Saturday, October 18, 2008

Presidential Paper Dolls - how they rate

Dover Publications has a really fun item on their website:

You can purchase paper dolls of your favorite presidential candidate, Obama or McCain.
Dover also has the sales results of the presidential paper dolls, sort of like the election polls.

Just another way to look at the election and have some artistic fun at the same time.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mary - Red Cross Award

I live in Washington State and I am unable to attend the 2008 Contra Costa County Act of Kindness & Philanthropy Hero award ceremony honoring my sister, Mary Perez. I am very proud of her and the work she does to help others.

In the beginning it was hard to understand and accept that Mary was not spending all day with our family on Christmas--helping to prepare the meal, opening gifts, and just spending time with our family.

As we all became aware of the huge needs of others who have no one else to celebrate with on Christmas day, we each in our own way understood why Mary took on this project. No other group or organization was offering help to all of these people within our community and she found ways to help out. Two of my children helped with Christmas for Everyone and Mary’s other program that she ran for ten years--Teens Who Care.

I don’t think most people realize the scope of what Mary and her dedicated team of friends and volunteers actually do. It isn’t just fixing a meal for someone who is hungry or giving them a gift. There are weeks of preparation that go into the planning, and weeks of work to get the facility ready. Much time is spent asking businesses and individuals to donate money, food, and goods so that the team can feed 3,000 people and give them all a gift, good used clothing for everyone who needs it. Volunteer carolers sing for those enjoying a full Christmas dinner, others offer free haircuts, Christmas photos, and even a band to entertain those who wait their turn outside. Helpers are also delivering meals to those who are house-bound and picking up and bringing those who cannot drive to CFE.

At the end of the day when everyone has been served, then and only then does Mary go to our mother’s home where she is sometimes too tired to eat dinner or open her own gifts. And the next day she begins the clean up process that sometimes takes another week. No, she is still not done because she then plans a party for her volunteers to say thank you to them for their hard work.

I can’t be with her on her special day, but she is in my heart and I am very proud of her.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The remodel

We have lived in our home for a little over nine years. I have removed rolls and rolls of wallpaper from the walls. Painted over every shade of blue you can think of, in nearly every room of the house. At least the blue carpet isn’t as noticeable as it once was and it too will be replaced in time. The only two rooms left to be painted are my studio and Larry’s study. My studio is paint and a wallpaper border on one wall that I can live with for now and a small piece of floral wallpaper behind the sewing table.

Larry’s study is another matter. There was, and I repeat was, wallpaper on all the upper walls, separated by a chair rail molding and a wallpaper border with more chair railing and then what we assumed (you know what they say about assumptions) was oak paneling, but really is plywood paneling.

I didn’t feel well enough to work in the garden a couple of weeks ago but felt like I should be doing something. I took off a corner of the wallpaper and then another and another from the fireplace wall. Off came the first of the chair railing and then I started ripping the wallpaper border off. Then Larry came home from work. He looked a little shocked that all my talking about remodeling the study had actually begun. Later that night I removed the paneling and baseboard molding after we discussed the design for the room. Clean, contemporary, sleek.

The fireplace has been repaired several times and while there was a way to make it work, although cumbersome to me, we were now going to replace it with a new efficient Valor freestyle fireplace. Our friend Dave installs fireplaces for a living and he volunteered to install our new purchase. Good thing Dave also learned carpentry skills from his grandfather because he built us a new surround for the fireplace that he said is design as you build. I can appreciate his carpenter skills and flexibility because my father was a master carpenter and I watched him do this sort of thing all the time.

The fireplace is in and working and Larry has settled on a company to install the new flat screen TV that will be mounted above the fireplace and a new surround sound system in the ceiling. The sheetrock for the fireplace wall will have to wait until after the new wiring for the TV and equipment has been run through the walls.

Friends--what would we do without them? Our friend Rick built his own home and cut trees from his property to build furniture for the house. Rick offered to find a piece of wood that we could use for the mantel. We went Tuesday evening to pick out a piece that he will plane and cut to size. He has his own branding iron and we asked him to brand the new mantel since he is making it for us.

Wallpaper. Back to the wallpaper. I have one wall completely free and clear of wallpaper. All the top chair railing is gone from all the walls. Most of the wallpaper border is gone; all except what the previous owner glued on when he couldn’t make it stick with normal wallpaper backing. Under the wallpaper were more blue walls. What a surprise! Well it was a surprise when the wallpaper came off one wall and we found grass green paint underneath the blue. I can’t even imagine the Moroccan style orange vinyl tile design that we found under the green/blue carpet matching up to the horrible green wall that must have met up to the other horrible orange and yellow 70’s vinyl I know is under the carpet they put in the kitchen. Yes, carpet in the kitchen! What could be worse than carpet in the kitchen? Beige carpet in a kitchen is a nightmare to keep clean. But again that is another project for another day.

I must finish removing the wallpaper and primer the wood trim that abuts the walls and the ceiling in the study. The upper part of the wall and ceiling will all be a creamy white and I must get the ceiling painted before the speakers are installed, so I only need to do touch up paint around them.

The two tone beige carpet can’t be installed until the painting is finished and I have pushed the installers back two weeks. I can’t paint the fireplace wall until the wiring is done and the sheetrock goes up. Then I’ll paint it the same red that I have in the dinning room, Ralph Lauren “Hunting Coat Red”. The paneling on the lower walls will be a dark tan paint and all the trim in the room will be white. I will probably hire Bob, a friend of ours to paint the small bay window bump-out all white.

The green window blinds have been removed and I need to finish removing the shelf over the window I installed when we moved in to hold some of our Harley knick knacks. I will order a sunscreen shade for the window and have red cut velvet drapes, quilted dark tan drapes, and cream linen drapes to dress the windows and just need to find the drapery rod to hang them.

Furniture! What do we want? What will fit? The desk belonged to Larry’s dad and we are going to try and have a friend of Larry’s trim it down and remodel it into a smaller “L” shaped desk and then get a new desk chair. The loveseat we have will stay and the side chair is going to the dining room. Larry’s beloved “Ekornes Stressless” chair has seen better days and last night he went out and test drove a Human Touch HT-136 Robotic Massage Chair and then I ordered it in red and it should arrive in about two weeks.

Today we picked out a new sofa for the room in a heavy duty fabric that looks like leather and it might come before Christmas if we are lucky. The sofa arriving before New Year's Day would be good because we will have between twenty and thirty people over for lunch after a Harley ride that day. Places to sit would be good. Before this remodel began there wasn’t room for a new sofa because that wall is filled currently with stereo equipment, cabinets, speakers, and a very large TV that will all disappear in the next week or so. The study is going from seating four currently to eight comfortably after the remodel, with room for three or four more when we bring in extra chairs.

Lamps, tables, shelves, area rugs, so much more and my mind is swimming. We pretty much live in this room of the house so making it comfy and cozy is a good thing. When we can put the art which consist of paintings of ducks and hunting, Harley prints and collectibles, hand carved fish, neon signs, all back on the wall; it will become Larry’s retreat again. His guy room--just updated with a few new things and all his favorite old things.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Twinchies for a Cause

October is breast cancer awareness month and The Blue Horse Gallery has a yearly event to showcase art and artist called “Reaching for the Light.”

This year my submission is a 24 x 18 inch black canvas with fifty-one mixed media twinchies attached. Twinchies are two inch squares and any medium can be used to construct them, paper, fabric, shrink plastic, ribbon, photos, just use your imagination.

The slide show on the right side of the blog shows each of the fifty-one twinchies in detail. The last twinchie attached has a small poem:

Friends are gifts
Treasured and cherished
Sharing wisdom and truth
An ear to listen
A shoulder to lean on
We laugh, we cry
The good, the bad
We care, we share
We found each other
Dancing to a different beat
Confidants and co-conspirators
Words cannot describe
What friends really are

The artist statement with my art piece is actually another poem I wrote for this piece, followed by a scripture that reminds me of my sister Sharron’s favorite necklace that she wore, a mustard seed representing her faith in Jesus Christ.

The uneven stitches
The wiggly lines
It’s the evidence of scars
The hurt
From those left behind
Squares with a story
Small mosaics of our lives
Holding out hope
With dreams of the future
Faith that together
We can find a cure

Billie jo marrs

Matthew 17:20
…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed…nothing will be impossible to you

Breast Cancer Awareness

A technician gave me the following poem when I had my very first mammogram years ago. It made me laugh and took my mind off the procedure.

For years and years they told me,
Be careful of your breasts.
Don't ever squeeze or bruise them.
And give them monthly tests.

So I heeded all their warnings,
And protected them by law.
Guarded them very carefully,
And I always wore my bra.

After 30 years of astute care,
My gyno, Dr. Pruitt,
Said I should get a Mammogram
"O.K," I said, "let's do it."

"Stand up here real close" she said,
(She got my boob in line),
"And tell me when it hurts," she said,
"Ah yes! Right there, that's fine."

She stepped upon a pedal,
I could not believe my eyes!
A plastic plate came slamming down,
My hooter's in a vise!

My skin was stretched and mangled,
From underneath my chin.
My poor boob was being squashed,
To Swedish Pancake thin.

Excruciating pain I felt,
Within it's vise-like grip.
A prisoner in this vicious thing,
My poor defenseless tit!

"Take a deep breath" she said to me,
Who does she think she's kidding?!?
My chest is mashed in her machine,
And woozy I am getting.

"There, that's good," I heard her say,
(The room was slowly swaying.)
"Now, let's have a go at the other one."
Have mercy, I was praying.

It squeezed me from both up and down,
It squeezed me from both sides.
I'll bet SHE'S never had this done,
To HER tender little hide.

Next time that they make me do this,
I will request a blindfold.
I have no wish to see again,
My knockers getting steam rolled.

If I had no problem when I came in,
I surely have one now.
If there had been a cyst in there,
It would have gone "ker-pow!"

This machine was created by a man,
Of this, I have no doubt.
I'd like to stick his balls in there,
And see how THEY come out!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Pamela's art

I’ve met a wonderful and talented artist named Pamela. She makes the most amazing custom credit card wallet. They are made from polymer clay with a metallic sheen, polymer clay buttons for a clasp, and beautiful papers folded to form the credit card sleeves. Pamela is selling her wallets on Etsy:

We are both meeting part of a new group of artist who have varied artistic backgrounds from knitting, polymer clay, fantasy figures, fused glass, beads, paper arts, and mixed media. It’s a fun way to see what other artists are creating and share information.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Praise God

My nephew Dave has been in Iraq for the last fifteen months. Everyone in our family has been praying for his safe return and Saturday our prayers were answered. I give all my thanks and praise to God for watching over Dave and bringing him safely home to his family and friends.

Our family will continue to pray for those who are still in a war zone and those who are training to go, which includes Dave’s son TJ who left on Tuesday for basic training before his dad arrived home.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Oyster Run 2008

The 27th Oyster Run in Anacortes ( was Sunday September 28th. This is the largest motorcycle run in the northwest and there were thousands of motorcycles lining each side of the main street of Anacortes and a double row down the middle with room to ride a single bike each direction between the motorcycles. The weather was warm and sunny so even more motorcycles and people than usual turned out for this event.

Some people arrive on Friday and party for the weekend while most of the bikers arrive on Sunday, clogging up the freeways, and every major side road for miles in every direction. Parking is just about non existent for bikers and cages alike. You can drive around the block and around in circles trying to find a parking space.

The Mt. Baker Chapter HOG group volunteered to work the information booth at the Oyster Run. Larry and I had the 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM shift and we drove down in the big red truck which meant parking was going to be doubly hard for us, or so we thought. We found a spot big enough for the truck and it was only three blocks away from the information booth. Lucky! That is all it was, just plain luck.

When you work at the information booth, everyone comes to you, your friends, the lost, those looking for the ATM machine, questions like where are the oysters, and our favorite answer to the number one question was “one block down and to the right”. So what was the question? Where can I get an Oyster Run t-shirt or pin!

Now, it usually takes us about an hour to get to Anacortes but Sunday afternoon it took us 3 ½ hours to return home. Forty minutes just to go from downtown Anacortes to highway 20 to head out of town. It was bumper to bumper, cage to bike, bike to bike and no where to go. Bikes were overheating and pulling over to the side of the road and riders with cell phones in hand to call for help--although I’m not sure how anyone could reach them for hours with the traffic jammed up with people trying to get home. Traffic thinned out a little and moved slowly and steady until we were almost to Burlington when it came to a dead stop again. We took a side road no one seemed to care about and wound our way to the freeway and thought we had it made. Not so fast as saw the red taillights and make a quick decision to get off the freeway and head around Lake Samish. Even with this detour we still did not arrive home until 7:00 PM after leaving Anacortes at 3:30 PM.

At the Oyster Run, we had time to wander up and down the street, check out the bikes, order barbeque sandwiches and turkey legs, saw lots of our friends, and enjoyed being part of the Run. But, I think we may volunteer for an earlier shift next year--less traffic coming and going!!
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