Saturday, December 29, 2012

Holidaze continued

As these pesky winter holidays come to an end, I am yearning for closure for this year and looking forward to a more enlightened upcoming year. I did not find all the joy I had hoped for at the beginning of last year, but continue to search for it. Maybe I am looking in the wrong places.
   All was not disappointing this past twelve months, and I am grateful for the laughs and fun times I've had with friends and family. Beauty surrounds me. I wake to a fresh new day every morning. If I have not made the best of it, the fault is mine.
  I have a huge learning experience before me, as I am to be the communications chairperson for the artists group I belong to. It is a scary prospect. Technology is not one of my strong points. Paranoia is in the back of my mind, too, as every time I see a technological breakthrough that seems too good to be true, I say to myself "Skynet!" Then I laugh a little, nervously. Computerized sewing machines frighten me a little bit.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


no fire today

Last night, it started to snow and there was a tiny accumulation around 1 am (I have insomnia, okay?). This morning when I got up for real, there was quite a bit of the white stuff on everything. Plus it was COLD all day.
 Fearing a freeze over night, I braved the elements and cleared off the windshield of my vehicle, in case I had to make a fast escape. Of course, no one's going anywhere without letting the truck warm up, but at least I made an effort towards a quick getaway. The only real traveling I did today was a block over to have lunch with a friend. Hopefully all this will be gone tomorrow, like most snow "events" in Memphis. How do those folks in the northern parts get through those long winters? They must be very brave and have my upmost respect.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holidaze update

This is the card we sent out this year. Of course, the new bathroom is featured. The caption on the card says "Scrubbing up for the holidays". The decorations are staying up till New Year's.
   Last night I had a lovely solstice fire in the new fire pit and got a really nice photo with my Iphone. Now I have to figure out how to get the photo from the phone to here. If anyone has a suggestion on how to accomplish that, please leave a comment. The only thing I can figure is to send it to myself in an email and transfer it to my pictures folder, but I'm sure there has to be an easier way.
   The fire last night was so nice, I plan on having another one tonight.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Still here

The Mayans were either wrong or their math was flawed or who knows what all the calendar hooey was about or the world will end tomorrow morning.
   In any event, the solstice has arrived and, to honor that moment in time, I was outside at 5:12am Central time, watching flames on a tiki torch. Later today, I will have a proper fire with all the ceremonial accoutrement--holly branches, acorns, and notes to burn, to welcome the lengthening days and chase away the bad juju accumulated over the last 6 months. I upgraded to a better fire pit last week, so Vincent and I did a test run on it the other day. It was a raging success. The new pit is round and has an open top, which can be covered with a screen to prevent sparks from escaping. The chimnea I was using did a fine job for the last few years but I felt limited in flame viewing. You had to look at the fire through those holes. Now, it's kind of like surround sound for fire. Plus it holds way more sticks that the chimnea. All the wind we had yesterday knocked plenty out of the trees, so I can replenish my stick pile with a fresh batch of fuel for upcoming fires this winter. New Year's Eve would be an excellent occasion.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The holidaze continue

As the year hurtles to it's inevitable end, the parties and get togethers with my friends and acquaintances are about over too. Tuesday was the quilt guild holiday bash and today I attended the brunch for the sewing guild. I'm sure no one I know wants to ever see me show up with a dish of pigs in a blanket at any function.
   Besides the food and fun company, we exchanged gifts at quilt guild and postcards at sewing guild. I got a lovely coaster made with a rug hooking technique. It is beautiful and I forgot to photograph it for this post, so that will have to be for another day.

the extent of holiday decorating

postcards from sewing guild
  I did take pictures of the postcards. They are fun and represent the personalities of the creative people who made them.
  As you can see I have thrown in pictures of the outdoor decorations in the yard. The lights don't work so I put bows on those sad deer in an attempt to give them some holiday spirit. And I still haven't learned how to arrange photos with proper text on this thing....someday soon.....

Monday, December 10, 2012

Recent acquisition

I figured I'd better post while I can and blogger is letting me use photos.
Yesterday, I went to a couple of estate sales with my friend. One was at Cybil Sheperd's family home. It had been advertised in the local paper as having some of the actress's memorabilia as well as family heirlooms. There was a LOT of stuff, mostly nice, some not so nice. In the downstairs bedroom where two pink chairs.
bathroom wallpaper at another house

all the doors were like this

My perfect chair
 I have thinking lately about getting a chair for my bedroom, but it would have to be small and in my mind, have the ability to swivel and roll. That chair was perfect. I couldn't believe my good luck in finding it, as I figured it would take a massive hunt to thrift stores and consignment shops to find such a creature.  Yes, it is pink and I am NOT a pink kinda girl, but that chair has everything else going for it. And the Liberty print quilt tones it down a bit.
  The two top photos are from another house we went to. All the doors in that house were pointy even the closet doors. The wallpaper throughout was original from the late 50's or early 60's. It was a strange house.
   Someday I will learn how to arrange the text with the proper pictures.


paperwhites rescued from the big freeze

Tiny Dancer by Elton John
Miraculously, Blogger is allowing me to post photos. What is going on?? Anyway, the lower photo is of one of my journal pages. It's my favorite so far.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


I will not be able to post photos anymore says my storage is full and that I MUST upgrade. Oh well, I guess this blog had a pretty good run and I will certainly miss it.

Holidaze musings

The weather has been less than wintery, but the prognosticators on the local news outlets have forecasted a drastic change in the direction of more normal temps. So I am more than happy that I have rescued the paperwhites to adorn my hovel before the frost got to them. They look lovely and their scent is sweet without being overwhelming.
  I signed up for an online journaling exercise in November that used classic rock songs as themes. The intent was to make a journal page (or at least start on one) everyday. November is National Journaling Month, according to the blog by Dawn Devries Sokol. Although I didn't get to work everyday, I did make a list of all the song titles and started on some of the pages and actually finished a few. It was great excuse to buy a fresh new sketchbook with nice paper fit for mixed media. And now I will have something different to work on for the upcoming cold and miserable winter days--like I really need another project......
   I had planned on adding photos but got the news that my storage is full???? wtf????

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holidaze are upon us

This weekend there will be a street party of sorts on Broad Avenue, the hip, up and coming spot in midtown Memphis these days. Metal Works Gallery will be one of the spaces open for fun and commerce (some of my art works will be available) on December 7,8 & 9. Hours will be 7-9 pm on Friday, 10 am-4 pm on Saturday, 12-4 pm on Sunday. If you are in the vicinity, come join the fun!!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

One down....

Thanksgiving is over---whew---now on to the rest of the pesky winter holidays. This seems very scrooge-ish, I'm sure, but aren't we tired of the pressure to be happy about Christmas and it's "true" meaning (see December 18, 2011 post), all the while having the commercialness of it so overtly displayed??? I certainly am weary of the sales, the ads, the music!!! At least the solstice seems real enough to count as a time to celebrate. Fire is involved there.
And New Years is symbolic of a fresh start. Maybe that's what I'll get myself for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


This is what I've been working on the last two days. I really love those trees.

Gold Xmas cactus

This is the plant that has gold colored blooms, even though they have a pinkish blush in the photo. The last post was worded strangely--my bad.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Indoor gardening

The Xmas cactus spent all summer outside and obviously were very happy with that arrangement. There is a pot of gold blooming ones about to open. Photo of that next time.


From the MACA Tour of Fine Craft on Saturday.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


My weekends seem to be busier than the weeks these days. Today was the opening day of the MACA tour of  fine craft. I was hostessing at the venue where my fiber art also is being displayed. The morning was not so busy, but by the time I had to leave to teach the final skirt class, people were stopping by. Tomorrow, I will be at two other locations and it will be fun to see other artists and their work. I took pictures, but didn't get a chance to download from the camera. Maybe tomorrow or Monday.
  The skirt class was a success. One of the students finished her garment and started on another. The other ladies finished their skirts (except for a tiny bit of handwork) and seemed very pleased with the results. There were a few moments of angst when stitches needed to be ripped out and replaced, but all in all everyone had a positive experience and learned new skills. ALL of us...I learned patience, which I am sorely in need of these days.
   Sew Memphis is on Facebook, so go there to see photos. The shop also has a fun and informative
  The best part of the day was dinner out with my husband and the Noodlemans. I haven't been to visit them in a while, so it was good to catch up with their recent antics. We're already talking about going to St. Louis next fall.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Post Halloween cleanup

Halloween was a raging success here at casa del Willett. We ran out of candy and had to blow out the candles and get into the house before the next horde of children came by expecting treats. It was a lovely evening anyway and the neighbors were out and had their houses decorated, too. The children were, for the most part, well behaved. The weirdest thing that we saw was the guy who was old enough to grow a moustache trick or treating. Yeah, right !?! There really should be an age limit for this holiday.
Yesterday, I took down all the fake spider webs and put the pumpkins around in the back yard on my patio (which is really the upper end of the driveway) after I swept leaves and rearranged the benches and tables. Yes, my life is just this boring.
   This afternoon was part one of the skirt class I am teaching. Like I told my husband, it was successful because no one "shivved" me with their scissors...hahahahahaha
   The students have varying experience with sewing so it made for a good mix of how much attention everyone needed. I made a booboo on one step in the construction of the skirt, but apologized and helped "unsew" some of the garments. So it was a lesson for us all. There was good progress and we will finish next week. I had a great time and really love meeting new people with an interest in sewing.
all decked out for Halloween

new patio arrangement--looking forward to good weather

  Next weekend is also the MACA Fine Craft Tour, so I will be juggling my schedule to help with that, as well as finish the skirt class. The Sewing Guild meets Thursday and I am in the middle of a special project in my studio. Plus this is the week I see my therapist (nothing like a biweekly dose of mental health).  The week seems to shaping up quite nicely. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Moving on

Okay, I'm still in total love with the new bathroom, but I'm sure everyone is sick and tired of hearing about it. So onto other topics.
   This morning there was an earthquake about 40 miles from Memphis. It happened a little after 7:30 am and was not too much shaking, but just enough to be weird. It was as if a semi came up the driveway and lasted about that long. Weird.
I added a pocket
    In the last post, I mentioned I was asked to teach a class making Amy Butler's Barcelona Skirt at Sew Memphis, the groovy new sewing shop in Midtown. Since it is important for the instructor to know more than the students, I made the skirt. It is pretty cool.  In my haste to complete the skirt, I failed to try it on and need to take it in at the waist a bit. I should know better.
   As I also mentioned somewhere, I entered a quilt in a show to be held in Cincinnati and received notice today it did not make the cut. Boohoo...... Oh well, at least I entertained myself while constructing it and that's what really matters to me these days. It has the block letter quilting (love) on it. 
   Other things are in the works for the near future and I will file maybe not so full reports on that as the time comes. One of the activities will be my new position as communications officer for MACA in 2013. I was honored to be asked, as well as slightly bemused, because I am not the most computer savvy gal in town. But I figured (at first thought), it's just posting on the Yahoo group and updating the FB page. Then (horrors) I remembered the website!!!!! Thankfully someone already built it, but now I will responsible for updating it. All I can do at this point is to look on this venture as a learning experience and beg for help from others I know who would be willing to impart their knowledge to me. Stay tuned, boys and girls........

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bathroom again

As promised, here is a picture of the new light fixtures. The newspaper on the mirror is staying until the painting is finished.
  And yes, I will move on from this project to some other endeavors, especially art work. November 10 and 11 is the Memphis Tour of Fine Craft. It will be an open studio concept and is being presented by the Memphis Association of Craft Artists, of which I am a member. I have volunteered to be a hostess at the different venues and am looking forward to seeing all the art, watching demonstrations by various artists, and meeting people touring the studios.
 That same weekend, I am teaching a class at Sew Memphis making a simple A line skirt. Sew Memphis is the new fabric shop in midtown and I am honored to be a part of their mission to promote sewing as a life skill to the next generation.
   Sewing has always been a huge part of my life since childhood and that skill has provided a roof over my family's head and put food on the table for us. (For various reasons, I was never able to get a proper education, so I had to rely on the knowledge that was available to me.) In my later years, sewing has given me a way to express myself creatively. Hopefully, the arthritis that is currently plaguing my fingers, will not put a complete damper on the fun and relaxation I get from sewing. I'd cross my fingers for luck, but that really hurts some days.
   Stay tuned for new and wonderful projects.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Almost finished

The bathroom project is nearly done. All that's left is the painting, so I need to get busy. Marty came by today to fix the closet door, which got jammed with all the hammering and banging around for the last two weeks. The light fixtures were installed yesterday and are just gorgeous!!! Photos tomorrow. All in all, this has been a very positive experience, despite all the inconvenience of washing up in the basement and hot footing it to Marion's for potty breaks during the day. Fortunately, she lives only one street over.
 The guys who worked on the project were very nice, professional and considerate. They didn't mind my picture taking, questions and general nosiness while they were toiling away. Little cat Jerry will miss Brian the most as he was in and out of the house a hundred times a day, cutting tiles or cement board or whatever, and she indulged herself by being on the other side of the door to her heart's content. You know how cats are......
   Most of my day was spent cleaning up the wreckage in the breakfast room and hallway and getting the old toilet to the street. It was still working, and before I could get a sign on it to that effect, somebody came by and took just the lid to the

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bathroom Redo

Brian hard at work

shower floor before grout

loving the tiles outlining the window

I just HAD to see how the teak bench would look

the grout made such a big difference

new potty

same vanity--but I like it
The renovation project is coming along quite well. It's nearly done and I will be so happy to have a real shower soon!! All that's left is the painting and today I put primer on the drywall. The plumbing fixtures are in and we need to wait for the grout and sealer to be really cured. There was a tiny hiccup today. The water faucets on the sink suddenly stopped working. I don't know what the problem is, so the plumber will have to take a look at it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bizzy Weekend

There was lots to do this past weekend. Most of Friday afternoon I spent with the plants and cleaning up the big mess I made in the kitchen. Friends dropped by with cheese in the early evening, which we accompanied with wine and crackers from the pantry. What's not to love about an impromptu happy hour?
  Saturday morning was spent way out east buying a teak shower bench, getting magazines at the bookstore, then laying in supplies at Costco.
  My grandson spent the night and that is always a treat. Sunday started off with pancakes, then bike riding, and after that we went to the river for a picnic. Vincent decided it would be better to get Taco Bell than make sandwiches, etc. I agree. Even though it was chilly and breezy, we had great fun tossing rocks in the river.
  Sunday evening I attended the second annual Trashion Show, benefiting  the Memphis City Beautiful Commission. Local shops and designers showed outfits created from recyclable items such as paper, plastic bags and the like. My friend who participated in the runway show, created an amazing set of wings constructed from bicycle parts and copper wire. What fun.

Alexis Grace as emcee

bike parts become art and fashion
cabin in the country

inside the cabin

what's for dinner?
  The weekend carried over to Monday with a trip to the country. A friend and I drove to visit our friend who introduced us to her friend who has rebuilt an old cabin on her property. Cute place, full of antiques and decorated to perfection. Her garden kicked butt and she has chickens! Big lunch, of course, then retail therapy at the Mennonite grocery store.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Reno and Indoor Yardening

Today was a good day. The guys who are working on the bathroom project got loads of work done. And while they were hard at work, so was I, getting the plants that have been outdoors all summer back into the house for the winter.
the big hole on the upper right is where the medicine cabinet will go
  The tiling is nearly halfway done and looks fabulous!! The soap dish and towel bars that were original to the 1934 redo have been reinstalled. The towel bars are really nice and I never saw any others that compared with them in my research of new tile accessories. Even though the toothbrush holder will never be used by a modern toothbrush, the old one just has so much charm and needs to be up on the wall with the soap dish, which will house shells from now on. It is too hard to clean if actual soap is in there. The soap dish for the shower had to go. It had become a petri dish--yuck.  The toilet paper holder was "glued" in so hard, it broke while the guys tried to get it out during the demo--boohooo.
  The black trim around the door and the top or the white tile is so nice. Marty showed me the tile for the floor of the shower today and I nearly fainted--hahaha--photos when that is done.

angel wing begonia

sanseveria with lovely variegations from the sun

speckled lily that thrived from outdoor exposure

xmas cactus does very well with a summer vacation
  While all this was going on, I cleaned off the shelves by the back door and brought in the plants that will not survive cold weather here. Now my kitchen is full of junk that I blithely put on those shelves all summer and I must toss or find homes for all this crap. I guess that is what I'll be doing tomorrow instead of fun stuff. Oh well, the plants will love me back all winter.