Monday, December 03, 2012

Actual Hat - Completed

So, I had been thinking about putting that QR code which read "Code Monkey" into a hat pattern for my son. But that was just TOO geeky for even him. He wanted to go with something from pop culture that he's we decided on a Mario Brothers themed beanie.

Here is the completed hat! He liked the ghosts from the dungeons theme, so we went with it.

Since he lives away at school, I didn't have his head to actually try it on as I was I'm hoping it will be big enough! There are currently three ghosts on the hat. There IS room to add one more if he wants me to.

I like the way it turned out! I hope he does too!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Canadian Butterflies

On the Art Abandonment page of Facebook I ran across a fellow from British Columbia, Canada who made 2012 butterflies with the message "Find your freedom in 2012" on the back. They also have a magnet strip. Harry was running out of places to put out his little treasures so asked if anyone in the group wanted to help out.

Of course many of us jumped in and said we'd love to put some out there for him!

My batch of beauties arrived late last week. Today I set them free on the metal posts outside of the Trolley Center downtown.

I put them out on my way into my weekly "sit-n-knit" group. I was there a couple of hours and when I returned to my car over half of the butterflies had flown off to new homes. I am hoping the rest will have been taken by the end of the day!

Thanks for letting me part of your cool project Harry!

Friday, July 27, 2012

More Pieces

I got inspired by the art of Charley Harper I was finding on websites. I love all his stuff, but his birds struck a particular chord in me. It seemed to me that his cardinals, especially, were crying out to be captured on a bookmark using paper piecing.

Bear in mind that I haven't "grounded" them yet, so they feel a bit incomplete as they float in space. One person suggested perhaps a watercolor branch on which they might perch. That's a good idea. (It would be better if I felt any confidence in my ability to actually paint a watercolor branch under them!)

In Harper's art, the cardinals are often placed within the greenery of a conifer or on a snow covered patch of ground (onto which seeds from a bird feeder have fallen). As I walk by these guys several times each day, I'm leaning more and more toward that last one. I think I could draw some sunflower seeds and use markers to color them in. Little random specs of yellow could be crushed bits of corn.

We'll see, maybe I'll try 3 different things!

Not sure where I'll leave them. I heard that someone in the upper management of our local bookstore (from corporate offices out of state) wasn't too pleased to find the bookmark I left there. [Not sure if that makes me want to leave more....or just give up that idea. HA!]

I'm thinking perhaps one should go to the library and find its way to the section on birds. Perhaps another should perch on the shelf by the art books (especially if there's a book on Charley Harper, no?!?)

I haven't received any emails from any of the first pieces of art put out there. While I'm REALLY curious, and would LOVE to hear back....that's not the reason I'm doing it. As long as someone smiles or has a happy moment....that's all that truly matters.

Stay tuned, I'll have an update on CANADIAN BUTTERFLIES next week!!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pieced Together

Happy Monday everyone! What did you do over the weekend? It's been SO hot in my neck of the woods that we are trying to get all our errands and outdoor activities done before 10 am or so. We did hit a couple garage sales on Saturday.

What you see here is a little collage tag I made using one of my Saturday purchases. I found a puzzle for only a quarter, so I grabbed it knowing that puzzle pieces make nice parts for mixed media collages. (Here it is painted 1950s aqua to reflect the theme.)
I will be abandoning this one near some cookbooks I think....either at a library or perhaps a book store. Hmmmmm, we'll have to see!

Last week when I went spelunking at Goodwill I found a box of old poker chips for $1. Here's what I'm making with them:

Little fridge magnets with doodles and paint! I think they're cute and they will be fun to set free somewhere!

Let me know what creative things you've been doing!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Guilty of Abandonment

I have set free two pieces of art.

The ATC (Artist Trading Card) sized print on the right has a magnet on the back along with the note that it is free art to enjoy. My DD and I left it magnetized to one of the shelves in the Fiction section at our public library this morning!

The matted photo on the right was taken by DD on one of her road trips. There was this abandoned train out in the middle of Iowa with all these cool markings on it! She added the quote and it makes a really cool piece! We left this one on the table at the local java house where they will be having an acoustic mike night tonight.

I'm excited about leaving these out. I hope people will send an email in and let us know they took them.

Oh, and I found the two mats at the Goodwill for 50 cents each! The ATC cards were in the sale bin at Hobby Lobby--a pack of 5, self-adhesive "photo" ATCs--for $1.33. Who could pass that up?!?!

I also found a box of old poker chips at Goodwill yesterday. I'm thinking I will repurpose them into fridge magnets or necklaces for some more art to abandon.

Having a LOT of fun with this! Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 16, 2012

All About Art

The theme of this past weekend for me was "art". It started with the usual Saturday morning garage sale routine. At the first stop I found some teaching posters featuring paintings on one side and information about the artist, the painting, and the social milieu into which the piece was born. Already laminated, I think there will be countless ways to use these with students to encourage creative thinking/writing.

Later in the day I made a really fun discovery: Art Abandonment. If you'd like to read a full description you will find that HERE. In a nutshell, creative people all around the country and world are making art and abandoning their works to the wild for some random person to discover and enjoy.

(It's a bit like yarn bombing which I've participated in! But limitless in technique, size, etc.)

I thought this was such an intriguing idea...leaving works of they paintings, jewelry, sculpture, mixed-media, fiber creations...anything goes!....for a random passerby to find. I love it!!

So I decided to join the Facebook group dedicated to Art Abandonment and jumped in with both feet!

I made this little 3.5"x5.5" watercolor & chalk using the stamp I hand-carved of the Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, WI. I had a lot of fun making this simple little piece of art.

This morning my son had to have all four wisdom teeth taken out. When I was alone in the oral surgeon's waiting room, I put it into an empty slot in the rack of informational pamphlets they had displayed on an end table.

I hope someone enjoys it!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fun, Light Reading

Ok, I'm totally hooked on Alexander McCall Smith's series of books that began with The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

The books are delightful! They're under 200 pages which means you can read them in a day (or two). The characters are engaging. The way Mma solves the mysteries, ingenious!

I have read the first three this past week or so. I'm saving the fourth for tomorrow as I have some family related stuff that means I'll be doing some waiting for several hours.

I've discovered that between my local library and the Ames Public Library (for which I also have a membership card) I can download these books as free library loans to my Nook. How fun/cool is that?!

Happy Reading!

Monday, July 09, 2012

What I Found

This post begins with an admission: my family has gotten the bug for going to garage sales together on Saturday mornings. (Garage sales = tag sales in some parts of the country. a.k.a. "yard sales".) We also enjoy Estate Sales! So for the past couple of months we get up, check the newspaper, circle our destinations, and head out to see what great treasures we might find out there.

I've decided I might share some of my finds with you on these early days of the week!

I've been doing a lot of reading lately (I have completed a couple of the Alexander McCall Smith series "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" series. Fun! Quick reads!) One of the series I wanted to try is the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evonovich. I can never find the first book! Not at the library. Not via the electronic downloads to my Nook. Nada.

However, on the third stop along the garage sale circuit this past Saturday, guess what I found?

That's right! The first THREE books in the series all in one bundle! And...I only paid $1 for the whole shebang!


This turned out to be a really fun sale because there were two neighbors also selling which meant three garages all in ONE spot!

Across the way I spotted this bit of vintage looking fabric:

It was a bundle of four cloth napkins for again, $1 (yes! just a buck!) Something about the retro colors and potential pattern pulled me in and I bought them. And this is what they look like unfolded!

I realize beauty may be in the eye of the beholder on this, but I think they are absolutely fabulous!! I'm looking for ideas on ways to use/display them. Framing would be fun if I had some others to go on the wall in a collage. I've seen window valences made from them. I'm wondering if it's possible to fashion an apron using one and some other fabric? (I'm really into aprons for some reason!)

For now, I'm going to let the ideas simmer. You never know what I'll find next Saturday!

If you're going out to any garage/tag sales I wish you happy hunting!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Proud Mom Moment

I have to brag up my daughter a bit! She had one of her first sessions photographing a senior for the Class of 2013. You can find links to the photos from her Facebook page at She does great work and her prices can't be beat!

The beautiful young lady being photographed is the daughter of my BF from college who blogs over at Sew Not My Day. Hi Val!

My daughter's blog/business site can be found HERE.

She has such a creative eye!

Monday, July 02, 2012

What I've Been Reading

Hello everyone! We had a quick trip up to the Twin Cities this weekend to spend time with DH's family. His brother's family from Texas is there visiting their family, so we made time to have the sibs gather at his sister's home. What a treat! Of course, I got home feeling like I had not had enough time with my dear SIL, Ann. Ah well....we'll just have to go back again, right?

I've been doing quite a bit of reading this summer. (It helps that it's much too hot for me to spend time outdoors doing things like letterboxing or geocaching!)

I am loving my Nook Color! Especially since I discovered how easy it is to borrow books on it from the library. I don't even have to leave the house. (That's a WIN/WIN on these days with the heat index over 100*F!)

Some of what I've read I've done for book club. Others have just been of my own choosing. I read "The Things We Do For Love" by Kristen Hannah. Then I checked out "The Bone Collector" by Jeffery Deaver from the library on my Nook. That was a very dramatic, and slightly gory read! (I believe they made it into a movie. Perhaps I'll have to see about getting it to compare to the book.) If there are any sequels to this novel, I would definitely read them!

Another book I read was "The Book of Lost Things" by John Connolly. I admit I was disappointed by this one. It was VERY predictable and turned out exactly as I thought it would from the beginning.

The book I just finished over the weekend is "My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey" by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.

I saw Dr. Taylor speak on a TED talk and knew I wanted to read the book which would expand what I heard there. WOW! What an amazing story! At age 37, she had rare AVM type stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. She remained aware of what was happening to her throughout the stroke and shares the experience. Her right hemisphere helped her to experience a spiritual connection to the universe which many people, myself included, might envy. The end of her book talks about getting back to that place of connection following her amazing recovery from the stroke. She talks about ways that each of us, without having a stroke, can engage that part of our brains that is open to the larger picture/greater good.

I found this book very inspiring. I think I will even make it my choice for my other book club which meets again in the fall!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Photo Safari

There are some beauties growing in my neighborhood that put a smile in my heart every time I drive by them. (And since they're right on the main route home, I see them several times each day!)

A lady two blocks away planted these all along the edge of her property and the alley. A whole glorious row of amazing colors!

Monday, June 04, 2012


It's been a busy, busy time for me. We got the youngest graduated and are so proud of his accomplishments. I can't believe I'm at that point in life with both kids out of K-12. Now we get him ready to head off to college.

The end of the school year was a blur for me. We ended reading groups, did leveling, then spent two weeks going through record keeping and book room inventory. That last bit was painful only in that I would have much rather had more time actually helping the kids! (Although they did get pretty goofy those last two weeks!)

So, our last day was last Friday, June 1. (We were making up snow days.) I must say that the "bump" process was not fun. Despite having received two excellent reviews from both my principal and the district, everyone still had to endure the bump meeting. Because one of the buildings in the district is being repurposed, all their staff were displaced. Several of them are coming to the building where I work. And I just happened to be low-man on the totem pole...thanks only to having the lowest last 4 digits of my social security number. (4 of us signed contracts the same day. 3 of us were bumped. The tie breaker is your social security number. Not your education level. Not your job performance reviews. Just a random number.)

I have picked up work with the local newspaper again, doing copy and taking photos for the advertising department. I've been working on a Regional Visitors Guide for them. The photo above is of Lake Cornelia near Clarion, Iowa. It was actually taken by my DD who enjoys going out to take pictures. There are a few other special sections coming up that will keep me busy over the summer.

I'll try to keep up a better posting rate over the next few months. Perhaps it will help me establish a better habit for when the school year begins again in August!

Monday, March 19, 2012

On the Road

Took a road trip today . . . can you guess where I went? Here's the first hint:

Any guesses? I suppose this isn't really fair as this lamp could be just about anywhere and in any number of venues. How about if I widen out the shot for you?

Now what do you think? Is there a bit more context for you to make a guess? Perhaps you'd like to see something from the exterior of the place I visited. Ok, here you go:

Think you might be on to something? Sensing a theme? style? Let me widen the shot for you again.

That's right! You've guessed that this might be a Frank Lloyd Wright building. But which one? where?

This is Wright's Historic Park Inn and City National Bank building in Mason City, Iowa. The structure has been fully restored with the bank having been converted to the ballroom for the hotel. It is amazing! We were able to visit the first floor level with the lobby and ballroom as well as the lower level which houses a lovely bar and pool lounge. (more photos to come later!)

While in Mason City, we also drove over to the other Frank Lloyd Wright building in town, the Stockman House which is in Wright's classic Prairie Style.

Unfortunately, the home will not be opening for tours for several more weeks. (No one expects summer-like temperature this early in March!) Thus, we were unable to tour or take photos of the interior.

We also enjoyed some other stops on the way, but I shall save those for another day. So happy to be on spring break this week!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Healthy Living

We are on a kick here towards better eating. (Some of the elders have recently had cholesterol checks....and are trying to better our numbers!) To that end, DD has been helping out with finding recipes for foods on the "good" list, making menus, shopping, etc. We came up with a delicious salmon meal cooked in parchment packets in the oven the other night.

She shot this photo while we were prepping the packets to go into the oven. The recipe is from this month's Everyday Cooking. We will keep this on the list of things we would make again, with a couple of slight modifications. First, we'd slice the oranges much thinner and put only a couple in each packet. (Also, I think I would try to go for the sweetest oranges I could find, not necessarily the cheapest....especially since we would not need to buy 3 as the recipe calls for.)

Secondly, instead of placing thin strips of fresh ginger on the packets (which were a real "punch" in the mouth to those who weren't expecting them!), I think we would add just a hint of fresh ginger, ground or even a pinch of ground ginger from the spice rack.

The weather has been unseasonably warm here the past few days with temperatures hovering near the 80*F mark.

I don't think I'll be turning on the oven tonight!

Thanks for sharing your photo with me Amanda! If you'd like to see more of her work, check out my DD's blog at!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

How Can It Be March Already?

It doesn't seem like it has been over a month (and more like 6 weeks!) since I posted! How did that happen?

I hope a nice photo from Ada Hayden park in Ames, Iowa will begin the making-it-up-to-you process. It was nearly 70*F today, so we hit the road and took in some sunshine.


Friday, January 27, 2012


If you've seen the comments to my last post, then you will have noticed that my friend Val over at Sew Not My Day tagged me! (I'm trying not to dwell on the fact that I spent the entire 2nd Grade lunch doing my duty with fingers crossed on both hands to avoid any "cheese touches" or cooties (either the boy or girl variety: both seemed to be going around today!) and the vague sense that this fact should exempt me from having been tagged.....but I'm a good sport, so I will play nicely!)

Rules: Post these rules. (check.)

You must post 11 random things about yourself. (check.)
Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post. (check.)
Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
Go to their blog and tell them that you've tagged them.
No stuff in the tagging section about "you are tagged if you are reading this." Legitimately tag 11 people!!

Eleven Random Facts About Yours Truly

1. I prefer to have the t.p. in my biffy come out over the TOP of the roll.
2. I listen to NPR in my car.
3. My favorite color growing up was yellow.
4. I have been known to sneak chocolate chips out of the cupboard.
5. My children call our guest room "The Yarn Room." This may mean I have a hoarding problem when it comes to fiber.
6. Fourth grade was one of my favorite years during school.
7. I recently went to a giant used book sale with the express purpose of finding a favorite childhood series, All-of-a-Kind Family.
8. I watch Ice Road Truckers (And my favorite driver is Alex K.).
9. I also watch Ghost Hunters.
10. I like rainy days.
11. My OCD wants to know why this is a list of 11 things instead of the more standard list of 10?

Questions Val Asked Which I Am To Answer

1) What was the name of your favorite pet growing up?
2) Have you ever been arrested and why?
No, but I have had some tickets for speeding!
3) What was the name of your kindergarten teacher?
Mrs. Kholoff
4) If you only had an avocado, cream cheese and chocolate bar, what would you do with them?
Eat the avacado and plant the pit in hopes of growing more avacadoes. Put the cream cheese on the chocolate and enjoy!
5) How many cars have you owned in your lifetime?
7, I think!
6) Are you on a diet?
Ummmm.....going to plead the 5th on this one.
7) Do you drink pop and if so, what kind is your favorite?
Diet Dr. Pepper....seriously!!
8) What kind of cell phone do you own? if any?
OLD Verizon. Very basic. Unsmart. But purple!
9) What size shoe do you wear?
Oddly enough, the same size as the number of this question!
10) Do you decorate for Valentine's Day?
I did when the kids were small. Now I only do in my classroom at school.
11) Do you have your summer vacation planned already?
Sadly, yes. We are planning not to do one this year, other than a couple long weekends or a day trip here and there.

This is the part where I am supposed to write up questions for the people I am tagging to answer. I've kind of lost track of most of the people/blogs I used to follow, so I don't think I have 11 people I could tag. Instead, I am going to break the rules and not post new questions or tag people. (Sorry Val!)

Have a great day and weekend everyone!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Snow Days

I've been experiencing my first snow days from the staff perspective of the school system. Dare I say, I still kind of like them??!! (We'll see if I still feel that way when I'm off to school in June!)

At the risk of totally jinxing my chances of winning (which, who am I kidding....were slim to none in the first place!) I'd like to show you all my next home.

Yes, it's gorgeous, isn't it? It's located near Park City, UT. I should find out in roughly 3 weeks exactly when we get to take possession of the 2012 Dreamhouse. I can't wait!

In knitting news, I am currently working on both a pair of socks (cute pink/brown/cream colorway from Lorna's Laces) and some leg warmers (KnitPicks Bare hand-dyed by my friend Kathleen in CA) for DD.

In photography news, DD is getting into wedding photography! She's working with a friend from church and former fellow Target employee who now owns a wedding planning business. DD has 2 weddings already booked. Yesterday we were working on making up the contract she will use with couples, interview checklists, etc. She meets with her first clients this week! It's very exciting and I know she is going to do such a GREAT job!! Her photography and editing skills continually amaze me. She's really good, and I'm not just saying that because I'm her mother!

Well, I suppose I'd better go do the dishes. After all, I guess I'm going to have to put this house on the market once I win the new one!!

Have a great day, and Happy Knitting/Shooting!