just couldn't bear to walk on it, even though that's what floorcloths area for. It hangs in my foyer, which is too small to put even a small, demi-lune table, so it fills the wall nicely. It is mounted to a wallking stick my late brother-in-law made for us. I feel Steve will be pleased with this, from where ever he may be. The feathers were from Hobby Lobby (who knew?), and the leather bindings were leather samples from a high end furniture company (I have a stash of them.)

Today is put away the Christmas decorations in the garage. It has been too cold to work out there, but it will be quite warm here today, so I have much to do...It is time to move from the darkness and cold into the warmth and the light...Putting the house back together...

I am making a nest (yes, a real nest) for a five-week-old baby girl, Olivia. I am going to put her in it and photograph her tomorrow...can't wait..I was a professional photographer for many years, and have my greeting card line, "Here a Chick", so I am adding Olivia to it. Hope it goes well..

I've been up since five am, and it's amazing what one can accomplish in three hours...fed the deer, fed the birds, swept the porch ("Blossem" the opossem leaves the stems from the grapes I put out for her everynight), did the dishes, cleaned two litter boxes (Raisen refuses to use them unless they are changed daily, bleached, washed, dried, and fresh litter..who can blame him?)., and now, am making the nest.

It's good to be back.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Another "Etc.", in Memory of Lily

I just got a phone call from my Mother-in-law, telling me that my husband's Aunt Lily had just passed. Having been in this family for nearly thirty years, she was my Aunt Lily, as well.

This woman was the orginal "Independent Woman"...she ran four companies in New York City, and even though she looked like a "Cupie Doll", she was tough as nails (with a heart of gold). She was the comptroller for comanies that produced safety equipment for firefighters, traffic signal lights, and who knows what else. This was in the forties and fifties, and she would regale us with stories about going up against "The Mob" (read Mafia), dealing with some pretty rough Union Bosses, and sitting at her desk at three am, wondering how to pay all the bills and keep all those people, who had families to support, working.

Every day for thirty-five years, she would drive into New York City, (my husband learned all his curse words while riding in the car with her), work well into the night, and then, go home and take care of her elderly mother and father.

My husband, and his brother were like her children, as she never had any of her own. She would dress them up in suits and ties, and they would spend the day in Manhatten, going to the Metropolitan Museum, plays on Broadway, and fine restaurants.
When any of the family had financial difficulties, it was alway she who bailed them out.

When she retired, she moved to Tennessee, to be near my mother-in-law and father-in-law...She was always cheerful, generous, and funny (although, I don't think she meant to be funny). One great story is that she and the family were in a coffee shop, which was filled with construction workers on break. She had a rather loud voice, with a wonderful Brooklyn accent, and she stated: "Last night, I cooked dinner in the crotch pot". My mother-in-law said, "Lily,it's called a crock pot"..."yeah, yeah, yeah," she replied, "the crotch pot." There were construction workers rolling on the floor with laughter...SO, for our family, it will always be "the crotch pot".

I am packing now to go to Tennessee, to pay final respects, and to stage her house for sale. My mother-in-law is 88, and it's too much for her to handle alone. I know I will be bringing home some beautiful things, as she had fine taste, and has left it all to us. Have no idea where we will put everything (or even keep it all), but one thing I will always keep and treasure is "the crotch pot".

Rest in Peace, darling Lily.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Party's Over...

I am still waiting for my Geek to come..apparently, the entire world wants this guy, and he's so good I am willing to wait (a bit longer). Meantime, I can't upload new photos, and uploading even older ones is difficult. I chose this one because it really is me...crazy enough to climb out on a scaffolding consisting of two boards resting on ladders over a stairwell. But then, years ago, I was the one usually chosen to tie a rope around myself, and crawl out over an escalator (on a ladder laid across it) over a five-story drop - all to hang a wreath at Bloomingdale's..I am no longer THAT insane.

Today's a sad day for me...finally, time to take down the Christmas tree, put away the wreath, all the vignettes, and all the other holiday decor, and move on. I have giant Totes in my garage, and have been waiting for the weather to be a bit warmer (it is in the twenties in Texas today) so I can drag them into the house, but poor Christmas tree is not losing it's needles, but sort of caving in on itself. It is a Noble Fir, and Noble it has been...hasn't dropped nary a needle, and the scent has filled the room beautifully for a very long time. The woman from whom we bought it goes to Oregon every year and hand-picks every tree. So, next year, if you are looking for a wonderful tree, think Noble.

In the photo, I was glazing 5,000 square feet of wall (10 ft. ceilings), and couldn't reach a spot, so I took off my sock, and held the brush in my client (who has since become a dear friend, as many have) popped around the corner with her camera. I have this photo on the front of my portfolio...very classy, in overalls and a tshirt. Since that photo was taken, I have had major surgery, and the 5,000 sq.ft. jobs are over. In fact, I started glazing my little foyer two years ago, got a wrist injury (never wear high heels on cobblestone walks in Ft. Worth, Texas), and still haven't finished it. My goal is to finally do that this week.

So much of the Country is in the deep freeze at such extremes, that 20's isn't all that bad, but today, I will light a fire in the fireplace, put on Beethoven (along with a few Rolling Stones cd's to keep me moving), and move on.

I have such hope that this year will be easier...for us, for you, for all......
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Romatic Period

Terrible problems with my computer, and the geek stillhasn't returned my, they say "a picture is worth a thousand words"...As a photographer, (hand-painted) and an interior designer, I went through my "Romatic Period"...Still have that love of romance, gentleness, happy endings, living with lovely in my heart, but now, I am in Texas, and my home is different...although my bedroom is my "romantic refuges".

The only photograph that isn't mine is the one of my Grandaughter, Hannah, embracing an elderly gentleman..the rest..mine.

The framed photo of the hat was one I gave to my friend, Ginna, who asked for something romantic to look at as she lay dying...

So, enough with the words..enjoy the photos.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Gratitude - vs -Attitude

It's the weirdest thing; when I upload my photo, it shows, then, when I hit "save now", it becomes "code" - no photo, but when I preview, or I publish, there it, I am waiting to see what my "Geek" says...meantime, I am not putting in alot of photos..but then, I don't have alot to share right now...I have been spending time, lying in my bed, contemplating...not much else to do when one feels like I felt...much better now, thankyou very much.

While I was lying about, allowing my husband and my mother-in-law to do all the work, (it's no fun, though, because one feels so lousy...being sick is a waste of time)...anyway, I had time to think - trying to keep my mind off my sore throat....
I made a list...actually, lots of lists..but then, don't we all at this time of year, start to think about putting our "plans" into action; be it losing weight (number 1 in women), getting our house in order, our lives in order, etc.

Okay..list 1 - but then, there's that list that I forget to write often list of gratitude...I know, this is supposed to be a design blog, but it's my blog, and if I want to be grateful and list stuff, it's MY blog..(still a bit cranky here)..
I am grateful for: My family (even though I didn't get to spend Chritmas with my son, I know he is safe, healthy, and can keep warm). He is not in the Middle East, protecting us.
My husband makes me crazy alot of the time....we've been together for many years, and believe me, it's not been easy...but, he did wait on me hand-and-foot, bring me anything I requested, cooked, cleaned, shopped, and entertained my mother-in-law...He also keeps a very nice roof over my head.

My mother in law is wonderful...88, sharp as a tack, and although she didn't stop talking the entire time she was here, I understand, for I spend a great deal of time alone, and when someone is around, I tend to try to make up for all that time alone.

My home: 75% of the world's population doesn't have a decent home, many have nothing over their heads, many live in refugee camps.
I love my home; and I have plans to make it even more my home...I also need to edit...give alot of the things I don't use to the Goodwill, where it can do someone less fortunate than I some, well, good.

My health: strep throat ain't no trip to Baskin Robbins, but I am grateful I had some antibiotics to knock it back....before those wonderful drugs were invented, people died of what I had...

My friends: scattered all over the place...those that shore me up (many of whom I have met through this blog), those who call to make sure I'm okay...those who have been in my life forever, and the new ones, who have reached out to me here in Texas; invited me into their lives and their homes...especially, the ones I don't have to behave around...

My talent: not bragging here, just grateful that there are some things I can do better than others (who can do many things better than me)...I only say this because since the recession, the move, the surgery I had, etc., the design business has dropped off the face of the Earth, but as my friend says, "they can't take away your talent"...I also have many shortcomings, and much to learn, but the eagerness to create is what keeps me going.

The Internet: yes, even though my computer is driving me crazy, the Internet has opened so many doors for me. Much the way books have always taught and transported me, the Net has introduced me to the world of everything...also, I can communicate with anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Our Country: seems broken right now, but when you compare what we have to what much of the world has, I am very grateful...especially to those who serve and protect.

Am I sappy, probably, is this boring, not to me, but probably tomany others...but, now is a great time for us all to sit down and write our gratitude list.

So, I have done my chores, my workout, and I finally have my home all to myself...

By the way, the photo of the waterfall is here in Texas...a magical place....

Time to let the healing waters (okay, not the waterfall, but my shower) wash over me, (oh yes, I am grateful for showers)....