Things That Make Me Smile

You!! If you’re reading this and starting a smile, you make the list. I want to take a moment to recognize my readers out there. Love y’all and your “following of my blog” makes me smile. If you add comments, I’ll prolly smile even more…

Today while I was sewing the rest of the doll parts for my upcoming retreat I was listening to a comedy channel on Pandora and laughing out loud.


They're inside-out and not filled, but maybe you can see the beginnings of our Long-Legged Lulu doll?
They’re inside-out and not filled, but maybe you can see the beginnings of our Long-Legged Lulu doll? Pls note amazingly even hand-stitching on the orange piece that looks like machine-stitching. Oo’s and Aah’s are appropriate here – or maybe that’s just me. ūüôā


It’s my newest media addiction: listening to stand-up comedy while I’m sewing in the sun (Netflix is getting way too distracting). So I started thinking about all the things that make me laugh out loud these days, and I’m happy to see that the list is not short!

(some of the) Things That Make Me ROFL, LMAO and LOL:

  1. The Carol Burnett Show (Here’s one I actually own on CD! Subtitles are a youtube bonus and my encouragement to learn a new language if that isn’t your native: Carol and the Jackson Five. It’s PURE GOLD (I think there’s an earthquake during filming and she doesn’t miss a beat. Because she’s amazing.). And there’s so much more…Mrs. Ha-Wiggins!) A whole separate sentence goes to her recent SAG Lifetime Achievement Award¬†presentation (lots of tears, but happy tears so it counts for this list right?).¬†SHEESH. Way to start a happy list huh? I’m crying the happy/sad/happy tears over here – don’t mind me – nothing to look at – moving on.
  2. A station on Pandora called “Comedy Death Ray” (I don’t know why it’s named that – sounds kind of menacing – but it’s not!). I added a few female names to the channel (like Kathy Griffin) and now I’m finding gems like Jackie Kashian, Tracy Ashley, Ophira Eisenberg (of NPR “Ask Me Another” fame!), Erin Foley. And of course there’s Kathleen Madigan. (The fellas are still bringing the jokes – they just came with the channel. John Mulaney, Gary Gulman and Jim Gaffigan also make me smile lots. Like this: :D)
  3. Berkeley Breathed’s Bloom County¬†– He’s back on fb only y’all, and it’s a new highlight of my day (he happens to be on a brief sabbatical at the moment but you can spend the time until his return catching up – it’s so worth it).
  4. CakeWrecks¬†– I started following this site recently and now I can’t get enough. I also have a picture to submit of a strange T’giving cake I “captured” in an HEB in San Antonio, TX a few years back…I just need to find it in my files! This is real-life funny in every day life – can’t make this stuff up folks. Nobody’s photo-shopping cakes over there…I’m just sayin’…
  5. Jen Hatmaker¬†– She lives near my hometown, tickles my funny bone¬†AND¬†inspires me on a regular basis. (We didn’t go to college together or anything, but I feel like we could have…)
  6. Scruffy Momo (a.k.a. Scruff-a-licious; Scruff-a-Doodle; Scruff-a-Bee, etc.).¬†He’s such an old soul – a gentleman really, in the form of a small furry being. That’s why he never smiles in photos: he’s approximately 82 years old inside and really can’t be bothered. But you should see him chase a circle when it’s time for a walk! I’ll try to catch video of that to share, because it also makes me (and anyone else nearby) smile a lot.
    Grumpy Doodlebug
    Grumpy Doodlebug (taken on my lunch break today when he realized I wasn’t actually going anywhere; despite the all-black furry haze you can clearly see his¬†frown and lack of approval. So judgmental.)

    Plus there’s the left ear that only raises on special occasions. I haven’t captured the exact details yet – it’s still a random occurrence with no apparent pattern (I’ll keep trying to get a photo – it’s kind of like the Loch Ness Monster – you definitely have to be there).

  7. Heirlooms!!
    Gift from Marge, crocheted by Aaron's mother, which means it must be at least 60 years old - probably older.
    Gift from Marge today, crocheted by Aaron’s mother, which means it must be at least 60 years old – probably older. It’s freshly laundered and kind of curly – I tried to smooth out the middle design for the pic.

    Me and Scruff visited Marge and Aaron today and she shared some more amazing things with me that carry so much of their history. The doily above is one example, and the rocks below are another.

Petrified wood, Rose Rock, Mica, and some other stones I haven't identified yet (clues welcome)
Petrified wood, Rose Rock, Mica, and some other stones I haven’t identified yet (clues welcome)

Aaron was doing well today and we talked about Scruffy as he sniffed around the house. On a good day dogs make Aaron smile, and this makes me smile. ūüôā


Palms and Patterns

Today I was kind of all over the map. I worked crazy hours in meetings and also seemed to manage some interesting art in my breaks. Sometimes it seems that one feeds the other…

On my lunch break¬†I took (daylight) pictures of the palm pieces I’ve gathered over the last 5 years. These are pieces of palm trees (usually really tall ones) that fall to the street in wind storms where I live. These storms aren’t necessarily “rare” here, but they happen seasonally and for the most part we don’t see this kind of stuff in the streets on a regular basis.

But then there’s a crazy wind/rain storm that happens for a couple of days (if we’re lucky) and people tend to leave them in the streets and sidewalks for awhile. So the last storm is responsible for my cool eucalyptus leaves hitting the ground from so high up (poor worms/bugs who were feasting on their edges! They’re left with the remaining leaves I guess.). That recent storm¬†also left some¬†new palm pieces I came across in a recent dog walk.

Current doggity pic - he's not happy here because I'm heading out of town
Recent¬†doggity pic – he’s not happy here because I’m heading out of town. The scowl is¬†obvious.

Which inspired me to post a bit of a gallery here, of my palm canvas finds. The first two I came across were way too big and intimidating for me to start painting on, but I have a vision for this medium, and the smaller pieces I came across recently seemed like a good testing ground.

My first palm canvas
My first palm canvas – I imagine a giraffe on this one
close-up of the grain
close-up of the grain









This one sits in a corner of my office, by turns mocking and inspiring me.

my 2nd palm canvas - sitting in a rocking chair It's huge y'all
my 2nd palm canvas – sitting in a rocking chair –¬†It’s huge y’all

This one arrived at a craft fair as possible table decoration, and when they didn’t have room for it they said out loud, “I guess we should just throw it away.” And my supersonic-craft hearing kicked in and I ran across the room to say, “I’d like to stow that in the backseat of my car, if that’s ok with you?” So now I have a life-size palm frond on which to paint my next masterpiece. Get started already, huh?

my 3rd palm canvas(ses); the small middle piece is for test paint
my 3rd palm canvas(ses); the small middle piece is for test paint
close-up of the cool grain
close-up of the cool grain

Is it just me, or do the 3rd palms look like Alien casings? I’m not sure if I’ll be painting on the front or back of those (which is all relative, in relation to the tree right?).

So I’m excited about the 3rd palms because they’re not as big as #1 and #2, so whatever I paint on them can’t possibly be as serious as what happens on #1 and #2, right? Anyways, I picked up a stub palm frond that I can try all my acrylic pain on first. So nervous I am, with these palm fronds. I see the possibilities but I’m not sure how to get there.

[Brief Interlude]

I tried to use my lunchtime sun to also capture some better pictures of my drawings without much luck. But I did capture this, which I like. The wind kept blowing the paper off the stump I was using, so I grabbed this glass orb to weigh it down (used to be part of a solar light in the garden). Turned into a nice shot, I think.

Reflections: Going, Going, Gone
Reflections: Going, Going, Gone

[End Interlude]

During lunch I also separated (OCD fashion) all the quilting squares mom sent me recently. Turns out there’s lots of similar patterns in different colors, and that got me thinking about free-form embroidery options.

So I picked a square¬†and decided to start sewing French knots in the loopy pattern. Turns out there’s a cursive capital “L” in the loopy pattern that I didn’t see when I started.

I started with red French knots and saw the pattern; ready to continue with yellow "L's" on the next row
I started with red French knots and saw the pattern; ready to continue with yellow “L’s” on the next row
I just realized these "L's" are visible when this is right side up and upside down. Escher!!
I just realized these “L’s” are readable¬†when this is right side up and upside down. Escher!!

This is one of¬†my first free-form embroideries – what fun! I have big plans for these L’s involving beads and outlines of other colored threads. Stay tuned. It was fun to free-form on this square, but¬†it’s interesting working without the tension of a hoop. By the last “L” I think I finally had it figured out.

the other patterns in different colors
the other patterns in different colors (see the cursive “L”?!)

I wish I could sew all night, but time for bed. See you in the new creative AM.


Eucalyptus and Leaf Rubbings

I’m happy to report that I got a tiny bit of exercise today walking to run an errand.¬†And Scruffy is happy to report that he got a walk today!

Scruffy Momo as a wee one. He's 8 years old this month and the exact same size.
Scruffy Momo as a wee one. He’s 8 years old this month and the exact same size.

On our walk I picked up some fun things to make art with. The first was a set of eucalyptus leaves that got blown down in a recent wind storm we had.

Eucalyptus leaves
Eucalyptus leaves

What I love most about them is all the chomping bites that were taken out of all the leaves before the little branch got blown down. All the leaves on the ground were chewed up like this and it was all I could do not to gather them all up to take home with me. Because I. Love. Leaf. Rubbings. A. Lot.

"Indian Feathers"
“Indian Feathers”

I’m addicted to the unexpected textures of the leaves that I often can’t see with my “naked eye,” and also to¬†the variety I can create with different colors. My sketch pad cover has a great bumpy rough texture that I like to use as a background/stage. Maybe you can see it in the background colors on the close-up of this one.

"Going, Going, Gone"
“Going, Going, Gone”

But mostly I love the mystery of coloring over something to find out what shape it is. I figured out today that it reminds me of these books.

It took me at least 5 minutes to figure out the right search term for this dinosaur!
It took me at least 5 minutes to figure out the right search term for this dinosaur!

Ah the memories (“Yes & Know” so clever!), and now the smirks (“HOURS and HOURS of “BY-YOURSELF ENJOYMENT” – their capitalization, which also happens to be a registered trademark apparently). Uhm, oh my…but only in retrospect. At the time, my mom included these as part of her genius “Travel Treat Bags,” which¬†we took on any long car/plane ride, and since I was¬†an only child and she was the only adult…these were pretty fun for both of us! (P.S. I used the “Travel Treat Bag” strategy countless times with my young’uns – highly recommended. The younger the child the cheaper the “treats.” They tend to lose the pieces en route – it’s all about short-term fun.)

So anywho’s – grab a greenish leaf from the ground, a piece of scrap paper from the counter and a pencil and see what secrets that leaf has to offer. I guarantee you’ll reveal¬†life-giving veins and edge details you couldn’t see with your indecently “naked eye.” I would love to see pics of your findings! Post a link in the comments and we can start a gallery!