Monday, July 30, 2007

A Room of One's Own

I've been gone most of the week for a very good reason... What I have been using as an art room for entirely too long is meant to be the dining room. It was inadequate and cramped and not set up right.... It seemed like a good idea at the time -- but I could never keep it tidy nor could it be used for dining... And sooooo, I hatched a plan: make the second bedroom serve as a proper art room...

As you can see the walls are slanted, precluding the use of full size bookcases or installing permanent shelving for storage... Also, I very much need a work surface. My solution was to build two identical bookcases, back-to-back at 37" tall to double as storage and work station.

And so they are...

This is a closer look at the front...
And a closer look at the back...
It is the nicest space... I LOVE being in there.... I love that there is a place for everything. I love that it is cozy and inviting.

Yes, this is what I wanted all along ~a room of my own.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Did Somebody Say Pony?

Because her parents went outta town and she really isn't a lap dog (we don't tell her that) this week Dixie the Great Big Labradoodle spent the week at Camp Jenny! We had a rip roaring good time.... Check out them legs!

This really is one GREAT BIG DOG. She is a Labradoodle, as I mentioned. That's a Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle. Someone said this makes a perfect pet -- the laid back Lab and the smart smart poodle.... Someone has not met Dixie. She is, granted, a puppy, but wild as a billy goat. And DUMB. But tender too -- a kinder dog I have never encountered.

Words can not describe how wiggly and squiggly and twisty and turny this dog is... She doesn't walk, she leaps and bounds and gallops and floats... All those long legs seem to know just where to go. Graceful, that's what I'd say.

And kindly. There is that. When Dixie leans against you for comfort, you know you are being leaned against. Dixie is all legs and tenderness. There are certainly worst things to be.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What's Your Sign?

Of late I am all at sixes and sevens -- though I haven't the first notion what that means... I know it means disoriented and discombobulated. I just don't know where the expression, "Sixes and Sevens" came from. Unless it came from the multiplication tables -- I have never been able to do sixes or sevens with any reliability.

What has me all at sixes and sevens is that I have projects ongoing, but nothing very nearly complete.

Outside I am awaiting an electrical line for the Froggy Pond Pump. I have the pump. I have the fountain (oh, boy this is one really cute china fountain) ... but I can't show it till it is installed and I can't install it till the electric is in. (heavy sigh)

Upstairs, my infamous, "By Noon Tomorrow" art room move from the dining room to the second bedroom is coming along swimmingly -- but, BUT -- there is always a but, what I need are two bookcases. The walls up there are slanty. They're called "hip-walls" or "knee-walls" depending on where they angle up. So I can't hang shelves. And every art room is overrun with bits and pieces of this and that that should have homes and a shelf makes a lovely home for such things. No walls equals no shelves. What I need are bookcases, low ones, that will double as a work surface.

Yes, yes, I CAN build them.... soon as I get one little minute. I'm thinking over the weekend will be fine.

Meanwhile, the onliest little thing I have accomplished this week is that small but essential sign. "Please Be Sure to Close the Refrigerator Door."

I made it for a doctor's office -- for her office staff. They were leaving the little office refrigerator door ajar to where after a short time the little freezer in the little refrigerator was one frozen block of ice.

She wanted to scream... she wanted to kick things. She may have even wanted to smack people upside the head... but we can't as a safe and sane society do that anymore... (too bad)

Instead of screaming or smacking she had me make this sign. It is gentle. It is tender. It wiggles and flitters and is very pretty. It is also to the point. And when I see it I am reminded to calm down, take a deep breath and not scream or smack, not to lose my little mind... in a calm and gentle way, in a dear and favorable time, my things will get done, my electric will get installed, my bookcases will get built... and if not I'll go back to the drawing board and make a new sign.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Once Upon a Doorstep

On a day when my upstairs is a sHaMbLeS and my downstairs is DIS*mAn*tlEd and I am moving forward on inertia and because there is simply nowhere else to go, the mailman brings this>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>v

Aren't they amazing? The packaging and labels alone are ArtPresent enough!!! See those Great BIG cherries? Hand drawn. The USPS doesn't add artwork (unless you count that stiff stylized eagle.) You should see the letters in my name upclose and personal.

These packages are sent to me all the way from Washington state by DecoDivaDeb, the result of a nickname contest in which she delighted in my entry. If you care to read it it's all here: HummadeedleDee. Mine is the 8th entry down -- OldBagNewTricks -- but the nickname I told my story about is Whistlin' Pete. Go 'head, read it, I'll wait....

Then I began opening the packages. Prizes and presents kept spilling out. It was jam packed loaded! Christmas presents aren't required to be this amazing. There were boxes and bags and envelopes, each stuffed with, well, stuff. Buttons and cards and letters and...

ribbons and totes and tins and things that hang and things that sit, things that twirl and things that glitter...
red things, purple things, yellow things, dotted things, striped things, things tied up with ribbon, things tied up with strings. Just when I thought I was done and had seen it all and was entirely finished... there were more things. Oh, this was the most wonderfullest wonderful package of all. And on a day that promised mess and mayhem... delight and wonder.

Deb, I can not thank you enough for picking me, for sending this wonderful package, for adding your personal touches and details. I am entirely enchanted -- I am going now to Bloom where I am Planted. With Glee.

Back to Work

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Is THIS the dining room?

What I want is my dining room back.... it is as simple as that. Simple yes, but it is the hard part too. Right now and since as long as I can remember (which isn't very long) my work room has been in the dining room. Once a year I make a cursory sort and toss so's that the dining table can be found, a meal is served and then quick as can be it is business as usual, a happy mess again.

But somehow I got this niggle... it is a wiggly niggle -- I want my dining room back. I want... I want... I want, as they say, to have my cake and eat it to... in civilized style, at a table please.

So if I am to have my dining room back (which is silly because, accept once a year, who uses it?) I will have to either dispense with my work room...YIKES! Oooorrrrrr, I'll have to move my work room. Move? Move where? Listen, this is a really little house and I have some nerve expecting as much of it as I do and now I want to have a dining room and a work room, my cake and eat it too. Hmmm, I am pushing it...

But there is a solution. I do have a second bedroom. It currently isn't doing anything... accept it houses brickabrac and knick-knacks and old clothes and an old bed and... oh, for the Love of Mike, if I want my dining room where a dining room belongs and a work room in the second bedroom... then I am required to sort through all those knick-knacks and brickabrac, the flotsam, the jetsom, the old clothes, the nonsense that has become my life. I have to take things out of the closet and ask the really hard question -- "Can I now or will I ever again fit into this?"

Some smart aleck organizer once said that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time -- That sounds about right. The rest of our clothes simply take up space. Well in a house this small there isn't any space to lose... Where'd all this stuff come from. Is it like stray puppies that simply follow me home?

Some folks are mighty attached to their excess clothes, some folks like to hang onto their pretty things... And the rest of us just don't want to be bothered sorting through them... I am the latter sort. My deeply attached days are done -- but sorting through all these things is no fun.

It occurs to me I should have bought myself a treat, some bribe... I will work for bribes. I am easy, but I am not cheap. The bribe should have been something good, like a new rug for the dining room... or at the very least a table cloth.

How about this -- if I get these rooms switched by noon tomorrow I will buy myself... more stuff? Hmm, no wonder I didn't bribe me -- I'm no good at dreaming up an adequate bribe.. But wait.... Not stuff... if I get this miserable, I mean lovely room transformed by noon tomorrow I will create a FAB-ulous dinner... a nice wine, a stuffed mushroom or two... What? It isn't like I'm going to fit into those old clothes again.

Here I go, to pitch a bunch more piles and dream up a menu... Too bad you don't live closer -- I would happily share. Happily.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sure, I could fold laundry...

For that matter I could wash dishes, clean out the fridge, sweep the porch, dust the lightbulbs or wax the driveway. There are dozens of inane little household chores to which I could attend... Or I could wander into my workroom and play with this...

When you come across a wee-tiny bottle as adorable and dear as this one... you can't just leave it standing there naked, awkward, shivering. It needed... beads... and paint... glitter.

For this the laundry will wait... I'm like that.

What are you like? Which art or craft grabs you by the throat and whispers in your ear, "Come play; we need you,"? What's the wee tiny naked bottle that calls your name?

Sunday, July 8, 2007

$19 Worth of Flea Market Dishes

First of all I am tickled... second of all... to figure out how to make it all work.

Work into what, you ask.... Oh, how to explain... these lovely dishes are destined to be an intregal function of my Froggy Pond Fountain... Aren't they lovely? I love dishes. I had three sets of dishes for my own use before I knew I was collecting. At five sets it was borderline obsessing.

So it makes sense that I should have dishes in my Froggy Pond Fountain...

Oh, pinks and greens and flowers, oh my. I'm not sure if they will all fit in ... clearly I have more dishes than I have space in my dishpan. But who was I leave behind? For .50c here and a dollar there... And all of them raising their little china hands shrieking, "Pick me, pick me!!!" who, I mean which, was I to leave behind?

This is where I am spending my day, what about you?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Froggy Pond Extraordinaire

Remember this -- these wretched scary roots and the sad as anything soil?

Behold -- the froggy pond. This is the difference a holiday can make. Oh, I so wish you could see inside -- the terracing is a work of art. I am so amazed and impressed! Clearly I need more rocks and there is some tweaking to do, a fountain to build. But very soon I will get to the fun planting part... I think a frog or two might be happy to call this little pond home, don't you?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th of July!!!!!

Some of you may know that one of the hats I wear is that of Miss Jenny ~ The Art Lady. For this endeavor, labor of love, I pack my little artsty-craftsy suitcase with glue and glitter, bits of ribbon, bottles of buttons and other fancy stuff. This I take to select senior centers and assisted living residences where, with the Little Old Ladies who live there (rarely do men engage in art or craft) and we make stuff. We've made magnet boards and treasure boxes, May Baskets and graduation cards, night lights and picture frames.

I have a list of criteria for what makes the list of things we will make. It must be EASY, it must be BEAUTIFUL, it must be USEFUL. Also, we don't do paint and we don't do candles. Dreaming up projects is sometimes a challenge -- sometimes I don't know what we're doing till almost we are doing it.

4th of July, being (one hopes) a bright, sunny, outdoorsy kind of holiday, a broad brimmed straw hat is nice shade to aging eyes and adds instant flare to an otherwise ordinary ensemble. And if you haven't noticed little old lady hair, a hat is a good thing.

They had such a good time assembling their patriotic hats. One of my little old ladies once taught French; to her this was a chapeau. "My daughgter will be so jealous," said another Little Old Lady, beaming with glee. They like that, having something grand that no one else has. Perhaps one day scientists will discover that that is the key ingredient in keeping us young. Pride in Ownership. The Little Old Ladies selected ribbons and flags, flowers and garland. They wrapped and twisted and taped and glued. They had a joyous good time. My Art Lady project was a success. Whew!

What others of you don't know is that I am a veteran. It sounds a bigger deal than it is because it happened almost by default. When I was 18, graduated from high school and didn't yet know what I wanted to do when I grew up, I went to see a recruiter so that at least I had a place to go while I figured out what to be. Next thing I knew I was Air Force.

I say that like I alone was the whole shootin' match military. It is a common vernacular. When a veteran talks about his or her branch of the service it will be in the possessive. "I AM Air Force." Not, "I was IN the Air Force." I am not sure why this is... I guess it is again, Pride of Ownership, though I can not for sure say if the Air Force had me or I had the Air Force... hmmmm. At some point, though, it became who I am: I am blond, I am blue-eyed, I am Air Force. Before I knew it, before I knew I had a patriotic bone in my body, a piece of our country slipped into my DNA. Now when I see the flag, hear taps or stand to sing the obligatory Star Spangled Banner, my right shoulder itches to snap a salute.

And so for me, for one reason or another, 4th of July is a little bit of a big deal.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Over the Moon!!!

OMG -- look who I got to hang out with yesterday!!!