Craft – Some Recent Mixed Media Projects

I love to experiment with new craft ideas.
The most recent love of my life is mixed media art journals and stand-alone pages.

I’m learning some of the techniques from playing around on my own and watching other mixed media artists on YouTube.

Here are some of my latest …

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TV – Celebrity Big Brother – Season 1 (and please – no more!)


I’m filing this blog post under “Entertainment,” but it could have very well gone under “Sucks/Doesn’t Suck” because it truly sucked!

The maiden voyage of Celebrity Big Brother ended last night. 
And all I can say is, thank God!  The entire season (thankfully shortened) was painful to watch.  The only reason I watched to the end is that it is something I do with my niece Tracey, and I didn’t want to bail on her.

I found the “celebrities” to be completely lackluster and without any passion for the game whatsoever – with the exception of Shannon Elizabeth.  Shannon truly wanted to play the game and came to play hard, which is why she was sent packing early on.

Omarosa Manigault claimed to also be a “super fan,” but her game play sure didn’t show it.  She seemed more interested in slipping in stilted snippets of White House debauchery (both Clinton and Trump administrations) that never really went anywhere.  She completely phoned in the final veto challenge before she went home.

Add to this the fact that two houseguests actually begged to go home, and you have a houseful of folks who showed up only to have their name once again come up in the search engines.

The season started out slow and got slower.  
There was no chance for any momentum to build due to the lack of passion among the players, and even when a hint that it may be picking up came along, you have Metta World Peace and Keshia Knight Pulliam literally begging to go home, completely destroying any chance that actual game play or strategy could get a foothold.

I loved Ross Mathews, but even he quickly became tiresome and one-dimensional.  As for the rest of the pack, Marissa Jaret Winnokur (the eventual winner) was sweet, but a fence-sitter the whole time, and waffled back and forth whichever way the wind blew.

James Maslow seemed at least interested in playing, but was also sent home mid-way through because he was deemed one of the “strongest” players.  Brandi Glanville drank the entire time and ran her mouth about completely nonsensical matters.

I actually liked Ariadna Gutierrez.  She is super intelligent and seemed very intuitive to what the other players’ motives were.   With Shannon booted early, I would not have been upset if Ariadna won.  Mark McGrath remained poised and played a fairly steady game.

As for Chuck Liddell, he presented as a decent human being, no gameplay or strategy whatsoever, but seemed to have a great time – even on “spa” day with the girls.

Even the HOH and veto competitions seemed lackluster and perfunctory.  Folks bailed at the first sign that a competition might actually call for strength or determination – again, with the exception of Shannon, who truly came to play.  Those who did make an effort, did so in a fairly insincere manner.

I don’t know if the fact that the prize was only $250,000 (it is normally $500,000), or if it was the fact that these people [presumably] have money, and maybe a quarter of a million wouldn’t change their lives like the impact of winning has on normal, everyday contestants, but whatever the reason, I will not be sad if Celebrity Big Brother never has a season 2 — unless they can find contestants that actually want to play the game.

Screw You, Cancer – I went on a Cruise to the Caribbean – solo!

I have always loved my own company. 
My sister was 19 years older and married and off on her own by the time I was born, so I was raised as an only child.

I have always loved to entertain myself, even from a very young age.
I would sit in my room and play with my Breyer horses and my Tonka trucks with horse trailers and set up make-shift equestrian centers, complete with barns and outdoor arenas filled with vertical jumps and oxers and cavaletti.

I would curl up under a blanket on the couch in the living room with my dog Bootsie and watch Petticoat Junction and Hee Haw and The Brady Bunch.  My favorite, though, was Speed Racer, which I had to watch with the sound turned down because my mother wouldn’t allow me to watch it because they “stab people.”  I would design an incredibly elaborate race track with those orange sections of plastic track and race my Hotwheels cars for hours until it was time for dinner.

Another favorite pastime during my alone time was sitting cross-legged in the rain under a blanket and a bubble umbrella reading a book.  Yes, I’ve always been weird.

Don’t get me wrong, my parents paid attention to me. 
My stay-at-home mom would do craft projects with me and catch butterflies with me; my dad would play catch with me in the back yard and go bike riding with me, and teach me how to change the oil or a tire on the car.

But, I always preferred to hang out by myself most of the time.
I don’t know if it is this upbringing or the fact that I’m a 100%, textbook Aquarian – aloof, independent, stubborn, territorial – but whatever the combination, I have always preferred to hang out by myself most of the time.

It is because of this, I absolutely love to travel solo.
I love to travel with my best travel buddy Kelsey, but solo excursions and adventures really get me!  I can do what I want, when I want, stop when I want, switch gears in the middle of an activity to some other activity completely unrelated, and no one looks at me like I have three heads.  I can take a nap all afternoon and no one is nagging me to “get up and do something.”

Welcome to reacquired independence.  Wait!
After my divorce and finding my way back to being comfortable in my own skin and to the place where I had always been before marriage – mentally, physically, financially – I was diagnosed with my second breast cancer.  It was Ductal Carcinoma in situ, which differed from the first diagnosis because this time it had not yet invaded the surrounding tissue.  Crap!  I was just crawling out from under the rock of oppression!

But, it is what it is, and I had thankfully started to re-discover my old self, my independent self, my determined self in the few short months of freedom, and with the help of God and my nieces, I was going to kick cancer’s ass once again!

And not only did I survive breast cancer again, I am thriving and have an entirely new outlook on life. 
During and after my first bout with cancer, I was angry.  So angry.  Angry at God, angry at my genetic make-up, angry at all the junk food I ate, angry that cancer had taken my dad and my sister, angry because I lost everything – my farm, my animals, my cars, my hair, my sanity.  Just totally pissed off about everything.

My second diagnosis was so completely different.  And, it wasn’t like a conscious effort to have a different outlook on life afterward, it just happened.  Like a light switch.  I wasn’t angry this time – at all!  Sure, I was nervous and scared, and even though I have always been an independent, determined person, the woman I was now with the second diagnosis was much stronger and much more determined.  I faced it down with a fierceness I didn’t know I had in me and beat its ass!

That fierceness has carried over into my sense of adventure.
Sure, some of it is a sense of desperation at not knowing when or if my cancer will return – and feeling the need to cram in as much as I can before that happens (read more about that here); but, along with that has come a new, even-greater sense of adventure.  I have always been fearless, and had more guts than brains, but even this new outlook was something far greater than even I could have ever imagined.  And I can imagine a lot!

The world seems more colorful, more vibrant, more interesting and I want to see it all!  Always have, but now it is imperative!

Combine my independence, my sense of adventure, and my insatiable wanderlust, and you have the makings of my first solo cruise.
I had been on two cruises before – one with a girl friend in 2001, and a second with my then-husband and step-daughter in 2012.

But now in 2016, I booked my first solo cruise, and I absolutely could not wait! 
I flew to Miami alone, checked myself in on the cruise alone, took up the entire bed in my cabin alone, went out on shore excursions on my own – and absolutely loved every minute of it!  My dining room tablemates were lovely and surprisingly included another woman solo traveler, so it was nice to have something in common with someone at the table, other than the standard “happy couples.”

I danced to Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore” with our Maitre D’ on formal dinner night, and got “Low” and funky in the dining room aisle with our really cool waiter during casual dining night.

I would wake up in the middle of the night and run upstairs in my pjs to get myself an ice cream cone from the free 24-hour soft serve machine and take it back to my cabin and settle back into my bed with a complete sense of freedom and joy for life.

I pampered myself with massages and mani/pedis in the ship’s spa, played arcade games and bingo solo, and drank Mudslides while laying out poolside on the deck.  I showered when I wanted, ate when and where I wanted, and lounged around in my cabin naked – and no one cared!  It was amazing!

There were only two downsides.
It was only 5-days long; and I missed my dogs.

And, the itch is looming once again!
With my next “parole hearing” coming up in a month, that sense of urgency is running screaming through my brain!  As soon as I find out I’m good to go (read still in remission) for another Six Months, I am so ready to book my next solo adventure and have been searching for the next perfect solo getaway.  I’m thinking Thailand, Belize, or maybe even another cruise.

Stay tuned!









Valentine’s Day – The Parliament of Fowls – an excerpt from a Chaucer poem

Please allow me to give you this day an excerpt from The Parliament of Fowls, by one of my favorite writers – Geoffrey Chaucer.

The Parliament of Fowls

-Geoffrey Chaucer

When I had come again unto the place
Of which I spoke, that was so sweet and green,
Forth I walked to bring myself solace.
Then was I aware, there sat a queen:
As in brightness the summer sun’s sheen
Outshines the star, right so beyond measure
Was she fairer too than any creature.
And in a clearing on a hill of flowers
Was set this noble goddess, Nature;
Of branches were her halls and her bowers
Wrought according to her art and measure;
Nor was there any fowl she does engender
That was not seen there in her presence,
To hear her judgment, and give audience.

For this was on Saint Valentine’s day,
When every fowl comes there his mate to take,
Of every species that men know, I say,
And then so huge a crowd did they make,
That earth and sea, and tree, and every lake
Was so full, that there was scarcely space
For me to stand, so full was all the place.
And as Alain, in his Complaint of Nature,
Describes her array and paints her face,
In such array might men there find her.
So this noble Empress, full of grace,
Bade every fowl to take its proper place
As they were wont to do from year to year,
On Saint Valentine’s day, standing there.







Finally Friday – 2/9/18 – What’s On Tap?


What’s on tap?
Not a whole lot.  It’s snowy and cold outside, and well – I just don’t function very well when it’s under 75 degrees outside.

I am working on a few craft projects:
I’m finishing up a New Baby Boy Mini Album commissioned by a lady I met in November.  Here are a couple pictures of some of the pages.  I will post a complete review of the finished album.

I’m also working on a jewelry order.
One of my musician friends – Mr. Chris Caffery of Trans-Siberian Orchestra –  saves all his guitar strings from the TSO tours and then I make bracelets out of them.  He then sells them on his website.  Check them out in his web store here …


And I’ve been playing around with an art journal.
I have never done mixed media before, and certainly not water color, so it is a very steep learning curve for me.  I have thrown away 98% of the pages, but here are a couple I’ve kept.  I will be doodling around in this journal some more if I have time.

Other than that …
I also have some laundry to do – which I probably won’t do.  And I’ll visit my Mom!  

Have a great weekend everyone!