Monday, December 31, 2007

HAPPY 2008!

It is an hour before midnight here in the midwest and I wanted to post a wedding photo as part of my greeting, but it will have to wait. Sylmon and I were married 13 years ago today. At 2pm on New Year's Eve. Happy New Year to you all!

Monday, December 24, 2007


From our gingerbread house to yours!
*********************************************From Sylmon, Nathalie, Victoria, Seth and Rebecca

Monday, December 17, 2007

Playing in a Winter Wonderland

Tonka trucks are always in season for Seth .

Lucy wants someone to toss her deflated football so she can frollick in the snow...

Rebecca eating snow off of her mittens.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Cards

Have you received any cards in the mail? Up until Dec. 9, I hadn't. On the 10th, a promising envelope arrived, but it was just an obligatory card from a car dealership thanking us for our business. No heartfelt, Christmas cards from friends and relatives. Is sending cards a dying art? A victim of high postage rates and cheaper to send e-cards? Absolutely! And I can't say that I have helped the cause to preserve the tradition. Until yesterday. While the kids whined, "I'm-bored-I'm-bored-I'm-bored", I made several trips up and down the stairs from my studio, hauling down promising papers and bits of things to transform into greetings at the dining room table (the only surface big enough to spread out on). This year I am jumping on the glitter band wagon and sparkling up cards, ignoring the fact that my glue stick is getting imbedded with shiny bits. "Too much is never enough" is my motto for making cards this year. The brighter, the shinier, the more layered. The better! My son joined me in making one card, and Rebecca (3 yrs old) glittered and stamped until I encouraged her to go play somewhere else. (Yes, I am a bad mom, but I can only tolerate so much chaos). My oldest daughter (Victoria, 11) was too busy with her Nintendogs to care about cards (if only our St. Bernard, Lucy, got as much attention as those virtual dogs!). To Victoria's defense, I should say that she loves to write cards and letters to friends, but gets few responses, so she does not feel encouraged to send out Christmas cards, hand made or otherwise. Me, I will mail out cards not expecting a response. The point is, that you have heard from me!

I created with images cut from Victorian themed giftwrap (Vintage Hallmark bought at the thrift store), a little bit of stamping, a little bit of vintage trims, a little bit of paper (from a dwindling stash) and more images from a catalog, Victorian Papers. And gold stars (teachers' reward stars)- I love using them! Everything is shinier and brighter with gold stars!!! I won't have the time to make enough cards to cover my whole entire mailing list this year, but hopefully all of my creative friends (plus a few RAK'd folks) will get a hand made gem. Just be warned that you may need to vacuum after opening!

Now, off to the post office!

Monday, December 10, 2007

We Won Second Place!

We found out last Wednesday night that we had won second place for our lights! A Christmas tree- shaped sign with "2nd place" was left in our yard. First prize went to neighbors down the street who had a Santa figure on their porch, grapevine reindeer on the roof, greenery over every window and a wreath hanging in each window too and all was tastefully lit up to accent the daytime decor. I heard that the judges were impressed with how neat and straight our lights were hung. What did our family do with our winnings ($50)? Donated it to the town's collection for the less fortunate. We are suddenly blessed financially here at year's end and can surely spare the money we wouldn't have had otherwise. God is good. It's easy to share the wealth when you have a rich Heavenly Father!

We had a "unique" time at the Corder town Christmas party last Friday. When I picked up Rebecca from the sitter, Rebecca was complaining of a stomach ache. We could see she was feeling puny, but forged ahead. At the party she wanted to lay down, be cuddled and didn't eat anything and then just before the rest of us finished eating she heaved up the contents of her little stomach TWICE! How can so much come out of someone so little?! I spent the remainder of the evening, seated in a chair close by the bathroom holding Rebecca and staying on the alert for new developements (there were two before the evening was over). Seth and Victoria visited with Santa (the real deal with natural wiskers and glasses he really uses to see with) and they brought Rebecca a treat bag and stuffed animal. I was not happy with their pictures- my husband knows how to use the zoom (!), so I don't understand the poor cropping. Therefor, I am still searching for the perfect "kids" photo to reproduce for Christmas mass mailing. Yes, I could go to Walmart and get a posed picture, but that would be too easy (and too mainstream). No, I have to make things difficult for myself.

Needless to say, I was up half the night Friday with a child who was thirsty, but could not keep Sprite down for more than 10 minutes. Thankfully, no one else in our family has been sick with the stomach flu. And hopefully, no one will be.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Tour Continues

Tonight our tiny town's Christmas house lights will be judged. Hope we win first prize ($100!), but we have seen a lot of competition since we've first decorated our house (the week before Thanksgiving). My son (Seth, 8) philosophically said he would be happy if we won second or third (each $50 prizes). ;) Winners are announced this Friday night at the Corder Christmas Party- at the VFW Hall at the junction of Hwys V and 20 (in case you are in the neighborhood and can stop by!) Santa will be there with treat bags for the kids. I will post pictures later. In the mean time, here's another festive blog for you to visit. Thrifty Miss Prissy . I love her twinkling tree! Also see my previous post for a couple more blogs to "tour"!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Christmas Blog Tour

I have started to collect links to blogs decorated for the holidays so those, like me(!), who love Christmas homes tours, can get a virtual Christmas tour on-line!
If you, or a favorite blog you know, has a wonderful Christmasy color scheme, music or banner, post me the link and I will add it to my tour list. I have a very short list so far, but am hopeful it will grow. Enjoy!
The photos I've posted are of our house. This is our first year displaying lights like my husband has always wanted to. He plans to add to it every year. More lights. Maybe some figures. But definitely more lights! We live on a corner and our house can be seen from all sides so the icicle lights hang from the eaves ALL the way around the house. I have to remind myself that there are extension cords lying in the grass when I go out into the front yard!

Made In Heaven (check out the angel!)
Maude and Mozart

Sunday, November 25, 2007

We Need a Little Christmas

Because we NEED a little Christmas

Right this very minute,

Candles in the windows,

Carols on the spinnette....

I've heard that tune on the radio already 3 times and it's not past Thanksgiving weekend. The days will be flying now as we count down to The Day, so I thought I had better decorate my blog a little like we decked out our living room yesterday. Nothing brings holiday cheer like the color RED! And if you are in need of some new festive rubber stamps, check out my ebay auctions. :) I have lots of stamps up for auction right now and will be adding more tomorrow. Every purchase comes wrapped and personalized with extras. I can't help myself. 'Tis the season!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Altered Moravian Stars

I have found instructions on-line! Look here. I cut my strips 5/8" wide (just a hair over a half an inch) and kept the length of the hymnal book's page. For the on-line instructions, stop at the end of page 2 and snip off extra ends. Unless you want to do a dimensional star.

I wanted to wait to post my latest project to include instructions, but a cantankerous computer and a too busy 3 year old is keeping me from it. Hopefully soon. These are based on a Moravian star without the third dimension and I used old, yellowed hymnal pages so there is a patchwork effect with a little bit of numbers, a little bit of musical notes and a lot of lettering. Vintage buttons dress them up. Wouldn't it be incredible to cover a whole tree with these? They make great package tie ons and are flat enough to slip into a Christmas card (for those who still send them!) I will try to post instructions very soon or find a link for you, so you can make your own. I made 6 of them yesterday while visiting with a friend, so as projects go, these stars travel well. I made these for a recent Christmas open house and they sold well. Someone asked for instructions so that's what started me thinking about writing some down with photo illustrations of some of the steps. Time, time, time. Where are you?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Suddenly Autumn

Thank you all for your kind words, prayers and concern as I have grieved over my sister Anne. Your support has been a huge comfort.

While my husband and I were in Detroit for my sister's funeral, Autumn arrived in Misssouri. For real. We came home to find that the large maple in our backyard had shed itself all over the grass. Leaves had blown and collected against the chain link fence.
Today was the first day of Deer Season (rifle) so Hubby and Son woke early to go shoot Bambi while the girls and I hung out at home. Rebecca gladly posed for a photo (above) while Victoria did everything in her power to avoid my lens and succeeded. Our guys came home empty handed while a friend they were hunting with got an 8 point buck. Tomorrow is another early day as the men head out to try again. Today I did laundry and supervised kids playing outside, but tomorrow I hope to do some art-ing or mix up cookie dough. Maybe both. I had hoped to take part in a holiday open house next weekend, but have nothing to show for it. I have some Thanksgiving rubber stamps and vintage place cards I need to post on ebay too before it's too late. *sigh* What keeps me going these days is drinking pots of tea. Celestial Seasonings "India Spiced Chai" with milk and sweetener. The essence of Autumn and a comforting drink!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Little Something

My newest zine, hot off the press. "A Little Something ZINE" is a small zine full of small things- charms, postage stamps and inchies, all reproduced actual sized. Comes with a matchbox full of actual charms, postage and inchie blanks, as well as a template for creating a matchbox "cozy".
An unplanned detail was dedicating the project to the memory of my sister Anne. She was brutally stabbed to death this past Monday. Finishing the zine was very cathartic for me. Please be praying for my husband and I as we fly to Detroit for the funeral this weekend and for my family as we deal with the shock and grief. I am the oldest of 4 surviving siblings (a brother and 2 sisters). Anne was my second from youngest sister, only aged 36, and has left 4 kids ages 6- 13. It is horrific for us all. We strongly believe her ex-husband (the kids' father) did the heinous act. He is still at large, in Ohio now, driving her van and using her credit cards. He has done nothing to cover his tracks so it's only a matter of time before he is apprehended.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Trick or TREAT!

Happy Halloween fellow bloggers! Email me your address and I will send you a treat! Really! Could be yellowed dictionary pages for collage, a charm, some fiber, vintage postage or whatever happens to pop into view when I open a box or drawer. Could be all of the above. I love to share my stash!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Me in Junior High circa 1976 and then a photo 12 or so years later where I am hostessing a wedding shower in my lovely antiques and clutter filled first home. Um, er, no current photo available. heehee.

I have been tagged by Nita (thank YOU!). I am supposed to list 7 weird, random, and or interesting facts about myself and then tag 7 other bloggers to do the same.

I will be honest and say that these are mostly reprinted from when I was tagged over a month ago and I was such a new blogger then that I know my dear, loyal, got-me-started-blogging, friend Linda was probably the only one to ever read my list, so I am pulling it out of my archive vault back into daylight!

1. I was born in Louvaine, Belgium. To an American mother and an Australian father.

2. I was a "boat child". Crossed the Atlantic when I was about 1 year old.

3. I married a Thompson, but my maiden name is Bakunovich. Pronounced like it's spelled! The weird thing is, people still ask me how to spell Thompson! With an "h" and a "p"?

4. Weird: I have a dimple in my right hand pinky finger, right under the nail. I've always had it. When I was a kid, I wondered if a doctor had stuck me with a needle when I was born and it healed badly.

5. I have met Martha Stewart, dined with Joan Walsh Anglund, have a picture drawn by Chuck Jones, signatures from Jim Davis, Mr. Rogers, Sam Butcher, Friz Freleng, lunched with Mary Englebreit, and attended workshops with Marjolein Bastin; just to name a few, all while working at Hallmark Cards, Inc. as an artist.

6. I love the lingering smell of marigolds on my hands after I deadhead the spent blooms. Likewise, I also love the smell of tomatoe plants, basil, dill and lavender. Oh, and sage brush! All intoxicating scents to me. (deep breath, exhale) Aaaaaaaaaah.

7. Oh, "interesting": English was not my first language.

Can't wait to read your weird/random/interesting facts!

Friday, October 19, 2007

DAK: Deliberate Act of Kindness

A bookmark for a friend. I love sending out fun mail as much as I love receiving it. Maybe even more! Especially to someone who needs encouragement.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Art Lessons

Rebecca and I painted this pumpkin yesterday. Well I painted the pumkin and then showed her how to spatter paint. MISTAKE! Really, WHAT was I thinking? She spattered the coffee table (where we were working) the floor (thank God for hardwood) and would have spattered the dog if Lucy hadn't been outside enjoying the sunny day. Thank goodness it was water color. Rebecca also added the finger painted details. We did 2 more paintings together, then I left her alone and she did one more using nothing but BLACK paint, then spilled the can of water and then we were DONE. The water spill cleaned up the spattered paint. Really, it's a wonder I am a creative person at all because I am SO uptight about messes! LOL

Monday, October 15, 2007


I practically gave this vintage hanky away on ebay, after subtracting my fees from too low an opening bid, but I am hoping the appreciative recipient will not just keep it tucked away in an underwear drawer, like I did, but USE it! Really, doesn't this gorgeous hanky just make you think of blustery days and breathtaking colors in the trees and crunchy leaves under foot and the smell of wood smoke in the air and drinking hot beverages (spiced chai or amaretto coffee)? I love to walk bare headed, but bundled up in a wool sweater and scarf so my hair gets mangled by the wind, my cheeks tingle from the chilly air and yet my body is toasty warm. What stirs your senses at this time of year?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More of Rebecca's Toes

Rebecca makes "shoes" on a regular basis using blue painters' tape. This time she let me take a picture. Normally the tape wraps a couple times around the instep and she has me lace them around her ankles like ballet slippers. The game only lasts a couple minutes and then she tears off her creations.
Do I hear Prada calling?


I love sewing boxes and tins of buttons, because they are unwitting time capsuls for domestic divas of a bygone era. Pictured: what I found among the buttons in a rusted cookie tin other relatives did not see worthy to keep for themselves. Thank you God for the vision to see beauty in what others cast off! Yeah, the buttons were pretty wonderful too (after a good washing), but it's the other bonus bits that get me excited. The old keys that once locked up something important, the glazed clay marble that belonged to Uncle Larry when he was a kid, the 1953 wheat penny that never got spent because it was forgotten among the buttons and (now) rusted brads that Grandpa dumped into the tin because it was handy.

At other times I have found paper pillboxes holding collar buttons, a deck of well worn cards, fragile corked "test tubes" of tiny buttons, tattered books of rusted needles (never used) and a beautifully lithographed matchbook. What does my sewing box say about me? Bone crochet hooks only used for repairing snagged sweaters (no time for crocheting), small unicorn decorated tin with pushpins (forgotten), packet of large needles once bought for teddy bear making (now unused), a couple of bundles of elastic (?), gold plated stork scissors I can't bear to part with because they are pretty, but I also don't use them and similiar "treasures" that are entombed for someone to discover when I am pushing up daisies. Don't even get me started on my sewing machine cabinet! I am a sucker for spools of thread in colors I may or may not use, but buy at estate sales because of the wooden spools and beautiful metallic paper labels, scraps of gold lame', batting, Wonder Under, cut up dresser scarf (only part of the embroidered design was used) all stuffed away. All forgotten because I have moved on to other projects.

Can't throw them out though. They may be useful someday. If not to me, then someone else. :)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Good Day Shopping

Well, after hearing many stories about my thrift store treasures found for a pittence, Amy decided she needed to experience my favorite shops for herself. So yesterday, she arrived with her son, Max (9), and Susan, a mutual thriftshopoholic friend of ours. Their ETA was noon-ish, so I made sure to greet them with food. We feasted on spaghetti tossed with olive oil and dressed with fresh basil, cherry tomatoes (both still growing on my garden) and parmeson cheese. YUM! Glasses of Baltimore Bend's "Last Minute" red wine fortified us for the serious bargain hunting we had ahead of us. I had decided to do some "warm up" shopping before their arrival so I went to Mahnken's and found this lovely birth month angel (50 cents). Probably a lid to a trinket box (now broken), I liked that she came solo. It will be fun to find a sugar bowl or something for her to sit on, but in the mean time she is happily perched inside a teacup in my china cabinet. She may even remain a "teacup fairy".

Mahnken's was closed when we set off shopping, so it was off to Higginsville to the Classic Shop. While Amy hunted down every flower pot and Susan glommed onto a vintage waffle iron (thinking ebay resale) I found this wonderful little glass vile (10 cents!) and my Absolutely Fabulous hand bag for a whole quarter(!) I found a pair of gold toned shoes, but alas, they were too small. Something to hunt for in the future. :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


We went to a wedding last weekend under protest. My sister-in-law and ex-brother-in-law were retying the knot, after being divorced from each other for 3 years. Last Friday, we had to take our kids out of school, drive a good 3 hours down to Branson, MO to attend a 5:30pm wedding in the Wilderness Chapel in Steal Your Dollar, er Silver Dollar City. ;) My husband thinks his sister is an idiot for remarrying the man who made her miserable enough to divorce him the first time and I think she's making a big mistake too. Although I would like her to prove us all wrong. She has a lot of work ahead of her, being that the groom has become more self centered in the 3 years of bachlorhood he enjoyed immensely and has made few friends in his professional dealings.

That's the surface of my mudslinging. The REAL issues are deeper.

I was wondering, 3 days after the wedding, WHY was I so torn up over them getting married. I mean, their union won't effect me a hill of beans' worth, except that I have to be polite at family gatherings. Last night it hit me. I was JEALOUS! No, I don't have the hots for my broth-in-law. Heaven forbid! No, I am jealous and angry, and hurt even, that my husband and I have stuck it out for almost 13 years for richer (when I had a job), for poorer (when we filed bankruptcy because of a failed business venture), in sickness (when we were just sick of each other) and in health (the birth of 3 kids and all that entails) and there are no kudos for it. Meanwhile my sister-in-law gets married for the 3rd time and there is a big ol' woop de doo for her.

Why is marriage valued so little, and getting married given top prize? Really, it makes me want to throw in the towel and say, "I quit". But I won't. I can't. I couldn't live with myself if I did. I am committed to my husband, come what may. And he is committed to me (although he has often thrown up his hands and said, "I'm DONE!"). He comes around. :) We take our wedding vows seriously, especially the part about, "What God has joined together, let no man [woman] put asunder". We may be old fashioned fools. We may be viewed as oddities, but we plug along. And recently my husband has said that he is falling in love with me all over again. Do you know what it does to you (as a woman) when a man desires you? Well, I glow, for one thing! We are getting our second wind. And there are people looking on with envy. Wishing they had that kind of committed relationship, or could find one. My husband has friends that ask him how it is that we stay married (because they can't get it straight themselves). He tells them, "I don't know". The real answer is simple. It's God. God's grace. We are committed to the vow we took before God and God equips us with what we need to get through a crisis and the unconditional love it takes to keep two headstrong individuals cemented together. Some people do it without God, but I don't know how. Some people call themselves "Christian" and still divorce. Free Will, baby. God can't FORCE two people to stay together is they are determined not to be.

In the ceremony last Friday the minister said, "Marriage is an honorable state ordained by God and is not to be gone into lightly, but soberly..." I am paraphrasing a little, but anyone who has been to more than one wedding (or seen one in a movie!) knows the litany like the Miranda rights. Anyway, I felt a tight knot during that part of the ceremony. Are they taking the words to heart? Are they going to go the distance this time? Are they going to love each other more, forgive more and sacrifice more than they did the last time? I hope to God they do.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Trash to Treasure

I have to share about what I literally picked up from the side of the road. Someone had put out unwanted items by their drive with the sign, "FREE". Well, I can't pass up that kind of deal, so I screeched my car to a halt and helped myself. This "shelf" was full of dead spiders and the inside was lined with moth eaten gold colored felt (lovely!). I pulled off the back, scraped the felt off, collaged on some old book pages (to lighten the inside and make the cubbies interesting), cleaned out the dust and spiders and now it houses my most often used rubber stamps, some ink pads, and misc. A couple of old boxes slide right in as drawers. LOVE IT! Best trash picking in weeks! My husband joked about how I will probably take a picture of it and email my trophy around to friends. So of course I had to post about it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Party Time!

Well, I got my dresses done! I HAD to make two. I dreamt about their designs last night. Really! One HAD to be Parisian, featuring my favorite icon with the enigmatic smile. The other HAD to be Asian (because I obsessively collect Asian rubber stamps I have yet to use!) The Asian shift is for the cocktail hour. Eb, may I have a paper umbrella and a tall, slim glass for my raspberry wine?

My Parisian number is for twirling and swirling (notice the full skirt). I plan to drink and dance until I can't feel my feet anymore. Okay, so maybe I will stop after one drink (I am a cheap drunk), but keep dancing! Barefoot! I'm sure Rebecca will join me for dancing. She likes to wear two dresses at once because two dresses twirl and swirl better than one! And I have to give a public thank you to Linda who RAK'd me with the lovely hanger when I boo-hooed about not having one (like everyone else) for this wonderful event. It was completely unexpected and such a kind and thoughtful thing to do. What a friend! I'm sure she would give me the dress off of her back if I could just squeeze into it!
Speaking of lovely dresses that don't fit, I have two that need someone to wear and appreciate them. You can see them here and here. The first has gorgeous sequined chrysthanamums on the bodice (goes with this whole harvest moon party theme) and the second is a cute little retro vintage looking ensemble. I would love for a couple of fellow bloggers to have them!

Making Dresses

Have you heard about about the cyberspace party? Party crashers are welcome. Although if you show up, you will be considered a guest. :) Learn all about it here. Be there Octover 26 (tomorrow)! I am just now making my dresses. Okay, if ONE gets done, I will be happy, but I am planning for two. See you there!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Overcoming Mountains

I overcame my mountain sized fear of my girlie little Black and Decker drill (Dremmel sized mole hill) and drilled a hole in a dominoe for a charm, just like that. [Snapping fingers to illustrate how easy it was!] I thought I needed a vise to hold the dominoe or whatever I was drilling and that the speed would be so fast that I had to fear for my fingers. NOT SO! It drills at granny speed and is perfect for my spontaneous creative brainstorms. Just left a tiny dimple in my computer desk -my all purpose work surface. :) This charm is hanging off of a RAK to Nita. Yeah, I might be giving away a surprise, but I want others to know who she is and what she is going through.

Random Acts in the Mail

I've had GREAT mail arriving in my PO box lately! Above, this fabulous garland from Linda. I will keep it up all year round- it works for all seasons (love the colors!). It's hanging on the faux mantle in my studio.

From Chris, a wonderful collection of 12 tags with a cleverly illustrated scripture for each month. She said she made up 30 of these bunches for RAKing! From Donna K.- a beautiful folio of "change" scriptures, postage stamps from her trip to Bulgaria and a beautiful, lovely charm. The charm needs a special chain all by itself. I am all loved up!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


While the farmers around here are harvesting corn, I thought I would do my own gathering in. I collected seeds from my marigolds (I love their smell!), morning glories and zinnias.

Come January or so when I am between major holiday projects (I can dream, can't I?) I will make decorated seed packets to RAK to friends and family in the spring. I don't have Christmas 2007 wrapped up yet, but I have provisions for the Spring of 2008!

Monday, September 10, 2007


I went to the Classic Shop again, on Saturday, this time with the kids and while they rummaged through toys, I noticed the shop's large collection of frames, as if for the first time. I walked away with 2 grocery bags full, whereas the kids were disappointed to only have found one toy each that they were willing to plunk down their coins for (I was amazed!) Because I am notorious for bringing home, "junk", I vowed to myself that I would DO something with my new "treasures" and as it happened, Rebecca fell asleep in the car on the drive home (Divine intervention for sure!)

While Rebecca napped for over an hour and the older kids were self occupied, I got busy with furniture polish, metal fly screening, mini brads and vintage photos and created these 3 gems. I delivered them today to my good friend Liz to sell in her shop. She is getting a table at Higginsville's fall festival this coming weekend and plans to take my pieces along. I hope to make a few more things for her to sell.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Toe Rings

I am diligently writing ebay auctions this morning to post tonight when Rebecca comes dancing into my studio sporting her green velvet dress-up dress (once worn by older sister Victoria) and creative footwear, er TOE wear. How cute is THAT? I laugh every time I see this picture! Glad I took the picture quick, because a few minutes later she had shed her toe rings and was frollicking, once again, au naturelle.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Classic Shop

I didn't go yesterday, so I had to go today and look what I found!!! Five little bottles, corks intact (and removable) @10 cents. I left a price tag on to prove it. Varigated sewing thread in my favorite golden shades, 25 cents. Card of seam bias lace, 10 cents (I have a box full, but can't resist another purchase- it was only a DIME, come on!) The bottles will be altered and sent out as RAKs if I don't keep one or two for myself. I will be sure to post the transformation.

I have to explain the Classic Shop, because it is AMAZING as thrift stores go. To quote from my zine, "64021" (see sidebar), "Run by an ecumenical group of volenteers, the Classic Shop appears to be just another thrift store, but I consider it my treasure cave. The ladies dutifully put everything out for sale, odds and ends and bits of things other thrift stores would throw out... " And I find amazing things for dimes or free (sometimes they will throw an item into the bag and say, "just have it". Yet, I have been told several times that they make their rent, utlilties ad insurance payments and STILL have money to give back to the community. The school once called The Classic Shop about financing a pair of glasses for a little boy whose parents couldn't afford them. The Classic Shop did. I can support that. Often at the checkout counter I say, "keep the change".

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


What could be more lavish than using REAL butterfly wings in your artwork? I have run across more expired butterflies this year than most and carefully scoop them up to use in art. My kids will even spot them for me (they know my fascination and they love butterflies too). Worn and tattered doesn't matter to me. They are beautiful in any condition.
This ATC was made almost completely out of RAK'd (to me) materials- from the Golden Glazed background paper to the Victorian child, to the dictionary words. I just added the vintage postage stamp and wings. It will be flying off as a RAK to someone else today

Saturday, September 1, 2007


I was tagged one post ago, but have been sitting on this one. Linda (thank YOU!) tagged me and I am supposed to list 6 interesting or weird things about myself, then I am supposed to tag 6 other people. I'll start with my list and maybe tag later.

1. I was born in Louvaine, Belgium. To an American mother and an Australian father.

2. I was a "boat child". Crossed the Atlantic when I was about 1 year old (I'll have to find the picture of my mom holding me on the deck's rail).

3. I married a Thompson, but my maiden name is Bakunovich. Pronounced like it's spelled! The weird thing is, people ask me how to spell Thompson! With an "h" and a "p"?

4. Weird: I have a dimple in my right hand pinky finger, right under the nail. I've always had it. When I was a kid, I wondered if a doctor had stuck me with a needle when I was born and it healed badly.

5. I have met Martha Stewart, dined with Joan Walsh Anglund, have a picture drawn by Chuck Jones, signatures from Jim Davis, Mr. Rogers, Sam Butcher, Fritz Freleng, lunched with Mary Englebreit, and attended workshops with Marjolein Bastin; just to name a few, all while working at Hallmark Cards, Inc. as an artist.

6. Oh, "interesting": English was not my first language.

Now I will tag LaRinda and maybe muster up the courage to tag more.

Friday, August 31, 2007

I slaved over creating ebay auctions tonight after taking the summer off. I am selling LOTS of rubber stamps, but will also be disposing of vintage fabrics, costume jewelry (including one lot for arting) and old stuff I accumulated during my hiatus from selling. The link is under "Armchair Travel" in my sidebar, right below Rebecca, my mischevious cutie-pain-in-the-patootie.

FYI ebay sellers: there is a special running for the month of September- free listing if you use a gallery photo and start your auction at $9.99 and below. I am SO taking advantage of THAT!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mahnken's Farm Supply

After visiting the post office this morning, Rebecca led me the long way home, towards Mahnken's Farm Supply. Once a thriving Sentry hardware store, "Mahnken's" is now, what I affectionately call, a "junque shop". Mr. Maknken is widowed 12 years or so, loves to shop auctions (bids on box lots no one else will and the auctioneers love him for it!) and resells his finds in his hardware store. He told me once that keeping the store costs him money, but having it open from 8am until 11:30-ish, Monday- Saturday gives him a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I guess on Sundays, church gets him out of bed. His store has long been a place for the local "ancients" to meet and jaw at the back and Mr. Maknken enjoys the regular company.

I hadn't been to the store in at least 6 months since Rebecca has become so curious, head strong and gets into everything (see over feeding fish episode in following entry). Mahnken's is dirty, cluttered and items are often precariously stacked. If I have to watch her like a hawk, I can't be shopping! Today I thought I would risk it. Mostly, I wanted to say "hi". Let Mr. M. know that I hadn't abandoned him. When I enquired about "new merchandise", Mr. M. waved his hand about and said, "it's spread around". Yikes! I didn't have that much time to browse! But after a quick glance at the front of the store, I followed Rebecca (like a hawk) into the annex, after Mr. M instructed me to turn on the light- he doesn't heat, cool or illuminate anything he doesn't have to. I wasn't expecting to find anything "new", but after being disappointed by some beautiful, but cracked, Austrian china teacups (they had looked promising from far away), I stumbled across these lovely, old dip pens. One has a rusted nib and the painted wooden handle is slightly warped and the red paint is cracked and flaked off. Its mate once had a magenta plastic handle, but has faded unevenly to ivory and pink in places. It's stuff like this that calls my name. It's a mystery to my in-laws who have a hard time buying gifts for me. lol Soon after, I found this very pretty English china teacup- for Amy. She admires how I serve her tea in teacups and apologizes for serving me tea in her sturdy mugs. This teacup had a Madame Souzuska look about it and best of all, the saucer matched and there were no cracks or chips (really a miracle in Maunken's shop sometimes). I couldn't quibble with the price either.

When I brought my finds up to the counter, Mr. M. said with satisfaction, "I knew you would find something!" I must be his best customer. The pens were unmarked, so we agreed on $1 for both and while he wrapped the teacup and saucer in an antiques trade paper (very boring reading I found later and I like antiques), I let him know that I only have $2 because I hadn't planned on stopping in. That's okay, he trusts me, he says and lets me pay him the balance tomorrow.

The Way to a Friend's House...

...Is never far.
(ATC posted is by my good friend Holly Shaw).
Yesterday I needed to go to The City to see a pedia dentist about Rebecca's cracked front tooth (a close encounter with our concrete patio) and since the appointment was for 11:30am and I was driving an hour for it, I thought I would bookend it with visiting "city" friends.

My morning visit was with my wonderful, friend Amy. I came with gifts of home made dill pickles, fresh picked tomatoes and cukes and Amish friendship bread starter. Amy had a breakfast waiting of warm butter based bisquits (she never cooks with shortening or margerine!) and organic honey and English breakfast tea and we also did some kombucha tasting (a fermented tea that tastes like hard cider or beer depending on the tea, atmospheric conditions and length of fermentation). An aquired taste, but I am convinced to try making some. It is so rich in the B vitamins, improves your skin, hair, digestion, reduces aging and all that good stuff. After too brief a visit (in which Rebecca did manage to overfed Max's beta so Amy stood at the sink spooning out fish pellets from the bowl while we continued to chat), I left with a kumbucha mushroom swimming in a mason jar and directions for making my own brew. Thanks Amy! I'll let you know how it turns out!

You meet your friend, your face brightens-- you have struck gold. ~Kassia

After Rebecca's dental visit (good news, her tooth is okay to stay in "as is"), I high tailed it to Lynne's, conscious of an hour's drive home yet and needing to meet the school bus at 3:30pm. I warned Lynne, when I called the day before, that I would only be staying for an hour because I had a tight schedule and she had enthusiastically said, "That would be perfect! I would love to see you!" I arrive at Lynne's with more tomatoes and cukes and friendship bread starter and was greeted by her kitchen table set with linens, wedding china, stemmed glasses and teacups- even Rebecca had a place set with lesser ceramic (but still breakable!) pieces. I said with a laugh, "Are you expecting someone?" tears stinging my eyes. I had been stressed about Rebecca possibly needing her tooth pulled prematurely and rushing around on a tight schedule and here Lynne had lavishly provided an oasis of peace and calm. What a blessing! What a friend! A bacon and cheese fritata came out of the oven and Lynne also had made a fruit salad and brewed up some chai tea. Heaven in the midst of a chaotic day! I was so glad I hadn't given in to Rebecca's insistant, "eat out!" every time we saw a Taco bell and McD's on the way to Lynne's. After another too brief visit, and a deep hug from Lynne, I drove home with a warm glow.

Hold a true friend with both your hands. ~Nigerian Proverb

Thank you God for such beautiful friends. Who feed and revive my spirit.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Return of Lovingkindess

There hasn't been much fun mail coming lately except for mom's letters covered with vintage postage- that is until today! A yellow card in my PO box signaled that there was stuff bigger-than-a-p.o.-box waiting for me behind the mail counter. To my surprse, it was not one, but TWO boxes! I opened the small one first, recognizing the return of the (God's) Lovingkindness book I did a page in. What a great shape and what a great colaboration book! I love Linda's cover art and tulle ribbon binding, and I have to say Jan Kessell's pages are my favorite. The "sun" page I posted is actually a second page peeking from behind a cleverly wired first page and the third page has a moon. A lot of work,
but a fabulous trio. I also posted my contribution- a meditative child (image from a vintage postcard) flanked by lace doilies. "O Lord, may your lovingkindness and truth always protect me" Psalm 40:11
Read on about box #2.