Thursday, December 23, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Mama kept oranges
In a perfect pyramid
On an old bread dough tray
That had belonged to my grandmother.
We never dared disturb them
And so they shriveled,
Mama would say (perplexed),
I can't understand why you
Won't eat that fruit.
Now I buy them
In plastic net bags
And pile them in a jumble of
Bowls and dishes and plates.
Every season's offering
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
For witty banter we choose:The Thin Man series or any of the old Tracy and Hepburn comedies.
We're particularly fond of screwball comedies like My Man Godfrey,It Happened one Night,Holiday,Mr. Deeds Goes to Town,Sullivan's Travels and Born Yesterday. A Slight Case of Murder is also fun.
For dance fever we choose the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers collection.
For pure nostalgia we like the Ma and Pa Kettle series and the Tarzan movies with Johnny Weismuller.
For drama it's Double Indemnity,Dark Victory and Mildred Pierce.
For romance it's Bogey and Bacall.
What's the best black and white movie of all time? Hands down it's Ball of Fire. It has everything a good black and white does best : music,dance,laughter,tenderness,gangsters,and romance.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
We heard someone in the yard caterwauling, "I dream of Jeanie with the light broooown hair."
"Is it Santa? Is it Santa?" the boys chorused.
Looking out the window, we saw that it was undoubtedly not Santa. A jolly fellow we'd never seen danced unsteadily across the snow with our big Saint Bernard, Bandit.
We called the Tennessee police. They said it was not their jurisdiction. We called the Kentucky police. They said it was not their jurisdiction.
We called out to the jolly fellow to ask his name. Even in his drunken state, he introduced himself as we all do in the South by telling us not only his name but all the people we might know who were his aunts,uncles and cousins. We called everyone with his last name and finally got a cousin to agree to pick him up. Santa really did come early that night in the form of Cousin Earl.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
One Saturday morning in December the lady with the little red minivan said to her family,"Who will help me carry the laundry baskets to the basement?"
"Not I," said the small girl on her tippy toes, "I have to practice my pirouettes."
"Not I,"said the tall boy in front of the computer,"I have made it to level 5 and must defeat the dragon."
"Not I," said the bald man with the remote control, "My team just scored a touchdown!"
"All right," said the lady with the little red minivan,"I'll do it myself!" So she lugged the laundry baskets full of football jerseys and ballerina costumes and sweatshirts with pictures of dragons on the front down to the basement where she spent quite some time watching the clothes go SWISH,SWISH (not to mention fluffing and folding).
At lunchtime the lady with the little red minivan said,"Who will run to the grocery store on the corner for a loaf of bread so that I can make our lunch?"
"Not I," said the small girl twirling in circles,"I have to sew sparkles on my tutu."
"Not I,"said the tall boy,"I just made it to level 8!"
"Not I,"said the bald man,"It's halftime. Here comes the marching band."
"All right,"said the lady as she jumped into her little red minivan,"I'll do it myself!" So she drove to the grocery story and while she was there she remembered that she also needed milk and mustard and many other things.She spent quite some time finding and picking out good things to eat(not to mention choosing the best peanut butter for her family).
That afternoon the lady said,"Who will help me clean my little red minivan?"
"Not I,"said the small girl,"I have to write an essay on what I want to be when I grow up."
"Not I,"said the tall boy,"I have to write a book report and I'd better read a book."
"Not I,"said the bald man,"I have to write a progress report for my boss and I'd better get busy."
"All right,"said the lady,"I'll do it myself!"So she got out all the buckets and hoses and sponges and soap and spent quite some time washing and scrubbing (not to mention vacuuming and waxing).
That evening the lady said to her family,"Who will go to the mall with me to have some pizza and see a movie?"
"I will!"said the small girl.
"I will!"said the tall boy.
"I will!"said the bald man.
"Fat chance!"said the lady as she zoomed away in her shiny red minivan to the mall where she spent quite some time eating pizza and watching George Clooney(not to mention shopping and smiling).
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandles, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
This post's title came from a cool,old bluegrassy song called "Ida Red". I just heard the news yesterday that some of my favorite Premo and Sculpey III polymer clay colors are being discontinued. The one I am particularly mourning is tomato red. Yes, I know I can mix it myself with just the right amount of red and orange( or is it orange and red?). I just love seeing those little bricks of color stacked up on my studio shelf and knowing that I can have a pinch of my favorite color at any time with no mixing. Sculpey colors that will soon be gone are: pottery(perfect for terra cotta beads),sunset(I'm gonna miss it),atomic orange(so much more vibrant than just orange),ivory,sunshine,stonewash, pale pistachio,lemon, light pink,and vanilla creme. In the Premo line these colors will be goners: copper(undergoing a reformulation),cobalt blue (whaaat?),zinc yellow(oh nooo!),red,blue and green pearl,sea green(can't believe it),frost,fluorescent pink,green,red and yellow,violet(I'll miss it), and glow in the dark(spooky).Just when I had my palette figured out, I'm going to have to re-think the whole thing.
Monday, November 22, 2010
"One of the good things that come of a true marriage is, that there is one face on which changes come without your seeing them; or rather there is one face which you can still see the same, through all the shadows which years have gathered upon it." ~George MacDonald
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
What do the beads pictured have to do with today's post? Well......I write and doodle with a brilliant blue pen on white paper and....
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Let me say that language is my pastime and my passion. I am not, however, a native English speaker, oh no sirree bob. I grew up speaking pure Kentucky. We had English class every day from first grade on, but it was a pleasant interlude of diagramming sentences, memorizing lists of prepositions and filling in blanks on worksheets. I ran into the house at the end of the day screeching, "Mama! I done so good today!" Our teachers made a halfhearted effort to banish "ain't" from the classroom. They made us say, "I saw Esau sitting on a seesaw. Esau saw me too," but what we heard every day in our homes and in our community was, "I seen...". When I got to college, I was fascinated to learn that there was such variety in the English I was hearing. As I got deeper into studies of foreign languages, I started to see the patterns in my own and to alter them. I learned to speak standard English. This is the same process that many immigrant students are experiencing today as they realize the words spoken at home differ from what is spoken other places. We need to recognize that some of our homegrown students are experiencing the same thing. I wholeheartedly agree that students need to be taught standard English usage. We need to take a lesson from the wicked witch of the west, however, and remember that these things need to be done delicately. Students need not be ashamed of speaking their native tongue, nor should they feel that they need to correct their elders. When I go home, I speak standard English. I sometimes express an idea in a way that makes me lapse back into my native language to make a point. I respect the past and the hardworking people who may not have had much education but realized that roots were good but wings were better.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
These peacock feather bracelets went right away at yesterday's show. I can't wait to attempt this again. I loved the effect of the blue combination but want to work on making the lime green more prominent. The craft fair went well. The best part was when a lady came up wearing a bracelet she had bought a few weeks ago and wanted to see what I had that was new. I'll never forget when we did craft fairs in the late 80's. My aunt "J" loved to bring her yard chair and "help" me. She had a quirky sense of humor and most people thought she was a bit cantankerous. She spoke loudly and was very outspoken as well. She'd sit behind the table and exclaim, "I'll swannee,child. There sure are more ugly people than there are pretty ones, don't you think?" She'd comment on hairstyles, clothing choices, whether children had been taught manners or not-anything she observed that amused her or was out of the ordinary-and all in a stage whisper that could be heard for blocks. I miss her. I didn't sell much at those shows, but the chutzpah she had... ah the chutzpah!
Friday, November 5, 2010
I've been trying to capture the colors of the fall woods in beads for a couple of weeks now. There's a certain type of sugar maple that has a coral/orange/pinkish color that I can never quite achieve. These new beads use a technique I call torn paper. I've made thousands (literally) of small spacer beads this week in every color possible as a way to temporarily string colors side-by-side to see if I want to invest the time to make a more complicated bead set using those colors. I have dozens of new bead sets for this Saturday's show in Hendersonville. I remember the very first craft show we ever did. Somehow I thought we would sell everything we had brought and was disappointed to find that, though we did sell some things, we took most of it back home. Our booth display has changed many times over the years. Last season we had a huge pegboard display that I loved and a rolling cash-wrap with storage that you can see by looking at the previous posts here. This season I've pared it down to 3 or 4 folding tables with layered cloths and have sold more than I ever have before. I love the anticipation before a show begins. Will the weather be nice? Will people show up? Will they stop by my booth long enough to see what I've worked so hard to make or will they rush by to get to the food booths? Stay tuned...I'll let you know in the next post.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Every time I think I've invented a new kind of bead I find that someone else has beat me to the punch. I had never seen these when I began making them, but found similar beads in a book from England. The large turquoise beads with black, white and gold markings are called kimono beads. They're easy to make if you're working with huuuge beads, but small bracelet-sized kimono beads are difficult. The small plain beads are pebble beads I like to make with a bit of Fimo silver glitter and an unbuffed surface. I adore throwing a fidget bead like the shiny turquoise ring into a bracelet for interest. I know I need to branch out and try some necklaces or earrings, but bracelets are this season's obsession for me and I just have to roll with that. Necklaces and earrings have to be viewed by looking in a mirror but bracelets can be admired all day as you wear them.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
For a whole summer I was obsessed with an Irish television program called Ballykissangel. We watched it at first for the plots, then the scenery, and most of all to listen to the wonderful accents. Thinking back, there have been so many summers when I've immersed myself in another place or time. Here's a partial list of summer obsessions:
1. P.G. Wodehouse-Bertie Wooster had aunts almost as funny as my own.
2. The wives of Henry VIII-my favorite wife was Anne of Cleves- she took one look at Henry and said, "Let's just be brother and sister, OK?"
3. Science fiction from the fifties-amazing things like instant-cooking ovens, phones that didn't need wires, computers that could talk-all appeared long before their time.
4. The lives of the geisha-which led to Japanese art-which led to Japanese food-which led to Kazuo Ishiguro.
5. Holocaust literature-which led to Isaac Bashevis Singer and then to Sholom Aleichem.
6. Bead-making is the current obsession. It started this summer. I hope it never ends!
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
My favorite part of this veggie bracelet is the potatoes. I did the surface texture with Old Bay seasoning to look like it just came from the garden. It's been a long time since I've had a freshly dug potato. It's almost more fun to grabble (dig around in the dirt) for them than it is to eat them. My father always hoed a big mound around the potato plants so that we could just brush the dirt away and find the spuds like buried treasure. My mother would take the tiny ones, give them a little scrubbing, and lay them lovingly on a big pot of fresh green beans. The bigger specimens would get turned into our favorite treat: mealy potatoes. Mom would peel them, slice thinly, dip in an egg wash then in coarse cornmeal with salt and pepper and fry them individually in an oiled iron skillet. Heaven! There were only two kinds of seed potatoes you could get locally: cobblers and Kennebacks. I don't remember the distinction between the two, but it was as hotly contested as any political campaign. Nowadays I buy the big bakers to roast in a moderate oven for an hour and a half. First I poke some steam vents,roll them in a bit of olive oil and then kosher salt. Might as well face it I'm addicted to spuds!
Monday, November 1, 2010
Since I took the weekend off from blogging you get three bracelets for the price of one today-all orange! The first bracelet is one of those melange concoctions made from orphan beads. The second one makes me think of going to Knoxville on a football weekend. On the interstate going up you start to see weird flags and pompoms sticking out of car windows with that peculiar yellow-orange color UT fans love. When you come near the campus, a sea of yellow-orange greets you. People are sporting caps, shirts, jackets, pants, scarves, and everything imaginable as they walk to the stadium. It makes you vitamin C sick to watch. The third bracelet mixes orange with chocolate. Yum! Orange you glad Halloween is over?
Friday, October 29, 2010
It's been hard to sleep lately with the full moon making the night as light as day.Here's the full moon and the crescents (complete with craters), the dark beads represent the night sky when the moon is new. The yellow bead is cheese, of course. Here are some of the titles I rejected for this bead set: full moon, blue moon, moon pie, moonstruck, paper moon, moon shadow, bad moon rising, moon river, howling at the moon, moonlight sonata...I finally chose the title of my sons' favorite book when they were small. We wore out three copies before they got too old to want me to read it. My favorite time of day was the reading of the bedtime stories.
Good night cow jumping over the moon
And the red balloon
And goodnight mittens
And goodnight socks
Goodnight little house
And goodnight mouse
And goodnight brush
And goodnight to the old lady
Goodnight noises everywhere
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
We've got a few of those special stop lights in our town that take a picture if you run the red light. I'm not a big fan. Driving is not one of my best skills anyway. I try to be careful and obey all of the rules, but the anticipation/dread of accidentally running the red light makes me slow down too soon or speed up to make sure I don't get "clicked". It feels like they cause more problems than they solve. The town I lived in before had only a four-way stop sign and no lights. That worked fine. On weekends we like to go to Nashville where driving can be a real challenge, and I have only recently mustered the courage to drive there. If my favorite used bookstore, McKay's, hadn't opened a Nashville branch, I never would have even tried. Traffic lights and signs don't physically stop us from driving dangerously; we all must agree that the lights and signs are there for the greater good and our compliance becomes automatic. For the most part, this works. If you don't choose to comply in our town, be ready to say "Cheese".
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The hardest part was deciding whether the beads should be car-shaped with wheels in the right configuration or simply suggestive of wheels. I like this better. Perfectly representational beads make a bracelet that needs to be double-stringed for proper wrist orientation. Too much work!
Monday, October 25, 2010
I was in a meeting today listening to a discussion on blogging as an educational tool. Why was I listening and not contributing? I’m not quite sure. I suppose you could call it shyness, reticence, embarrassment, maybe fear of sounding foolish. Finally I blurted out, “I adore blogging!” We teach others that writing is valuable and needful, but do we really realize the value of writing ourselves? When writing for an audience, we shy folk tend to say much more than we would ever venture to say face-to-face. We have time to think about word choice, tone, focus, even punctuation and precision. We can revise until we’ve expressed exactly what we intended. This almost never happens in a real conversation for us. I started a blog about creating which has, surprisingly, turned into an autobiographical treatise. I’ve begun with a clear vision about what I wanted to post and found that forgotten people, places, and events resurface to help me clarify a point. We teach that there are three purposes for writing: to inform, to persuade, and to entertain. I say there is a fourth purpose: to know our own minds. It’s amazing how our brains put on travelin’ shoes when we write.
Our friend Joe died the other day. He was a guy who never stopped loving the seventies and its music. It's the stuff you hear on the oldies stations. He remembered it when it was fresh and new. I've been thinking about that time lately. Some of the beads I'm making would have fit right in.
There were only four types of acceptable foot wear in the seventies:1. Buffalo sandals-the guys had rubber tire soles and the girls had platforms, 2. Daniel Boone suede-like shoes with gum soles were unisex, 3. Beaded moccasins were unisex, and 4. Fancy purply-red leather shoes (which I secretly coveted but could never afford) were worn only by the trust-fund kids who dressed like middle-aged adults.
I hope Joe is wearing his old Daniel Boone shoes right now and attending the ultimate concert featuring Jimi, Janis, Jerry and Jim. Rock on, Joe, rock on.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
I'm thinking back today on my own wedding day. I had one attendant. She was reticent and hilarious, tender and tough, supportive and sassy and utterly unique. She was my best friend. She wore a denim skirt that day, which was an amazing thing. I had known her five years and never saw her wear anything except ragged blue jeans (It was the seventies,of course). She helped me to get ready, and as she did she sang the song to me she always sang for courage, the song she sang before a big test, a scary speech, a job interview. "Chin up, shoulders back," she'd say,"now let's sing....
Is tiggers are wonderful things!
Their tops are made out of rubber
Their bottoms are made out of springs!
They're bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy
Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!
But the most wonderful thing about tiggers is
I'm the only one!"
Saturday, October 23, 2010
I confess that I haven't been reading for the past few months. There's rarely been a time when this has been the case since I realized the letters on my building blocks could make words. This bracelet is named after a book I particularly enjoyed. Water for Elephants had a 1920's setting, behind-the-scenes circus life, and an elephant! Who could ask for more? It's a thrill to recommend a really spectacular read. I am,sadly, aware that I spoil it for everyone because I can't resist telling the whole plot. Sorry, friends. Perhaps I need to step away from the clay a bit and read myself into a galaxy far, far away. Any suggestions?
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
There was a time when you couldn't have caught me wearing animal prints, but we get older, fashions change, and now I like them. When I made this I was thinking about a magazine that was popular many, many years ago when I was a teenybopper. It was called Tiger Beat and was filled with the heart throbs of the era. As I recall it was Sajid Kahn, Bobby Sherman, the Monkees, and the one non-singing member of the Cowsill family that I particulary swooned over. The articles were written in a kind of hyper-charged English with interjections and exclamation points sprinkled liberally throughout. I notice this kind of language used on entertainment "news" shows on television now. I suppose our mundane day-to-day manner of speaking is just not sufficient when describing the stellar talents of Lady Gaga. Zowie! Whatever happened to that Sajid Kahn anyway?
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Sometimes I like to paw through the orphan beads that didn't make it into the bracelet they were made for. Then a melange emerges that is unique and a delight to design. I discovered the strangest thing last night....Most days the beads I roll turn out perfectly round. When my hands are sore, the beads turn out in football shapes. When I'm feeling mellow the beads are tubular.When I'm nostalgic the beads are square. I can't seem to make anything to order or duplicate what I've made before due to the fact that I never know what kind of beads I'll be able to roll on any given day.
"You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."
-George Bernard Shaw
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Though I tend to like bright color combinations with a little red or orange thrown in the mix, this bracelet has been a big hit for me. For those of you who did not grow up in front of a television in the sixties, Jane Hathaway was a character on a television show called "The Beverly Hillbillies". She dressed conservatively in nondescript tweed skirts and sweater sets. This would have fit her style perfectly. I loved those corny old comedies as a child and can still watch them over and over. The characters seem like old friends. We watched them evolve over the seasons. We identified with their shortcomings and cheered their successes. I just can't get that same feeling of connection with Marge Simpson though she is just as realistic as the characters in the old sitcoms were.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Should you behold a panther crouch
Prepare to say ouch!
If called by a panther
Sunday, October 17, 2010
1. Smile and engage people when they slow down at your booth. It's overwhelming to see the array of items offered in every booth. Make your products special.
2.Don't get discouraged if someone walks away after your ten-minute spiel about how your product is made and why you made it. They might come back after they've compared it to other things they see.
3.Price your product to fit the market. Things are tough today. It would be nice to make big bucks crafting, but realistically you charge what the market will bear, not what you'd make per hour in a nine-to-five job.
4.Be passionate about your work. If you don't love it, how can you expect others to?
Oh, today's bracelet is the one I wear to this season's fairs. I take it off when someone stops to look and say, "Try one of my bracelets on. You'll love it!" I love it myself. Would I sell it? You bet your boots I would!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
The spots remind me of the lighted windows from our visit to Chicago. Here's the story...We were visiting the college boy and cut across Illinois to save time. We pulled into a grocery parking lot to look at a map and realized it was actually a combination grocery parking lot and open air toilet. Hightailed it back on the road. We pulled into a filling station parking area to look at that doggone map. A car pulled in verrrry close on our left. Another pulled in nice and snug on our right,everyone looking cool, slouched low in the seats. When a third car pulled up to the back bumper, we vamoosed. It was getting dark. We circled hopelessly. The interstate was visible, but no on-ramp appeared. Finally we saw one just as we whizzed by. "There's an alleyway," I screamed, "let's turn around there!" A smiling welcome committee with matching t-shirts and hats stepped out of the shadows. We burned rubber in reverse, made it to the interstate and drove all the way to Joliet to find lodging. Apologies to Jim Croce for not listening when he told us about Bad, Bad Leroy Brown & Co.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Spiders seem to be lurking everywhere lately. Is it fall or Halloween that calls them forth? Many years ago I walked in the woods behind my family's house and went over the fence separating our property from the neighbor's. I knew I was on forbidden territory making everything deliciously frightening. The trees cast a sinister shadow; I heard a weird bird call I'd never heard before. I stepped through a shadowy arch to find a grove where the ground was white with thick spiderwebs. I ran home and have had nightmares about this place ever since. Did it really happen or was it a dream? I never went back to find out. Still won't.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I can't believe how incredibly easy it is to make a rose cane once you know how. Simply create a red to white Skinner blend. Wrap it in a thin layer of black. Reduce the cane quite small. Compress the cane from round to slightly smooshed. Slice and build a rose rounding the edges as you go. A lovely effect that looks much more complicated than it is!