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.

RAK (Royal Act of Kindness)

I am accustomed to getting unexpected envelopes or an altered postcard in the mail, but today I got a hefty BOX from Margaret she humbly called a RAK (Random Act of Kindness). Her little Post It said she was sharing some of her stash and even offered more, if I wanted it. YIKES! Looks like she emptied half her studio and was starting again from scratch! Dictionaries, Gregg shorthand and house wiring books, a vintage Boy Scout handbook as well as an antique edition of "The Merchant of Venice" copyrighted 1880 (with yummy prose on yummier yellowed pages), plus mini wooden dominoes, mini playing cards, fibers, bottle cap and charms, hardware from 7 Gypsies, typewriter key beads from Paper Bliss and clips from collage sheets, a box of Russian language cards oh, and a hand made fabric bookmark in Margaret's signature blues and greens. Thank you doesn't seem to cover it!!!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

I Got a New Look!

I picked up my new glasses today. Do I look like a designing woman? I gave up the gold rimmed granny frames I was wearing for awhile and went for something silver and artsier. It's also my first pair of bi-focals (see the lines?) Finally! I can see fine details without taking off my glasses!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Fruit of the Spirit

Today, inspired by Angie Platten's artwork , I dug out a watercolor study I did in college (back when I lived and breathed art 24/7), added type and color correcting in Photoshop (the original scanned in shades of aubergine- yikes!) and am calling it nearly done. Just need to add something to make it tastefully chunky. I didn't alter the image, except for more intense color, because I hate to mess with such a beautiful piece of watercolor. Meanwhile the mailing date for the swap is looming.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Early Morning -The Best Time of Day!

The older kids started school yesterday (yes, we start early in Missouri!) so it's just me and Rebecca at home now. I wish I could say I had more time for creating art now, but she keeps me running! Here she is "helping" by watering a volenteer marigold. She drowns one flower while the rest wilt in the heat. Haha. She is adorable!

This morning after putting the older kids on the bus to school (and while Rebecca still slept), I went out to the garden, picked 5 cucumbers and some dill and put up 2 jars of garlic dill pickles. No vinegar involved which is why I like them. Just brine. Easy-peasy. Try it your self!

In a clean, sterile quart sized jar (I run mine through the dishwasher), pack tight with freshly sliced cucumbers (the pickling kind, not salad cukes found commonly at the grocery store), some sprigs of fresh dill and a couple cloves of garlic (I use 2 tsp. of chopped). Boil 2 cups water with 1 tblsp. salt (I use Kosher sea salt) and pour over prepared cukes. Close lid, let cool on counter then stick in the fridge. They are ready to eat in a week. If you want them to have a fermented zing, let them sit longer (2 weeks). I like mine just briney tasting without the zing. I eat them like chips (I can't eat just one). Only these dills are fat free. YUM!

No sooner did I close the lid on the second jar of cukes this morning, than Rebecca woke up. My quiet time was over.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I've Taken the First Step

With the encouragement of my friend Linda, I have started a blog.
Thanks, Linda!

I have this great rubber stamp (bought from Melanie Sage when she sold her designs on ebay) that reads,

"If you would not be forgotten as
soon as you are dead and rotten,
either write things worth reading
or do things worth writing."

I would like to think I live my life that way.
I don't live life to the extreme, but I live with purpose.
I have never been a professional teacher,
but I like to educate and inspire.
I embrace life and invite others to embrace life with me.
Consider this your invitation! :)