Thursday, September 23, 2010

Schedules and Plans!

It tickles me when I think of all the "plans" we humans make, how hard we "prepare" for everything we can think of.  Yet all too often the "thing" never materializes or takes too long to occur that we exhaust ourselves and are no longer interested in "plans".  We just want to "get it over with"!

Example Par Excellance:  Nigel's ear surgery "scheduled" for today at 2:00 pm.  By 3:30, they still hadn't called us back, so we were beginning to worry they might have forgotten about us! The last thing we wanted was to reschedule so I finally went looking for someone.  I found the RN on duty for our area and when I told him about our "scheduled 2:00 surgery", he got the strangest look on his face!  He was very polite and told me he'd double check his schedule.  Most importantly though, they had not forgotten us! Whew! We were on the list!  Unfortunately, his schedule showed we were scheduled at 3:30! On top of that, he said the doctor was running behind because of three very difficult cases.  "But at least we're still on the list!" I kept telling myself.

The RN offered to ask the doctor to speak with us.  "No thank you!!" we both hastily replied!  "That would just put him further behind!  Besides, mistakes happen.  We're just glad we're still on the list!"

So we made adjustments according to our new found knowledge.  This consisted of turning the lights off in the room so Nigel could try to take a nap (and forget the tempting smell of food wafting down the hallways from the cafeteria!  He hadn't eaten since 10:00 pm the night before!).  I then left to get something to eat (Sorry Nigel!)  I'd been so busy at work that I'd skipped lunch and had only eaten a light breakfast.  If I was to care for my sweetheart, I needed sustenance!!

Yes, I suppose we could have gotten angry. . . . at the situation, at the RN, at the doctor, at the doctor's office staff, whoever!  But what good would that have done?  Doesn't speed things up any and might even do the opposite and slow things down!  Besides, it gave me the chance to buy some lovely and - more importantly - very inexpensive jewelry in the gift shop ($5.00 per beautiful necklace is NOT to be ignored!)  Also, it gave me a great excuse, not to mention ample time, to read two of my favorite magazines front to back without interruption!  And if that weren't enough, I'll go ahead and admit that it gave me a great opportunity to drink a Coke and eat two (Yes, I said two!) candy bars!!  A Payday (full of protein with all those nuts) and a Baby Ruth (the package blatantly touting it contained a whopping four grams of protein!)  Hey, this was my dinner! I needed more than just one!

So you see?  Things can always be brighter depending on your outlook.  Forget schedules and plans, or at least try not to be so bound by them!  If they rule your life so tightly that any variance causes great anxiety, then maybe you have the wrong schedule!

Instead, relax!  If it's going to happen, it will.  And if it isn't going to happen, it won't!  (Profound, don't you think?)  There's simply no reason to fight it.  You'll lose every single time, absolutely guaranteed! Besides, just think of all the cool things you can do instead!

May God Bless, Jan

P.S. I didn't include photos because for some odd reason, I didn't think to take my camera to the hospital! Go figure!  By the way, Nigel is doing GREAT!  His tummy is full and he's sleeping away!!
P.S. P.S.  It occurred to me that I could take photos of my jewelry now that I'm home! Duh!  Yes, I know.  As Nigel would no doubt say - only I could find jewelry in a hospital!  And we don't want to hear what Nigel will think about "said jewelry" because it probably isn't printable! Suffice it to say that I like them, and that's all that matters!!!  So here they are, in Sea Foam Green, Pretty in Pink, and Red-Orange:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A "Name Plate" For a Very Special Young Man

Hi Folks!

I wanted to show you the name plate I created for a very special young man named Brian.  Brian is almost three years old now, but when he first made his appearance in this world, no one was entirely certain he would survive.  Brian was almost three months early!!  He stayed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for the first couple of months of his life, and has been steadily growing ever since!!  As I said, Brian is about to turn three and his Mom, Crissy (whom I work with), wanted something special for him.  What's really cool, not to mention extremely flattering, is that she chose me to create that "special something"!!  We collaborated together on the colors and style because Crissy wanted something that wasn't too "babyish", something that would grow with him as he grew up.  And here it is!

As luck would have it, I already had the frame (which my daughter Laura gave me when she moved into her first house from an apartment! See Laura, I told you I'd use it for something!).  Next came the alphabet - in primary colors that young men usually like!  For the background, I chose a brown ticking stripe, a scrap I already had on hand that coordinated beautifully with the frame and matting!  But something wasn't quite right.  Then I thought of some buttons I'd had forever.  They were a green-brown khaki color, which I loved, but they never seemed right for anything.  But I just held onto them and voila' they are, with cream linen thread, coordinating with just the right amount of contrast!!  Here's a close-up view:

And now - for the very special young man himself.................................

May I present to you Mr. Brian Patterson!

Isn't he handsome!!?? And in a very few weeks, Crissi is expected to deliver again - this time a little girl !  I think I'd better start thinking of something in pink!! 
Many, many thanks to Crissi for believing in me and for Brian - who makes everyone around him feel happy and blessed!

Bye for now! Jan

September "Leaves" Theme for ATC Swap

Hi Everyone!

I've really enjoyed my first Artist Trading Card (ATC) swap, September's theme of Leaves.  Very appropriate for me especially because Autumn is my most favorite time of the entire year!  My swap partner was the very talented Angela of Sew Loquacious (her web site is  For those of you who haven't made it to her site yet, here's my ATC for her (it's only the second one I've ever made, but I think I'm thoroughly hooked on making these little gems!):

It's a piece of cardboard that I literally wiped over several different Autumn colors of ink pads (one of those color boxes that I found at a thrift store), then I began digging through my pieces of jewelry bits and found this old disk with what I'd always thought of as a tree with leaves that was somehow melted to the metal.  If I remember correctly, it also came from a thrift store or a garage sale which my Mother found about 30 years ago! After many years in service (I remember Mom wearing it), it fell out of favor and has been hidden away ever since, so it finally made it's big comeback with this ATC!  I just wish I knew who the artist was who made it so I could give her or him proper credit.  Anyway, after I glued this on to the cardboard, I started looking for anything I already had that resembled leaves and I found these little Autumn colored glass leaves I bought about a year ago (another sale, this time at Michael's).  I love them and have used them in several projects.  I made 4 small holes with a very large needle and hung the leaves on the bottom.  I like their movement, just like the falling leaves of Autumn!  Lastly, I glued on four little perforated leaf shapes that came from paint samples I'd picked up at Home Depot recently (again in Autumn colors), never realizing at the time that I'd be in an ATC swap and actually use the little pieces!  I just did a few lines on them in darker ink, giving each one little veins that stood out.

Next came another serendipitous moment!  I was at the local postal service (Goin' Postal) buying stamps and I saw this lovely card for sale, beautiful colors in the background and these two beautiful oak leaves and a large deer on the front.  I think it was a Father's Day card, but that didn't stop me (most things won't if I'm on one of my "missions"!).  I simply freed the deer (Wasn't that nice of me?), then took the two leaves and two acorns for the back of my ATC!  I was so pleased with it, I hated to put it in just a plain envelope.  Besides, I needd to protect it, especially the glass leaves, so I decided to create a special holder for it.  And here it is:

This was literally what remained of a file folder (the rest of which I'd used for something else), but I couldn't throw the scrap away because it was too pretty!  It had writing on the inside, so I just covered that with gesso, then did a zigzag stitch around three sides to hold the ATC in place.  The ribbon came from another cast-off - a tassel I bought at an after Christmas sale years ago that was falling apart.  So I saved all the little pieces and have used them many times ever since!  I just tied several pieces in a little bow, then glued the whole thing to the front of the holder.  What do you think?

As I said earlier, I thoroughly enjoyed this swap and am eagerly awaiting next month, October, with the theme of DARK!!  Sounds hauntingly fun!!  Till later than....may God bless, Jan

Friday, September 17, 2010

My First ATC Received from Another Artist, Compliments of Blissful ATC Swap

Hi Everyone!  It's here!  My first ATC I've ever received from another artist!!  It came from the super talented Angela of Sewloquacious!  She told me she was doing a slightly different variation of the "leaf" theme, which of course made me curious.  And as soon as I opened it up, I recognized it.  Do you?  Here it is:

You guessed it - Leif Ericson!!  As I just told Angela via e-mail, I recognized him immediately and remembered when we studied about him in school (way back in the dark ages)!!  It always inspires me greatly when I witness others "thinking outside the box" and this inspired me enough to learn more about the fine old Norseman!  Something I didn't realize that Angela shared with me is that October 9th is Leif Ericson Day in the United States!!  Leif was believed to have lived from 970 to 1020.  A Norse explorer, he was born in Iceland and is regarded as the first European to land in North America (excluding Greenland) nearly 500 years BEFORE Christopher Columbus!!  The script on the front is a poem written in Norwegian, called "Leiv Ericksson", and it's translated in English on the reverse of the ATC.  It reads:

"The depths of the mind are confusingly like the ocean depths.  You find only darkness and old wrecks.  What interests us is the going down and the coming back up, the variations of pressure, the variety of species at the top, the things drifting around that don't really belong there.  But it's the depths we like best, largely because of public attention.  People give us the thumbs up, and we go down.  For years I have tried to explain what it's like.  And every time I feel like Leif Ericson arriving on the northern edge of Newfoundland, speaking Old Norse to the natives.  No one understands a word.  Maybe he planned all along what he was going to say.  And then again, maybe he had no idea at all.  Maybe he thought he'd never reach land, how the whole thing was a terrible mistake."

Angela writes that both sides were printed on duck canvas; she then stitched it to cardboard, which she covered in memory book paper.  The images were printed on card stock; Angela cut them out and hand colored them (I'm afraid my photography doesn't do justice to the lovely antique teal shade she chose).  She then covered everything with Mod Podge.

Thank you SO MUCH Angela for this lovely ATC!!  And remember to check out Angela's fantastic blog at!

Happy Creating Everyone!  Jan

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor Day Weekend on the Elk River!

Hi Everyone!  Was this past weekend's weather great or what!?  Wow!!  I LOVED the cooler weather!  We spent the weekend doing some work in the back garden (Yes, I actually worked outside because I could go out there without needing a breathing machine!  No humidity!!  Yea!!!!).  We also went to my aunt's house on the Elk River near Athens, Alabama.  Had a lovely time and took these photos!

Isn't it lovely and peaceful?  The sound of the waves lapping against the pier is so soothing!

Granddaughter Isabel met cousin, Brooklyn, for the first time and they became fast friends! Aren't they cute? 

Extra curricular activities included the idea of "drilling" for gold with sticks!  They were both told that if they found any, they had to share.  However, my aunt insisted she had property rights on any they found. Hmmm.

Isabel demonstrates the very rare technique of gold drilling!!

This is VERY SERIOUS business!!  Requires just the right finesse!!

No gold here!!  Where else can we look?

Okay, time for boating!!  Obviously the gold drilling has played out!!

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!  Can't wait till cooler weather gets here for good!  Take care and may God bless!  Jan