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Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Mother Lode

For some, the thrill is making a big discovery -- some scientific breakthrough that will save the world from a dreaded disease, for example.

For me -- at least this weekend -- the thrill was the gift of a multitude of craft supplies! And, I got to cuddle with some cute cats on top of it all!

A very good friend is slowly selling off and giving away things from her home, in preparation for a move to an apartment. The home she lives in was owned by her parents and her mom, in particular, was a great crafter!

So, when she invited me over to take a look at things and have what I wanted, do you think I demurred? Of course not!

Let's just say three large boxes later, I have more ribbon than probably one person can every use in a lifetime (but I'll try); some fun beads; glitter; golden mardi-gras-type garland beads (the kind I use in my little snowfolk) and ever so much more!

(Not to mention a La Creuset casserole dish and a fabulous print by DeGrazia, one of my favorite artists.)

But there are always favorites, right? Here are a few of mine. Golden leaves and wire -- and those wonderful tiny vintage Christmas balls! Oh, how I remember those from when I was a child!

Lace. Glorious lace. Some is eyelet, some ecru, all lovely. And creamy pearl beads.

This gold rick rack. It's hard to find rick rack these days, and in large rolls? Oh, yes! (This was the roll that was already partially used; and check out the cigar box!)

The tulle net made my heart sing -- so pretty for making bows. And there were lots of wee things, like red berries for next year's holiday projects, and these wonderful birds! (I feel a birdhouse coming on!)

All this, plus I got to pet this divinely sweet cat...

And this one, too!

Thanks, Mary Jane! I'm in awe!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chocolat

One of my favorite movies is "Chocolat." It's organic and sensual, beautifully filmed, well acted, and I swear sitting in a theatre you can even smell the chocolate!

My favorite bits of chocolate are Trader Joe's French Truffles and the hand-dipped chocolate covered oreos our local candy shop sells. My molton chocolate cakes are to die for! And while chocolate isn't my favorite of flavors (give me a lemon square any day!), it's right up there.

So, when the MSU Museum held its annual chocolate party, of course I had to go!

When we walked in, we were greeted by a display of museum artifacts on one side (more on that below) and a display of beautiful chocolate creations on the other.

Look at this -- all in chocolate and confections! Definitely a display piece for a museum fundraiser!

And this one -- I think the octopus was marzipan.

Who could pass this by and not admire the craftsmanship.

Here's a better look at the dinosaur.

Well, then it was off to the vendors. We sampled mousse and cookies. There was toffee and fudge. Cakes...

And more cakes!

The vendors jazzed up their spaces with bits that fit their style, like this one from Sweetie-lictious Pie Pantry. (She was the winner of a Food Network pie challenge!)

I mentioned the wonderful exhibits. Here are a few that our gem of a museum has to offer in its collections.

I loved this one -- you'll probably see it again next October!

I'd wear this robe any day! All my colors!

Or this one!

These are wedding banks. Beats my piggy and cow banks!

This vest would be a tad warm for most of us...

You may not believe this -- I hardly do -- but I had more than my fill in an hour and really didn't care if I saw chocolate again.

Not that if anyone handed me something divinely decadent right now, I'd pass it up!

Next month is our museum's Wine Tasting Party (March 26, if you're local). If you love wine, be there and sample favorites from the 200 wine vendors on site!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Welcome to the Asylum

It couldn't have been a more perfect September day. The sun was high and warm, but not hot. A perfect day for the farm market.

And so I left the cottage and headed uptown, looking for some end-of-summer veggies, early fall fruit and a bakery treat to take to a potluck when I would meet Rick as he continued his four-day ride.

But when I hit town, the farm market wasn't there. In its place was an antique show -- a divine antique show, where it seemed every booth had something nice to offer.

And that was when I saw this.

I wanted it desperately, but it was a tad pricey. I suspect it came from a doorway and was now framed in distressed white wood.

But I knew precisely where I would put it (if I could afford it). I would hang it in my office. I would prefer to hang it elsewhere in my building, but that would do.

Things are tough for public television stations everywhere these days. When I attended my conference in January, there was a notable decrease in attendance, with travel budgets cut across the country. The digital transition desperately hurt stations, and the economy has been none too helpful either.

Face it, if you're going to be laid off, probably the items near the top of your scrimp-and-save budget will be donations and subscriptions. You can look at public television either way, and either way, we are in a bad position. (I suppose this might be a good time to remind bloggers who enjoy PBS that the March pledge drive will soon be here.)

Things have been rough at our station, too. In January, four of my colleagues received layoff notices. Another three found other jobs. One took an indefinite leave of absence.

And all that makes people a little crazy. We all have certain anxiety, knowing the layoff situation is far from over. Some departments, due in part to layoff plus voluntary departures, are really strapped. Prioritizing has become key, and will continue to be so.

Oh yes, and don't spend any money, either.

It sometimes seems as though we're all walking about in a bit of a fog, caught up in a web not of our own making. We have a multitude of emotions: sadness for colleagues, stress with increased workload, concern in knowing this is but step one, anxiety as we look at our obligations -- mortgages, college tuition, medical bills. My colleagues face it all. For that matter, I deal with some of those things, too.

Today was the last day for some of our colleagues. I worry and hope they'll be all right.

The layoffs are one part of our stress. Another is the reorganization of the station in general and my work group in particular. I don't know who my boss will be; we know we will probably have to move offices (and if you've read the Gypsy for awhile, imagine my office as an extension of my home art room on a bad day!). Actually, moving could be a very good thing for me!

But it's still stressful. So we get a little crazy. A little insane.

And yes, the inmates are running the asylum.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Me and My Valentine!

First of all, before I forget, the winner of my One World, One Heart drawing is Changeling Things (a knitting blog, purely a coincidence, but it was delightful to discover!) I'll look forward to hearing from you and getting your information!

Now, about the cherub with the bow -- his aim was very good!

I'll show you a bit of his present a bit down the post, but first I have to tell you what an amazing Valentine he was!


As I arrived at Rick's for dinner, I was greeted by a lovely table with a wonderful menu, printed in French (sort of!) for our dinner!

Upon closer inspection, I could see what work he had put into our evening!


And oh, it smelled wonderful!

We had a wonderful spinach dish... I know -- it just looks like creamed spinach here, but it was exceptional!


These potatoes-to-die-for where he thoughtfully carved our initials...


Steak on the grill...

And I brought the dessert -- Remainders d'Partee were leftover brownies from our visit taking dinner to his aunt and uncle on Saturday (plus a few chocolate covered strawberries and candy hearts!)

And the wine! Oh, it was wonderful, just wonderful.
I would definitely recommend this bottle of Bordeaux!

The flowers were beautiful, too. I love African violets -- they seem to be the one plant I can't kill! And these were beautiful in their little basket and so many pink-and-white blooms!

If you've read The Gypsy for awhile, you may recall that a Valentine's Day tradition I created with Rick is to each year make him a poetry book with photos that summarize our year.

This year we had a lot of depressing events -- cancer and bike crashes and other sickness. I had trouble coming up with many happy poems! So I included a few depressing ones, because after all, ups and downs are part of what we all are.

But all in all, I'm pleased with the book. The book itself was handmade with a wonderful textured paper as the cover and brown pages inside. The heart and key were affixed to a small watercolor I did, and the title reflected our relationship. It was "sewn" with very thin wire and has a beaded spine.

And while the poetry is nothing to write home about, it's a way to capture some of our experiences and marry them with photos.

Everything from Christmas to Rick's accident and bike rides, Greg's cancer surgery and even wine tasting was included!

I went with a blue-green theme for the cover to make it look a little less "girly," but the pages inside were brown paper and I used hand-painted tissue made at an Artiscape workshop to add some texture. Then I added embellishments and photos. (The button is by Joanne of ad libitum and the top photo in his "Fiddler" cap and vest is Mama K's husband, my cousin David.

Inside I included a couple of tags.

I especially liked this one, with the musical notes "coming out of" Rick's hands. Three cheers for tape transfers!

And yes, he liked it! Very much!

Now, onward to participating in Karla's "Alice in Wonderland" swap!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines from Long Ago!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Enjoy some lovelies from the "Love's Little Messenger" exhibit at the MSU Museum.


Who could resist these elaborate cards?


And these vintage postcards --

oh, I'd love to have those in my collection!

As a writer, I couldn't resist this one!

Some of these were awfully pretty...


I liked these a lot...


...and these brought back memories of days gone by. Did you make Valentine's boxes for school? I still remember mine!


These "Penny Dreadfuls" were insulting valentine's.



And some are awfully funny -- I don't know if you can read the words, but the graphics alone get the message across!

Funny cards always make me smile...

And some were on the suggestive side!

And this one was just cute!

Finally, I couldn't leave without saluting "Man's Best Friend" (and lots of women's!)...

And a salute to the four-legged companion in my household!

And this might be my favorite!

As for my two-legged Valentine -- well, we plan on having a wonderful time too!

And you? You're all my valentines! Happy Valentine's Day!

NOTE: All of these vintage valentine's were from the MSU Museum's collection. The exhibit continues through early March if you live in the area. I think I may use some of these in some tags or ATCs. What do you think? Feel free!

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