Sunday, January 30, 2011

No Flu Shot

You might remember my daughter refusing to get a flu shot last year. This would be the daughter who caught the flu three times in twelve months, and once it was the Swine flu.

Well, just like clockwork:

She got the last laugh this time, though. Turned out what I thought was the flu was actually a very bad sinus infection.

But still!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Skye's (New) Quilt

Miss Skye finally outgrew her little puppy quilt, so she got a new one over the weekend:

I told her that if she really liked it she'd strike a funny pose for me and the photoblog. She simply stared back at me with the I-don't-understand-you-humans face:

Of course, actions speak louder than silly pet poses, and a few minutes later . . .

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Don't Think So

My guy eats a bowl of cereal every night before he goes to bed, and it's usually Kellogg's Froot Loops. I know, I know, but it's one of those little guilty pleasures I can't deny him. It's got a little fiber in it, what the heck.

About a week ago he was pouring the cereal into his bowl when out tumbled a large, dirt-colored lump, which broke in two:

I had to confiscate this immediately (I swear, men will eat anything) and examine it myself. Since there aren't any gray Foot Loops, I was concerned about the customers who usually eat this product (kids being the target market.) If some kind of dirt that had gotten into this batch, Kelloggs needed to know. So I contacted the company via a product concern form on their web site, gave them the product info from the box and described the lump.

The first time there was no response, but after I filled out the prodoct concern form a second time they replied a few days later. They were very apologetic, and promised to send me coupons for a free box (which I didn't ask for, btw) and gave me an address to send the product to if I still wanted them to see it. Which I do.

It was this paragraph in their e-mail really intrigued me:

The item found in your package is believed to be as caramelized sugar. This accumulation of food and sugar particles may have become overcooked. Although our company takes many precautionary measures in screening the product, the information that you have supplied suggests that this object may have entered the finished food stream. We are sorry that this occurred and have reported the incident.

I bake -- a lot -- so I know that caramelized sugar can be any color from light tan to very dark brown, depending on how long you heat it. Never have I once seen it turn gray. Also, I didn't send them a picture of it, I just described it as I've done here. Dirty. Gray. Lump.

So now I'm going to write them a letter and mail the box with the remaining cereal and the lump off to them. I don't want more free coupons, or another apology, or even damages for our pain and suffering (my guy is fine and eating his way through another box as I write this.) I'm not trying to be a pain in the ass. I just want someone in quality control to see this lump and then tell me it's caramelized sugar.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Guild Upcycling Challenge

This year I and the ladies of my guild voted unanimuosly for an upcycling project as our annual member challenge. Upcycling, also known as repurposing, is the practice of taking items that already exist and remaking or refurbishing them in some way to make them into something new (think of it as creative recycling.)

The challenge rules: the used quilt or quilted object can be of any size or dimension, but it must come from a thrift shop and cost no more than $10.00. The materials we use to upcycle it must also come from our existing supplies; no purchasing new notions, fabrics, embellishments or any other supplies for the project.

I like the Hospice thrift store in our town, which gives all its proceeds to Hospice patients and their families, so I went over to talk to the ladies there and see if they had any donations of old quilts that had come in. They had only one old, musty summer quilt/throw made of taffeta, lame and velvet and what I thought might be flocked lame. It badly needed washing and frankly, smelled to high heavens, but something about it grabbed me. They sold it to me for $5.00, and I threw in an extra $5.00 as a donation.

I handwashed it, kind of expecting it to fall apart in the process, but it cleaned up much better than I anticipated, and displayed some very nice, rich wine colors:

My guess is that it was once an import throw sold in a specialty gift shop ten or fifteen years ago. They had a lot of mock-crazy quilt type stuff for women who wanted the look but couldn't make or afford the real thing.

Most of the fabric is cheap import stuff, and it's a bit shabby in places, but the velvet has a surprisingly nice hand to it, and all the beading appears to be intact (it has very sparse gold sequin-and-seed-bead accents along the stitch lines, and a pink beaded fringe, none of which I like.)

What appeals to me is how the quilt still catches the light and seems to glow.

I'm getting a very distinct Roman vibe from this one, but I'm going to let it hang in the workroom for a few days and look at it while I think about what to do with it. I'll post updates after I start upcycling.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Moon Over Flag

I was trying to focus on the beautiful, almost-full moon last night but couldn't get a steady close-up. I zoomed back out and clicked this, which is probably the best shot I could get for how dark it was. For a second it felt like I was on the moon.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Giveaway Stuff

I had to photograph some giveaways for guest posts I'm writing for two other blogs this week:

Frostfire gift basket, which includes all three Kyndred novels signed by me plus a big coffee mug (can't see it), hot cocoa, teas, and nibblies. I used a winter theme for this one.

Asian tote (made in Japan) with signed copies of all seven Darkyn print novels. The black and floral fabrics of the tote are really interesting.

More details about the giveaways will be over at the author blog as links become available.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cuddle Spots

When it's chilly Skye likes to curl up in small spaces close to someone. Her favorite place when I'm working is next to my feet:

Cole prefers a quilt spread in a sunny spot in my office (but of course sits up the minute I try to take a picture of him):

When we humans aren't around the pups cuddle up together, always near a window:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I'll Be Watching You

My mom finds the strangest things at garage sales and junk shops. Like this recent acquisition:

Yes, the pancake has an eye. The artwork appears to be a cheap print (like the stuff they sell at Wal-Mart now), and from the condition it's probably from the sixties. I don't recognize the artist. This is the backing:

Not sure what the writing means, but here's a close-up of that:

I don't know that I'm ever going to be able to go back to the International House of Pancakes without thinking of it. I did try running an image search but since I don't have a title to work with no luck there.

Does anyone recognize the art, or is this probably just another anonymous surrealistic knock-off from that era?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

While I was Holding

Another Zentangle I drew while waiting for customer service, information and myriad other bits of vital stuff on the telephone at various times over the space of two days. I got the news about Frostfire somewhere in the midst of all that, hence the 32!

Methinks I spend too much time on hold.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Oops Mystery

I was downloading some photos this morning when I found this mysterious shot on my memory card:

I have no idea who took it (wasn't me.) At first I thought it might be an accidental snap of our Christmas tree -- until I checked the date, and discovered it had been taken the day after we took down the tree.

Did the tree leave a ghost behind, one that was haunting my camera? The horizontal lines in the back of the image seemed to suggest a window, only the one behind our Christmas tree wasn't that large. Then I remembered I'd been fiddling with the camera's setting while sitting on the end of the couch that night and might have accidentally taken a shot. I went back to the same spot, lifted the camera to about where it had been, focused the lens this time, and then nailed the ghost's identity.

To see what it really was, click on the image.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Meet one of my dietary nemesi: chocolate-raspberry cake from our favorite tea room. It is dark, and sweet, and sinfully delicious, and it whispers, "Go on. I won't clog your arteries and kill you. This time. Maybe."

So, no more of this for me until I can use something like my birthday as an excuse to have a piece (a much smaller piece. Think like a third or fourth of this. Minus the icing.) If I can stop weeping over it long enough to inhale it.

God, I hate dieting.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


My latest journal, recovered (the original cover can be seen in this shot on the left, under the book marks.) I went with a photo-realistic paper for the optical illusion because in a way journals are windows, too. No fancy application involved; I simply pasted the new cover over the original with some no-wrinkle glue.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Backseat Driver

I want this bumpersticker. And I don't even like dragons. Hee hee.

Friday, January 7, 2011


These are some paperwhites I grew as a gift for my daughter's 16th birthday (a week later, just now beginning to bloom, but when do forced bulbs ever behave?)

Thursday, January 6, 2011


My pointsettias are finally beginning to fade. I've been bringing them inside whenever a cold front blows through, but it's a losing battle.

This morning when I went to water the plants on the front porch, I looked down and saw some of the leaves the pointsettias has shed during the night. This one caught my eye because the rain made it sparkle.

I know it's just a dead leaf, but it was still so lovely that it mesmerized me. I started composing in my head, and came up with this haiku:

mist of morning rain
spangles the leaves night blew free
all crystal quiet

So that's the first poem of 2011. :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Le Bain

We decided our first project for 2011 was to update/renovate our smallest bathroom, which has always felt a little claustraphobic and dingy. My guy painted over the yellowish white walls with swiss coffee, an antique white that has violet and taupe undertones. I removed a black wire rack I'd been using for towels; that added more room (I can store the towels in the cabinets under the counter.)

We also got rid of the previous dark blue and gold sun/moon theme and went with Target's Home Southern Palm Collection for the linens, which are white and a medium light green. I didn't like the coordinating counter stuff, which were clear glass and chrome with etched palms on them, so I picked out some antique-styled bottle green glass and bronze accessories.

The room now looks about two times bigger and feels much more spacious. Very happy with the final results. But can you tell what's missing from the picture?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Wishing You