Friday, September 30, 2011

Another Lamp Shade

I've finished my second lamp shade. I won't say I'm getting good, but I think I'm improving.

It took me a while to make this one. First I traced the panel size from the lampshade itself and then drew it onto the linen using a water-erasable pen, then worked up the embroidery design--as shown in the photo, I alternated designs on the panels.
It's just a chain stitch, done in wool crewel yarn, but it took me awhile to finish. Then, using my machine, I stitched five of the panels together. On the sixth panel, I messed up--it seems to happen at some point in every project I do. At any rate, when I was cutting out that last panel, actually the last side of the last panel, I began to cut on the stitch line instead of the seam allowance line. :^P

I was so disgusted I put it aside for a couple of weeks. I didn't want to redo the embroidery. I mean, it wasn't hard; I didn't mind doing any of it--once, but re-doing something irritates me. Finally I decided to move the panel up on the fabric--I'd only mis-cut an inch or so--and fill in the embroidery with a leaf and a curlicue, Then I put that panel at the very back of the lamp.

See. Not a disaster after all.

A closer look at an alternate panel.

This is the lamp with the shade in place--not a great shot, I know. I didn't feel like bringing the natural lamp inside. Bear with me please.

The lamp's a cheap-o I'm thinking of repainting, but I do like the re-made shade on it. (I used the shade that came with the lamp, which is why it fits so well.)

That's all for now, except for a note on the next shade I've decided to do. Kathleen Mullaney is my inspiration, and she showed this lampshade on her blog.

I'm working from ignorance and trying to recreate a pleated shade similar to the one Kathleen did. It's not going well right now, but I'm nothing if not determined. Perhaps in another month or so I can post a completed lampshade, cuz, you see, I have a back-up plan in case the method I'm working on now doesn't work out.

We'll see what happens. 'Bye, y'all.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Ten years ago next month, hub and I were having dinner with my sister Ginger, her hub, and my brother and SIL. Ginge had two cats, Miss Doofus and Mimi, and I had none. We had to put my Maine coon down a year earlier, and my heart broke so I couldn't even think of having another. Not forever, just for a while. I always called Murphy my soul-cat.

In the middle of dinner that night, Ginge let Miss Doofus out, and then we heard a bunch of caterwauling. (Did you know that caterwaul means "of a cat"?) Ginger went out to make sure Miss Doofus was okay (All right, I know Miss Doofus was a heckuva name for a cat, but she was loved so--what the heck?) Ginge came back in to tell me Miss Doofus was fighting with a yellow stray. Long story short, I took a scrawny flea-ridden Max home with us.

It didn't take long before he ruled the house. We lived on the lake back then and moved to this house a few years later. Originally our back doors were french, which we replaced with sliders. Max quickly learned to open them. To keep him in the house, we either have to lock it or remember to close the screen. Thankfully, he hasn't learned how to open that.

He's not allowed out by himself. We're surrounded by pasture on two sides, a golf course on a third and a street on the last, none of which are good places for a cat alone. So I corral him with a water gun. I don't spray on him, just around him, but it works--usually.

He's used to being mostly with the hub and me and doesn't take kindly to strangers. I had a cleaning lady who was terrified of him, and one day we came home to learn she'd hidden in a bathroom for half an hour before venturing out to find Max had totally forgotten about her. She didn't stay my cleaning lady long after that. (Her choice.)

Later, I learned how scary he could be. One night, the middle of the night, I couldn't sleep and decided to work in my studio for a while. On the way out, I managed to navigate the backyard with the light from the kitchen window, but returning a few hours later the night seemed darker, and I couldn't see a thing. When I got to the back, I reached for the screen door, and Max went wild. He'd opened the slider about four or five inches, and he was guarding it like Cerberus. I tried talking to him, tried letting him smell of me so he'd know who I was, but there was no getting past him. Luckily we have a key pad on the garage door so I could get in the house 'cause there was no other way. Butter wouldn't melt in Max's mouth when I came in the front.

All of that I've told you in explanation of the following poem. My sis, same one as above, wrote it for me for my birthday. I've read it over and over and still cry and laugh in the same places. I hope you like it.


As darkness fell
I knew that I must
Try to find some food.
I crossed the road and down I went
Into the neighborhood.

First house was dark, 
As was the next
One sitting right next door
So on I trudged with hopeful heart.
Oh, my, how many more?

I finally caught a glimpse of light.
It was just down the way.
So off I went to see if it
Would serve me food today.

It was October, long ago,
When I ventured out
One lonely night to find some food.
Who knew how it'd turn out!

They sat behind their dinner plates
O'er at the sister's house.
I heard the laughter from inside,
Stayed quiet as a mouse.
Then all at once, I saw the thing
Its hair was long, and then
She ran for me, and I was scared;
Around the house, I went.

We hissed and spewed
And meowed and pffffft,
Made lots of noise, and then
I heard the door;
It opened wide,
And then it shut again.

Oh, yes, it closed...most right away,
I heard the whisperin',
"This door, I will not open 'til
You promise to take him."

How could she know,
My person, then,
That I would be just right
To change her world and curl right up
Within her bed each night.

She'd lost her love of many years.
He was her soul-mate fellow.
Imagine her surprise to see...
Came in yellow.

Well, it was tough to get to go
Home with my chosen one.
Her family begged and pleaded with
That grumpy, big ol' one.

He finally let her take me home.
I tried so to stay calm.
I later learned to love him, though.
You know, his name is Tom.

Well it was tough to get them trained
To do just as I bade.
But now it's sweet and happy times.
Oh, meow, I've got it made.

We've moved just once,
But that's okay.
I really love it here.
Although they tick me off sometimes
By sitting in my chair.

It didn't take me long to get
That door to slide my way.
And now when they're not looking
I'll slip outside to play.

They do their best to keep me close.
You oughta see that gun.
That water squirts at least a mile.
Oh, my, oh, my, it's fun.

I run inside to get away.
I hope that I can make
It to my chair before they do
Cuz then I'm finally safe.

They think it scares me, but oh, no.
No better time have I.
Water stream is closing in.
Oh, me, oh, my, I'm sly.

And even when they let me out
I have to stay real close.
I wave my tail high in the air
and sniff with my pink nose.

The morning is my favorite time.
The land is cool and still.
I'll slip away if there's a chance.
I know I'm such a pill.

She just won't let me go out far.
Imagine her dismay
When I sneak off
All by myself;
It really makes my day.

Don't think it's always easy, though,
That I live without a care.
Sometimes I have to get real tough
When there are strangers there.

There was a little lady that
used to come to clean.
She came into my person's room
I had to act real mean.

Geez, I wouldn't really hurt her,
But she sure got really sore.
It took her thirty minutes to
Come out that bathroom door.

She's no longer with us,
Killed two birds with one stone.
Maria comes and shines our place
I'm never left alone.

One time I thought my person
Was a booger bear that night.
I saw her walking to the back.
She gave me such a fright.

I growled and hissed and scared her off.
Imagine my surprise
To see her coming through the front.
Could not believe my eyes.

I felt a little bad for that.
Was I wrong? Oh, I suppose.
But when I think back on that night
I get to laughing so darn hard
That milk comes out my nose.

Oh, yes, I love my persons,
My mom and big ol' dad.
I am the luckiest yellow cat
This world has ever had.

I'll be sitting right here forever.
Nowhere I'd rather be
Than sitting at my window sill
Just him - and her - and me

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Faux Stone

I've been admiring the paint finishes created by Rosemary at villabarnes and thought I'd try the stone finish myself. The pot I worked on was just a plastic pretend-clay pot. Sorry, no before pic, but this will give you an idea of the beginning color.

The hub repotted some spider plants that almost died from too much water. I know, we're in the middle of a drought, but--what can I say?--overcompensation. After saving what was saveable, we wound up with one pot too many. So I decided to faux finish this one.

I followed Rosemary's tutorial for the stone finish with one exception: where she used wax for the final finish I tinted some Annie Sloan wax with gray, painted it over the pot, then wiped it off.

Not half bad for a first effort, huh? Good enough to warrant this second post in one day? Don't get used to it. I'm liable to go MIA for the next month or so.

In the meantime.... Ta, y'all.

End of Summer Lament

Summer's almost gone, and I've barely accomplished a thing!

What I did do, and what has kept me entertained through the heat wave we've had here in Texas, was become involved in reading the current projects of a couple of writer friends.

Patricia Burroughs--or Pooks as she likes to be known--was published the same time I was and stopped writing romance shortly after I did. We belonged to the same critique group back then and became good friends. She made the transition from romance to screenwriting while I was switching to mysteries. I failed horribly at writing mysteries, but she went on to win a number of awards for her work, one being the coveted Nicholl Fellowship. She's back to fiction now, her present work being a compelling fantasy about a magical England during the Regency period. I'm on my second reading and find it equally as exciting this time around. Actually it seems I'm spending more time with my rear glued to the chair now than I did when writing myself!

 Patti's first novel, which she adapted to the screenplay that won the Nicholl

Another author whose work I admire and whose books I recommend is Linnea Sinclair. We met in a writer's forum in 1999--same place I met Maire of Procrastination Diary (Hi, Maire!). Linnea was a private detective who gave me great insight into that profession for a novel I was working on at the time. In exchange I critiqued her finished novel: Finders Keepers. (It's still one of my favorite of her works. Another I also critted for her back then: Accidental Goddess. I think that is my very fave of all her books.) She has since gone on to publish eight novels and has been included in two anthologies. Yay, Linnea!

Linnea's first published book

She writes scifi/fantasy with a touch of romance. If you're looking for something to keep you warm this coming season, check her out.

And now, like summer, I'm gone.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Etsy Spotlight

I know there are some lovely shops on Etsy, and many deserve spotlighting. Why then do I save my spotlights for my sister? Because she does such lovely work and she's totally changed directions since I last spotlighted her.

Anyway, her shop is Little Sassy Mini. She's done a gorgeous collection of miniature bedding, like this black quilt.

Lovely, innit? She sells the pillow too. See the vase of roses beside the bed? The vase was a bead and she filled it with handmade roses, which she details here on her blog Little Sassy Sews...and paints...and crafts...

But my favorite thing she's doing lately are the pitchers.

Is that gorgeous or what? She talks of the process she uses here.

This gives you an idea of the scale. She says they're not difficult to make, but the work looks intricate to me. Think I'll stick with my stitching, of which I'm not doing much lately.

Check Daisy out, even if it's just to admire the work she's doing!