Sunday, January 31, 2010

Life is Precious!

I happen to believe that life is very precious. Precious from the start of life at conception to the natural end in death.

Over the last year I have seen some amazing people demonstrate just how precious life can be and just how blessed we can be by considering it to be precious. Walking through difficult circumstances does not mean that we are not blessed nor does it mean that there cannot be joy within the times of sorrow.

Enter SewMelody. Visit her blog here to join her on the excited journey of finding out that she was pregnant. What joy! But the joy faded when she knew that there was something wrong with this pregnancy. The story could end there, but it doesn’t. What a testimony of love to Matthew – check out this blog post to see how she reconciled all of the emotions, love and wonder of this child.

Enter Sydney Grace and her family. Sydney Grace was not supposed to live more than two hours because she was diagnosed before birth with Trisomy 18. Check out the blog at Amazing Sydney Grace to see how tenderly this family cared for her knowing that her life could end at any moment. Some children do live for several years – Sydney Grace lived for an amazing 20 days. Her family, friends, and those who followed their journey were blessed by the devotion and love expressed in simple actions. Joy in the midst of sorrow shows the love present through their journey.

Enter Betty. Betty had cancer last year – but cancer never had her! Check out mattscraftywife’s blog to follow Anastasia’s journey as she and her family cared for her mother, Betty. Everything from special spa days to beach travel, to having Christmas (complete with a tree and presents) early in the Fall. This family tenderly cared for Betty for her entire life on earth and remembers those days both with joy and sorrow.

Three amazing examples of how we are blessed when we put feet and hands to living out the fact that all Life is Precious!

Hope you have a wonderful day!


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Posing a question...

I have been showing some of my more abstract artwork lately and I have a question for you.  Here is a piece I created last year - it's another one on the handmade paper.

"Portal" mixed media on handmade paper

My question is ~ when you see artwork like this, would you like to have an explanation from me about what the image means to me?  or would you rather not have your reaction to the drawing colored by my thoughts?

I have listed a couple of drawings on handmade paper in my etsy shop, but they are a bit different from this one.
"Going North"

"Who Will Take This Child?"

hehe - don't panic - I have always been the multi-sided artist who creates abstract and unusual art as well as representational art of the sights I see around me every day.  I just haven't had much of this artwork on display in recent years.  I am still just the plain old ordinary warped me =p  puttering around with my artwork *winks* with two new horsie portraits on the easel!

So, what do you think?  give you a description?  or no?

Hmmm...  and does it look finished to you?  just wondering if I should make the colors a bit stronger...

Have a creative weekend!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Airborne Funtry Friday!

Happy Funtry Friday!  Here's a little crazy dog country fun ~
She's got some great 'ear action' here - she has typical cocker ears that just lay down flat...  except when she is ready to launch!

This is just a little two foot jump - This silly little dog can jump from a sitting position and look me square in the eyes!  LOL!  Just a little unnerving when I am washing dishes and I see her little face on the other side of the kitchen window!

Never a dull critter moment around here!  That's for sure =p  Cookie is always jumping like this.  To say 'hi', at dinner (until I make her sit!), when I come home, when I am in the yard...  hehe - she doesn't need much of an excuse to jump! 

What's your critter's craziest antic?   Share *winks* so we can all have some Funtry Friday laughs!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

I'm obsessed with chocolate and ice...

Or am I obsessed with chocolate colored mud and ice crystals? 

The horses walked in the mud and sunk really deep hoof prints which filled up with snow and rain.  In the morning there was ice in them and, of course *winks* I had my camera.

You can almost see pictures in this one ~ like you see in clouds!

Amazing ice crystals!

This one is my favorite ~ so delicate and intricate!

I  love to see ice crystals form in the winter.  Their intricacy and delicacy fascinate me.  One thing for sure, they really made a muddy horse home look well decorated!  

Have you seen any great ice crystals this winter?  Share a link in the comments if you would like to.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The best little Jim-Dandy gadget ~ Wednesday's Words

Here is a super hint for you!  If you live where there is any kind of mud, you need one of these gadgets!  And, hey - I don't sell this - I just use it a LOT.  I mean, really - take a look at how 'used' mine is!  roflol!

Some of you might recognize this as a hoof pick (hehe - a little deal that you use to pick all the - ah, ugh stuff - out of horsie hooves).  Now, in the early days of our first horse I bought this little gadget to use for that purpose.  If you have one and you use yours for that purpose and you love it, I am happy for you.  I hated it.  The pick was the wrong shape, the bristles didn't get the mud and goop off, and I, well, perhaps intensely disliked it comes a little closer than hate.  If I had hated it, I would have chucked it in the trash.

But, I found a supurb use for this little gadget and now I truly LOVE it!  The use?  Mud.  My mud...

Yep, that really is how much mud I can get on my shoes when I walk out to feed the critters after it has snowed or rained. This little gadget gets it off better than any brush, shoe scraper, or anything else I have used.

The pick part gets the tread clean and the brush part gets all the mud out of the little divits manufacturers think we need in our shoes.  Works great!

So wander on down to your local feed store and rummage through the hoof picks until you find one like this.  If you live where it gets muddy, you will be really happy you did!  Oh, yeah - and they are pretty cheap, too =)

Happy mud-bogging!

PS ~ So what is the coolest gadget that you have?  Are you using for what it was made for or have you invented a better use for it???

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

After the snow, comes the chocolate!

For real!  I mean, check this out ~

Chocolate ~ mud pie *winks* and my yard is FULL of it!  Just add a little snow to the... ah... well... um... yeah, the dirt... um... and stuff ~ and, well, it LOOKS like chocolate, doesn't it???  Seriously, it looked so much like chocolate that I was getting hungry walking in the slushy stuff while I was making my 'critter rounds' in the morning  =p  Needed a cup of hot chocolate after that!

Good news, though =)  The roads were passable ~ once the snow melted and the mud dried up a little.  This is one of the washes that I cross everytime I go 'to town'.

On Friday night the water was running from bank to bank ~ but not over the road!  Woohoo!  Today, it is almost all dried up with just a few puddles.  The other wash has water running in it.  Nope, I did not take pictures of the other wash while I was driving over the bridge at 65 mph.  

But to make up for not risking life and limb for that photo, here's another 'mud shot' for you!

hehe - Super Truck needs a bath!

Hope you enjoyed the 'mud shots'.  Remember ~ when life gives you mud ~ make mud pies!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Amazing what a little snow can do...

Look!  you can't see all the dirt on Super Truck!

Oh, yeah - and the doggie yard looks great now!

Weeds?  What weeds???

It only took about this much snow....

... to turn this into gorgeous scenery!

All covered up in pristine, pure white snow the whole place looks lovely!  Kind of reminds me of how I am covered by the love of God =)


Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered.
Romans 4:7

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Virtual pARTy - a painting in 24 hours *whew*

This was lots of fun - and something that I have never done before.  I joined a Virtual pARTy.  What's a Virtual pARTy?  Well check out The Virtual pARTy Blog and you will find all the details.  Basically, an image is posted and anyone (yes - this means you!) who wants to join the pARTy downloads the image and does a work of art in any media using any or all of the photograph.  Here's the lovely photograph from Linda Shantz Equine and Animal Art that we used ~


The kicker is - you have to do the painting within 24 hours.  Okay - I am a sloooowwww painter... well, at least I thought I was!  Check this out ~

10:45 AM ~ blank water color paper...

11:30 AM ~ Okay, it's sketched in and ready to paint. 
Yes, I am working directly from my computer monitor.

11:45 AM ~ I'm laying in basic background washes - very loose and free with lots of water and lots of wet in wet technique.

12:40 PM ~ I have switched locations in my studio and I am using my old monitor now.  It's hooked up to my laptop, but it sits closer to the table where my paints are.  I like to work from the image on my computer screen because I can enlarge the image to paint the detail and then return to a full view when I want to see the whole image.

1:45 PM ~ birdie and baby are almost finished.  I hate the bushes.  *shrieks and whacks forehead*  More grass?  flowers?  what???  ack!  running out of time!  (ps, I hate the 'I hate this painting' stage =p  How about you? )

2:30 PM ~ *whew* rocks and flowers and grass...  and a bit more color in the mountains...  and a little sparkle on baby and birdie...  Yep!  I am now past the 'I hate this painting'!  I know that there are areas that I could add to and ones that I could refine a little bit ~ but I always say that.  I am one of those people who will just keep on painting until I wish I had stopped 30 minutes ago ~ so I make myself stop.  I am saying this one is 'finished'!

Would I join another Virtual pARTy?  You bet - this was fun!  I did kind of mix up the dates (hey - my internet was down and I couldn't check the blog!) so I thought I had another day *gasp*  Instead, I had to paint and post the image today =p  Because of that, I did do things a little differently...
  • I decided to focus on one horse instead of two or three horses like I had originally planned. 
  • I also decided to keep my image to a 5 x 7 inch finished size instead of the 9 x 12 inch size that I originally thought about. 
  • One additional thing that really helped me to do this quickly was that I painted it in my mind before I painted it on paper. 
Well, what do you think of my 'one day' painting?  It's all finished - except that this painting of our little baby and her birdie needs a name.  What do you think I should call this?  Help!
Hope you had a happy, creative day, too!   
PS  Yep, the bird is in the original photograph - look on the left hand running horse - do you see that white spot on her hind leg?  That's our little birdie!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Did you miss me? Funtry Friday Fun in the SNOW!

Isn't this pretty!

Wouldn't it be nice if it looked like this outside and my internet still worked?  Oh, my - I'm not sure I would know what to do!  roflol - we get a bit of rain or snow, and my server is out of commission for a day or so...  well, or however long it takes for whatever got wet to get dry...

In the meantime, I took a TON of fun pictures (and my usual bunch of really bad ones, too =p )

I had 'cold wire' instead of 'hot wire' when I went out to chore.  hehe - I don't even know if it was working with all that snow, but 'not a creature was stirring' so I don't think it mattered!

Maggie and Bethie rang for 'room service' since they didn't want to get their tootsies damp!  No kidding, I had to toss their feed into their little home.  Neither one was coming out into the snow.

We had about five inches of snow and then a LOT of rain, followed by more snow - and more rain today.  We are supposed to get more white stuff tomorrow, too.  I am waiting to see if the wash is (or will be) running - but that's another story!

Hopefully my internet will stay working - but if I disappear - you will now know why!  lol! 

So, what's the most snow you have been in at one time?  I was in Flagstaff, AZ, and there was eight (yep 8!) feet of snow in three days!  How about you?

Hope all of you are 'high, dry and warm' ~

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's all in a name... Wednesday's Words

“I have a dog.”
“Oh, yeah? What’s his name?”
“No. Guess."
“Rover? Spot?”
“No. Guess.”
“Bear? Killer? Ralph?”
“No. Guess.”
“I give up! What’s your dog’s name?!”

When my daughter first got her dog, she knew exactly what to name her. Guess. We had just recently seen the movie “Sarah Plain and Tall’ for the first time.  It’s a great movie and that is where her name came from.  In the movie the dog is a male - but our Guess was a girly dog.

And, yes, we actually had conversations about her name just like the conversation here! That’s half the fun of having a dog named Guess =)

And, no, Guess was not the only animal that we have had with an interesting name...
Licorice ~ a white cat
Spot ~ a black cat
Forrest ~ a cat named from the movie "Forrest Gump" ~ 'run, Forrest, run!' ~ it's a good thing to say to a country kitten!
Hinky ~ a slightly neurotic cat, but only slightly
Critter ~ who was a tiny little doggie critter at only three weeks old when she came to our home
Moose ~ who was adopted and arrived with that name...  who would name a cat Moose????
Mary and Mary Magdalen ~ two goats ~ but, hey - they were born the day before Easter!  They became Mary and Maggie.  And, yeah, I know there should be an 'e' on the end of Mary Magdalen, but the ADGA registration papers didn't have enough spaces for the last 'e'...
Phil ~ short for Philatelic (stamp collecting) who was a cat that was abandoned at the Post Office...  yep, I took him and his companion, Spot, home =p
Stumpy ~ the last of a long line of gerbils brought home from kindergarten... who would think that gerbils could live that long? 
Pal ~ a cat who is actually named for my mother's childhood dog... 
Hershey ~ who was the color of milk chocolate when he was born...  Horses change color a lot over the first couple of years, and he turned from milk chocolate to palomino during that time. 
Well, there are some of my fun pet names ~ what are some of your fun pet names?  Share some of them in the comments!
PS  Of course, it does seem that the ability to cleverly name critters has been passed on to Mikayla ~  who named her rats Chocolate and Chip *grins*

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

All quiet... except for the storm!

Well, today Cynthia and the girls came to pick up all their pets and take them home.  We had a lovely visit and a wonderful day, but now it is really quiet!

Penne (the traveling pea hen) roosted on the porch railing to get a bit out of the wind and rain.   Now, as the wind blows, the temperature drops, and the rain turns to sleet all the critters have hunkered down and found their warm spots.

And here I am, dropping little blogglettes to the cyber world and wondering if you experience the same sense of extra quiet when things return to 'normal'...

I mean, it was this quiet before I was pet sitting.  It was this quiet before Cynthia and the girls came to visit.  But somehow with the extra whines, barks, cage climbing, munching, slurping, and then all the extra animal noises, too...  JOKING!  okay - those were the animal noises =p but I miss the chatter of Mikayla and Naomi as they play, and the good conversation with Cynthia, too.

With all of those elements gone, my home seems extra quiet even though it was this quiet a week ago and I thought nothing of it.  Does that happen to you, too?  Just curious!


PS  Penne is a pea hen - she travels over about ten acres and spends a lot of time with our flock of guinea fowl.  Lorie got her and a peacock from a neighbor, brought them home, clipped their wings and parked them in her barn.  That evening, the peacock walked home.  Go figure!  Penne stayed and I think she believes she is a guinea hen...  At any rate, pea fowl are really good at catching snakes.  That makes them all my friends.  =)  And, yes, she is noisy - but the pea hens only honk (not shriek like the peacocks)...  she sounds like a cross between a goose and bicycle horn.  Yep.  That really is what she sounds like!  LOL!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Theme from "Jaws" please....

thrum, thrump, Thrum, Thrump, THRUM, THRUMPPPPP ****splash****

Gee, what is that?

I don't know...  but I think it's mine!
I call dibbs!!!


Held motionless by Chocolate's Super Powers ~
transfixed by her mighty stare ~

Cookie and Lova have met their match!

****splash****THRUM, THRUMPPPPP, Thrum, Thrump, thrum, thrump....
***Jaws theme fades....***

Who was that unmasked rat and her hairless companion?
I don't know, but they left a trail of cheese crackers and bread crumbs...
and glassy eyed dogs!

Okay...  umm...  either I had too much hot chocolate today... or I did not have enough hot chocolate today...  not sure...  what do you think?  (besides thinking that my mind is a tad rearranged from Normal to Abby Normal =p )

Okay - maybe it's the lack of sleep!  'night all ~ blessings!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Friends ~ The Spring breeze on a Wintry day!

Friends come in all shapes and sizes.  Sometimes they look like us, act like us, wear the same style of clothes we wear, and live next door.  Sometimes they live far, far away, do things very differently than us, and don't look or act at all like we do.

But even when there is something that keeps us apart - time, distance, or whatever - there is still something that holds us together.  Our hearts.

I have made some wonderful friends over the past couple of years - friends I have never met, some I don't know what they look like, friends who are connected to me by little wires and mega techno computer gadgets that I don't understand.  Friends who are connected to me in a much more permanent way - through our hearts.

Friendship, I have learned over the years, is a matter of heart to heart caring.  It bridges the gap, forgives the imperfections, and really is the Spring breeze that promises warmth on a wintry day!  Thank you, friends! 

Do you have a friend you want to thank?  No time like the present.  Go grab the phone or drop an email - chat on facebook - whatever - but go tell that friend how special they are and thank them for being there.

You'll feel great when you do - and so will they!

Blessings to you, my friends!

And though a man might prevail against one who is alone,
two will withstand him.  A threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:12

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Etsy Blogger Blogger of the Month! NICO* Designs!

And look what she has in her Etsy shop - Nico Designs - aren't these just too cute!

These just toooooo precious!  And so well made - no seams on the inside, no glue - just soft and sweet and so ready for a little baby.  And, are you ready for this!?  Guess what she calls these?! 

"Sophia Baby Shoes"

Sophia!  Now, many of you know that Tim and Cynthia are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia, but did you know that the name that they have chosen to add to our little baby's name will probably be "Sophia"?  Of course, we don't know how old she will be when she arrives - or how big, but that is not problem because Erika of NICO* Designs custom makes these to the size of your baby's foot!  How fun is that?

Now, if I can just wait until that little bundle arrives....  Oh, my!


PS  Be sure to check out NICO* Designs wonderful blog, too.  She has all kinds of great tutorials as well as lots of other fun stuff!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Funtry Friday ~ A few things I have learned about country living…

The Etsy Bloggers Carnival suggested that we look back on 2009 and blog about what we remember most about last year. I thought I would share a few fun things I remember from 2009 (and a few from a little bit before that) about the fun things I remember when I think about ‘country living’…

Going to the Post Office is a social outing. Be prepared to spend an hour or more visiting with someone.

Three vehicles is a traffic jam – mostly due to the fact that everyone got out of their vehicle to chat with the guy with the backhoe.

Pot holes and Ruts are basically golf with a vehicle.

It is possible to drive through three feet of water in a full size pickup truck; however, it takes a full size diesel pickup to drive through four feet of water.

Whoever said ‘quiet country life’ didn’t have guineas, chickens, geese, ducks, goats, cows, or horses. And their dogs were too old and deaf to bark.

You don’t have to get dressed up to go to the grocery store. Everybody you meet there will have the same mud on that you do.

Manure becomes a scientific biology study to discover what pooped there.  Sometimes it is important to know if it was horse, rabbit, coyote, cat or snake that made the pit stop.

Kids on horses will ride through the McDonald’s drive through and order fries for their horses.

A twenty minute parade is lots of fun when your kid is playing the drums.

Horse apples are much more fun to toss that cow pies.

A snake can go through a hole that is smaller than the hole that a mouse can go through. This is not good.

Unidentifiable poop in your garage is not a good thing.

Weeds with pretty flowers are called wildflowers. Weeds with smelly flowers are called noxious foliage.

Gophers will never be an endangered species. Ever. It’s impossible.

Good people live in the country – very good people!

Hope you enjoyed this bit of country fun on your Funtry Friday!

PS  These sweet goats are Maggie and her daughter Bethie (Bethie is on top of the rock).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Handmade Paper Fun

I had some fun making paper and I thought I would share the results. This is “Going North”, a pen and ink with watercolor on my handmade paper.

There are lots of complicated ways to make paper, I am sure, but I picked a very simple way to do it. I shredded paper (yep, in my paper shredder!) and then I put the paper and a little bit of water into my blender. The directions said to make it look like oatmeal. Obviously, they have never eaten my oatmeal. Hey – I like it really thick with lots of raisens in it. You will never get it to spread out if you make it like my oatmeal, so make it more like wall paper paste.

After you have your paper soup, all you have to do is spread it on a screen – like hardware cloth – and let it set up for a bit. I put the screens on some flannel pieces and it soaked up the extra water. Once most of the excess water is out of the paper, then you can peel it off the screen and hang it up to dry. I hung the flannel pieces up with clothes pins on hangers in the bathroom. Since I live alone, nobody complained about the mess *winks*

After the paper was dry, I did some drawings and paintings. The surface is very soft and a little bit difficult to work with when I am doing pen and ink. I use a dip pen with bottled ink and the nib wants to catch a bit on the soft fibers. The paint absorbs differently, too, that it would on a heavily sized paper, but I like the effect that it has. The paper is heavily textured and has a few thin spots and holes which I think adds to the fun handmade look.

I had so much fun doing this, that I want to make some more. Um… but I have to get a new blender, though. Mine had a little accident. Oh, not in making paper – no, that didn’t do any damage to my blender. Um. It had to do with making dog food…

Well, I’ll save that one for another day!


PS  "Going North" is my tribute to the children who were sent away from home during WWII in England.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday's Words - What shall I say now???

Okay.  I have a bad habit.  Well, I have a lot of bad habits, but this one really annoys me.  I use some words or phrases repeatedly.  Often.  Over and over...  And sometimes... well........ I just want to blow those words away........

Like...  when I was first in college, I always said "by George".  Guess what my first boyfriend's name was...  It was embarassing.  yep.

And, I collected a few other phrases along the college way - um, they had to go, too =p

"Just".  I caught myself starting sentences with "just", sticking it in the middle, and using "just" as a period at the end of the sentence.  What was that all about?

"yeah like"...  That came and went, too.

Recently, I realized how many times I say "well", write "well", think "well"...  Well, it's driving me nuts.  I never really thought about it until I had all the - well, the water stuff going on with the well.  Oh, well, "well" has to at least diminish its appearances...

And then there is one of my favorite words to use...  um... "rats".

Need I say more?  It's even driving Chip nuts...

So, I'm thinking maybe I will adopt my grandmother's favorite word.  "Raspberries."  She used it with vigor.

Gadfry, I like "raspberries"!  Well, by George, yeah like I could just use that one and never miss all those other phrases... 

Um.  ah...  well....

oh, nevermind....

So what words get stuck in your mind that you use over and over?  Ack!  Tell me I am not all alone in my warped verbage!


PS  The original drawing is for sale in the sale section of my Etsy shop - Chip, the rat, is not for sale =p

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pet sitting at the "Paulden Rodeo" this week!

Horses and Hounds and Highjinks, Oh MY!

umm...  aren't the dogs supposed to run and the horses supposed to buck?

Glory - looking for the next adventure!

Gotcha - ready to go munch and be a couch potato!

Glory and Gotcha are rescued greyhounds who have been adopted through Greyhound Pets of America.  Glory raced on the track and Gotcha did not race - but they both have a loving home now thanks to being adopted by Cynthia and Timothy.

These dogs are a lot of fun and they do, indeed, show the wonderful temperment that these 40 mile per hour couch potatoes have.  Looking for a fun pet?  Check out adopting a greyhound!

And, yep, they fit right in with my zoo *winks*


Monday, January 11, 2010

So... is having left over parts really bad?

One more faucet to go!  Woohoo!  Thanks for all the encouragement!


PS - and yes, no leaks!!!
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