Category Archives: Decorating


Those of you who have been following this blog know I am a DIY enthusiast. My list of “can do” is long. It’s a passion, but not my fault. It’s genetic. Genes handed down from an inventor, a teacher of upholstery and cake decorating at college level, knitter, a quilter and a foundry pattern maker.

This time I am not talking about painting walls, or making wallpaper which involves paint, nor doing faux walls. I am talking about creating artwork.

Son, Paul*, is a partner in our business. His cubical at work is next to mine. He has been doing a lot of painting recently and is honing his craft. He told me he finds it very relaxing to go home and paint. He loves acrylic because it can be stopped and started at any time. He encouraged me to give it a try.

A trip to the local art store and five tubes of paint; red, blue, yellow, white and Payne’s Grey, plus the practice canvas boards Paul provided and I was set to begin. There was a scene I had passed several times at the end of summer when the fields are golden and some trees were beginning to show their soft colors before they fully color up. A dark sky with the sun peeking through added long shadows. I wanted to paint that but I did not want to get so tied down with details. It needed to be a free and relaxing creation.

Self imposed rules were to use only one 1″ brush borrowed from my watercolors. Do not wash the brush and be finished in 20 minutes. I did it in 30.

1" Brush 30 Minutes First Acrylic Painting

1″ Brush 30 Minutes
First Acrylic Painting

There are now 8 paintings in my stack. I learn something new with each one. This weekend I see the obsessive detail beginning to creep in again. Detail is not relaxing. It is not necessary. Omitting some detail leaves the viewer room to imagine. I have discovered a love  for landscape. That does seem to be when I relax and enjoy it the most.

*A word about Paul. At two years old his favorite TV show was not Sesame Street it was Bob Ross. His wife is an artist also. Paul teaches at his wife’s studio, Vine Gogh Artist Bar. You can view some of his work at the link.

Cheers to creating,


PS It is very scary to share the first painting. There are skills not yet developed. Hopefully you will see positive progress.


Filed under Art, Crafts, Creating, Decorating, Random, The Great Outdoors

The Fox Girl’s Dress

My youngest granddaughter is in love with foxes. All kinds of foxes, fox books, fox photos, fox YouTube videos and fox toys. She lives and breathes foxes. In October my lovely daughter-in-law  sent me a message, “wouldn’t Greta love this dress? Could you make it for her for Christmas?” There was a photo attached of a little girl’s dress with a fox applique. My reply, “Absolutely! I’m on it.”

Finding the time was a challenge plus there were no patterns. So right after Thanksgiving I dashed to the store and bought fabric. Since my granddaughter loves blue, I decided on a blue sparkle denim for the dress, orange fleece with black velveteen for legs and white fur for the face, tummy and tip of the tail.

I sketched a rough drawing of a fox on my computer and printed it, jiggly lines and all. Shaped it up with felt pen, created pattern pieces and plunged in. Here are some of the photos of the process.

A sketch of a fox.

Jiggly rough sketch.

I told you it was rough, you probably didn’t think this rough, but this is where I started.

Pattern pieces were created from the sketch.

Fox smoothed out and pattern pieces for the three fabrics were created.

It’s quite amazing how smoothing the lines with felt pen and then making a pattern piece for each color shows there is promise in this fox.

Fabric pieces for the dress and the fox applique.

Here are the fabrics I chose to make this little dress.

You can see this fox will be fuzzy and soft and close to the right colors of a red fox.

wFoxDress-AppliquedThe fox appliqued onto the dress piece.

Blue denim dress with a red fox applique.

The blue denim dress with one fox appliqued onto it.

Since I couldn’t find a black or orange or white tee-shirt with 3/4 length or long sleeves in a size six and the only simple tee was in hot pink, I added bright pink facings, and appliqued pink flowers with orange centers by the foxes feet. On the bodice I added a bright pink butterfly with a fuzzy orange body. I also found a three pack of leggings any one of them would be adorable with the dress. I was set for Christmas.

I was sure she would love it. But then I knew she also needed a hand-made doll wearing the matching dress, something I had done for each of my daughters and my oldest granddaughter. It was one week before Christmas. It is year-end at work. The pressure was on. My priorities shifted, no Facebook, no blogging, just make the doll and dress, in the evenings, after dinner.

Once I knew I had to do it, I wouldn’t sleep if I didn’t get started. As it turned out, I didn’t sleep, much.




Filed under Children, Crafts, Decorating, Do It Yourself, Family, Sewing

Where’s Waldo?

Halloween Costumes

Halloween Costumes

Okay I apologize, but I had to post this photo of my daughter-in-law the mama fox and my granddaughter the fox kit. They look so cute in their little costumes and the great face paint. But the big question here is this: Were you able to find Waldo?

A close up of Waldo, the mother fox and the fox kit.

A close up of Waldo, the mother fox and the fox kit.

I thought perhaps a close up would help you find my grandson aka Waldo.

We turned the page on the calendar and that means Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here before we blink. What is it with time rushing by so fast?

We have much to be thankful for simply because of where we live. I do worry about everyone one on the east coast that was affected by Hurricane Sandy. Such devastation, where are the people whose homes and everything they own are gone, going to spend the night? Will they be warm? Will they be fed? Who is there to help them tonight? How can I help them?

Until we meet again, be thankful,


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Filed under Children, Decorating, Family, Holiday, Random


Do you ever fantasize? You know, dream about something that you will never have a chance to have? I do. In fact my fantasy involves a tool. A tool my husband doesn’t understand why I love it. But love it, I do.

Every time I use it, I fantasize about going to an exotic place, a place that glistens with clean. A place that shines of beauty. But hubby always cautions me to be careful with the vibrating tool. He is so afraid of me getting hurt. But I always use caution and feel myself getting damp and drifting away. He thinks I’m nuts when he is more than willing to do it for me.

I roll up my pants, kick off my shoes and off I go to bliss. I know the dangers, I know the pressure could cut my toes off, but so far I find it very pleasurable. Be prepared, this is my dream:

This is the tool.

Honda Power Washer

The Dream Machine

Honda Power Washer from the other side

From the other side the beautiful rend machine looks mostly blue and black.

The power nozzle sprayer

And the magic happens with this long rod. Hold it carefully it kind of vibrates.

My fantasy is that I could clean the bathrooms, the kitchen, the laundry room, the floors, the walls, the ceilings, the widows, the inside of the oven, everything with the super power washer.

Cleaning the balcony or the concrete patio, the deck rails and all else, in a couple of hours without breaking a sweat  while I watch the dirt disappear is pure pleasure. No scrubbing, no polishing, no kidding. It’s not nearly as much work as doing a couple of flights of stairs with the vacuum. Not nearly as much work as being on hands and knees scrubbing floors. Not as dangerous as standing on a ladder to scrub the ceiling. Much more fun the cleaning the inside of the toilet until I can be proud of its glistening white porcelain.

I hold that wand like a fireman putting out a fire. Or the heroes fighting off an invasion of aliens with their flame throwers. Then the real fantasy kicks in.

I imagine it is the inside of the shower that is going from a bit dingy to sparkling, shiny white. Just think about it, it is a total power trip. In a day I can be done and it doesn’t need to be done again for a year. You can actually visually witness the gunk being blown off the surface. Think of the advantage of using it to wash a kid’s dirty neck, no more fighting if we could just hose them off once  or twice a year. And the animals, just a quick power spray and they would be sweet and sparkling clean. Ahhhh, it is such a sweet dream.

And housework would not be repeated daily or weekly. I seriously imagine I am cleaning the inside of my house. I actually smile as I envision cleaning and going from room to room leaving a fresh clean house in my wake. Then after the bathrooms are clean from ceiling to floor. I move on to the windows, the blinds, the inside of the refrigerator, the chandeliers, the vents over the stove.

Awwww no need to take me away, just let me go with out with the power washer and fantasize…

…and the silly thing is hubby thinks it’s his job, he doesn’t like to do it, but doesn’t want me to do it. He doesn’t want the neighbors to see me working so hard. Hard? Humph! Hard is doing it all by hand, no sunshine, closed up inside, and repeat some of it every day the rest every week. Repeat, repeat and repeat some more.

That is reality, says she with the awesome washer and dryer and the fabulous dishwasher, a new Dyson and the sweetest husband. But wouldn’t it be nice? The only thing we need to make it a reality is a fully water proof house inside and out. Not sure what to do with mattresses, pillows and carpets, but I’m working on that. It is all available now…in fantasy land.




Filed under Decorating, Do It Yourself, Humor

Happy! Hoppy! and Humbled!

Many of you know I also am committed to the Post a Photo a Day Challenge that is initiated by Word Press. One of the blogs I follow is a Photo Contest where both amateur and professional photographers from around the world submit incredible photos from gorgeous and exotic places…

I will get back to that in a minute. But my Totally Random Happy thoughts want to share the Hoppy photo first.

I want you to know that I know where Easter Eggs really, truly come from. They are laid by an adorable pink girl bunny. In this photo she appears to be counting the eggs as she lays them. Here is the proof.

This is where Easter Eggs come from.

Now back to the rest of the story. In the many years of my passionate obsession with taking photos I have never submitted any of my work in any competition except once and it took second place.  I have not been anywhere exotic or out the country in a couple of years but had and idea for an interesting photo taken close to home. I sent it off, and pretty much forgot it.

Today when I opened my email I saw the title of the winning photo that was chosen for today.

You can check it out here:

And this is why I am HappyHoppy and very HUMBLED today.

Egg dying is at our house is tomorrow and two extremely excited grand-kids are coming. Sometime between work today and “eggs” tomorrow I have to clean the house and get the family dinner ready. I can’t wait for everyone to be here. I love any excuse to cook for everyone and for all of us to be together.

Wishing you all a blessed Easter.



Filed under Decorating, Family, Food, Holiday, Photography

The Quilt…the End

So many of you commented on my quilt disaster and I was so surprised at all the helpful suggestions for “fixing” it. We do think alike (like all great minds hehehe) and I had considered all of them. I would not have run into the problem if I had not cut the first few blocks incorrectly or had I used wider strips of white between each block. The wider white would have made for a much better use of pattern, but…taking it all apart to accomplish that? No. thank you.

So I took stock of what I had to work with. A chunk of the sage green that was badly faded, some small pieces, and my own stubbornness determination. Why is stubborn a bad quality but determination is a good quality?

I took stock of what I had to work with. I reminded myself this quilt was repurposed and would look used, because even the badly faded pieces had to be used. It went against the grain, but I had already searched to find fabric that was in the same tones. It had proven impossible from the beginning when the fabric first went up as curtains.

These are the only scraps left.

After much piecing and using tiny scraps to make a big enough chunk to cut a single triangle I ended up with the above small pile of scraps. Not one piece large enough to cut a single triangle, and not enough of any one pattern to cut the four required for a single block. I had used every piece I could find and managed to create eight more blocks. Several of them containing faded pieces with not so faded pieces and one block that actually contains two different patterns of similar colors. But I had no white to do the strip between the final row. (The above photo was taken after every thing was put totally together.)

The Saving Grace, one long narrow scrap

I found I had one very long and narrow strip of the fabric. A strip of very faded blues. But it was the piece I could use in place of buying more white.

The faded blocks with the striped strip inserted

It looks a bit rough, but I kept telling myself it is not about perfection it is about creating a soft, comfy quilt that was supposed to look used. So I plugged on.

This is not looking too good.

Pinned and ready for top stitching on the last block

A little discouraged I had to push on. This is the final top stitching with everything pinned and ready.After pressing it looks better

Perfect lighting, clear and accurate colors.

This photo shows the sage, pear green and the two shades of blue. The lighting for this picture was perfect for a clear representation of the color. The only photo with true colors.

Close up of block with very faded piece.

If I could have cut four pieces of the same fade, it would have simply appeared to be yet another complementary color. But oh well, it is repurposed. Push on.

Embroidery thread for tying.

Digging through my case of embroidery thread I came up with three compatible colors.

Blue, Sage and Pear Green

The colors worked perfectly. My plan was a small “X” in the center of where each strip of white crossed.

Laid out on the backing fleece with pins in place for tying .

After pining every spot where a quilting “X” was to be stitched, the quilt rolled to have access stitch and then tie from the center out.

Backside with sage binding all around and small knots with ends at each tie style quilting

I was so happy to find the perfect shade of sage quilt binding for the edging. The plain white back of the quilt looks finished by the addition of the sage color and the small ties of the various colors.

Ta Duhhh

You can see from this photo that if I had cut the bottom of the curtains and added bands of white, I would have had not much in the way of stripe patterns to work with and the blocks would have been plain sage. That was the reason I aborted the plan to use part of the curtains. The top stripe of the curtain is also the very wide sage stripe.

New Coordinating Sheets

I bought new coordinating sheets, added the pear green throw. The only thing left to add is turning the mis-cut triangles from the beginning into blocks for two throw pillows and a short wide painting for the wall just above the bed. Sort of a “headboard” that is above the pillows but finishes off the wall. Also a small upholstered chair for the corner. A perfect guest room for one.

Ancient Puppy checks out his new bed.

This throw pillow is close but not exactly right. The color of the quilt is not accurate. Night time with incandescent lighting and a flash are to blame. I love the quilt in the room. It looks quite nice with its obvious fading and the softness of the colors.

In the years we have lived here my children played musical bedrooms, so as they traded rooms nearly every possible color combination had been used in here. Since the room was so dark one daughter choose orange and it failed to liven up the room, so did pink, hot pink, light blue, pale yellow or lavender.

The sage green in particular and the white of the current bedding add life, lightness, and calm to this room. It was a success to actually surmount the challenges and still get it finished by the end of January. The camera dates don’t lie.

So all’s well that end’s well and I’m a happy camper.



PS From here on out, I will not be able to do much posting at all. Beginning tomorrow, (it was supposed to be beginning tonight) my evenings have to be devoted to completing the art work for my book. I will be posting those at ShezBogs. I will also continue my photo a day posts at ShezPhoto, but will be choosing from photos processed on the weekends and from some of my favorites. Even some that are archived and shot before digital.


Filed under Crafts, Decorating, Do It Yourself, Life's Contradictions, Random, Sewing

The Quilt…Meets Disaster

Last Friday I got home from work a bit early and was happy that the work on the quilt was going well. All the pieces sewn together and ready to put the borders on it. Even from the back it was pretty, well sort of pretty if you happen to like to look a lots of seams with raw edges. I was just folding it up when

The Back of the Quilt

Sweet Hubs came in to see if I was about ready for bed. I was, but I was just about to take the quilt to see how it would look on the bed. We carried it into the guest room and we laid it out on the bed.

Oh, NOOOoooo-o-o-o.

The quilt is not long enough. It’s not quite long enough to be a blanket and I don’t want to hide it under a bedspread. I was discouraged. It was late. I was tired. Sweet Hubs looked at the room.

“That’s all the fabric, right?”


“Can you fix it?” he wanted to know.

“I don’t know how, but I’ll think on it. Maybe I can take  it apart and add occasional white squares through out. That way I could come up with enough blocks to do another row. Then with the borders in place, it should work. It will be okay if the sheet folds over the top edge and the pillow in a matching pillow case shows. I can add a couple of pretty throw pillows and it look nice.”

As he helped me fold it back up he said, “Take it all apart? After all that work?” I nodded. “Only fabric is in the curtains, right?” We both stopped and looked at the curtains. “But they look so nice,” Sweet Hubs murmured.

I nodded and began to wonder if I could cut enough off the bottom of them to make eight additional squares. Then buy more white fabric to add a wide white piece at the bottom of each curtain. We headed off to bed with me “thinking on it.” And him saying, “You’ll come up with something. I know you.”

I had worked long and hard that evening. I was determined to finish it by Sunday. Goldilocks and Hans were coming Saturday afternoon to spend the night with us. It was going to be a short weekend with lots of housework to do.

Got my pajamas on and went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and I was greeted by

Overflowing Dirty Clothes Hamper

Laundry ala Mode. Add to my Saturday list five or six loads of laundry, that piled up because dirty clothes multiply when you aren’t looking. Why is it dirty clothes accumulate faster than rabbits? Or it was because we looked after grandkids the previous weekend also and that was actually two weeks worth of laundry.  At this point I was too tired and also discouraged, dejected and in despair. And still no quilt in sight.

The weekends of January are quickly coming to a close. I will leave you here. If there is a rest of the story, you will see it here on another odd day. If there is not I will buy a white coverlet and have a really pretty (and very time-consuming) throw. Either way you will get a post of before and after of the guest room.



PS The did floors get mopped, the bathrooms cleaned, the laundry was washed, dried, folded and put away and we had fun with Hans and Goldilocks. Plus lots of time watching and hoping for snow.


Filed under Crafts, Decorating, Family, Humor, Life's Contradictions, Sewing