Tuesday, January 31, 2012

C is FOR...

C is FOR...

These candlesticks have been sitting in the back of a closet for about 50 years because I really don't like them very much. I inherited them from my grandparents. However, I recently received some old family photographs from my sister and lo and behold there they are...

...from 50 years ago at least, sitting on what looks like a bureau, behind Grandma and Granddad.

I've often wondered if they are worth anything because they are solid brass, quite heavy and about 12 inches tall.  Knowing the letter C was coming up, I decided to get them out and take another look.  My grandfather brought them back from India where he served in the British Army.  I checked on the web and did a couple of tests and yes, they are solid brass.  So I had a go at cleaning them up.  I tried regular products for shining them.  Not much progress there.  I soaked them in baking soda and vinegar.  A little better. But what they really need is a tooth brush, baking soda and plenty of elbow grease!  I can see where my grandmother obviously cleaned them regularly.  Adding to their interest is the fact that they are hand tooled.  They would have been made in the early 1900's but I suspect there are plenty of others about so I doubt if they are valuable.  But I'll keep them around and when the Del Mar Fair  Antiques Show comes around I might take them down to be valued.

C is also for...CAT SHOW!

Well you didn't think I'd let you get away with the letter C without some reference to cats, did you?

I haven't been able to go for quite a few years because I can't walk long enough to be able to take in all the exhibits.  But this year I had my scooter!  What a blessing it was!  We got there about 2:00 p.m. and I tootled around until 5:00 p.m.  Saw everything I wanted and more.  Poor Barry was wishing he'd brought a book.  Here's a couple of highlights...
Cute and funny, but not really my style of decoration.

This little fellow was all tuckered out!  It was a long day for the cats and they had another day to go.

There was even a cat agility ring.  This cat went round twice successfully.  All the same obstacles as in a dog agility ring.  Fun to watch.

Just to prove that I really was there, that's my head in the left hand corner watching some of the judging .

Smiles at the cat show.  Can't you just see from the look on their faces how much they are enjoying the show?  Oh I just love that photo! That's how I came home.  A smile on my face.

This is my contribution to Mrs. Nesbitt's ABC Wednesday for the letter C, now in its tenth round and still going strong.  Click on this LINK and see all the other entertaining and educational entries.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Egypt's Remarkable Prayer Gathering

Egypt's Remarkable Prayer Gathering

Click on this title.


Just found this from THIS I DO, Mike's blog .  What a great encouragement for all we Christians who know what's going on in the Middle East.  WHY DIDN'T WE HEAR ABOUT THIS IN THE MEDIA?

Please pass this along or post it on your blog if you would like to.  It is so encouraging to know how the Christians over there are doing.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


The topic this week is SMILE.
My first thought was this fellow:

He's supposed to be the Cheshire Cat, just fading a way, but I didn't like him.  I thought he looked more like a gorilla .  So  I tried again and I like this one much better:

I love the expression on the kitty's face.  He does look happy, doesn't he?

Click on this LINK  and see more Inchie/Twinchie Monday.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


These are my Twinchies. And what exactly are Twinchies?  Well they are my version of   Inchies.  If you want to know what Inchies are let me refer you to this link HERE.  They are officially one square inch of art produced once a week.  For a variety of reasons I decided to make mine two inches square, after first clearing it with Ann the blogger whose project this is.

I latched on to the idea from my blogging friend Mornin' AJ.  Seeing what she had done, I realized it was exactly what I needed.  If you have been visiting my blog regularly you will know that over the past few years I have posted quite a lot of my art work. (One Tree Hill is based on a small hill which obviously had only one tree on it.  But it was right in the vicinity of where my husband and I used to walk and talk when we were just 'going together'.)

However I ran into a dry spell with my art work for the last couple of months and just couldn't seem to get up the mental energy and creativity to do any art lately.  I think I know why and will explain in a moment.

Ann has a topic for each week, which we are to use as the jumping off point for our creative urges. The topic 'shadows' immediately made me think of the large trees that artist David Hockney has painted and has on display in Yorkshire, England.  He paints a lot of Yorkshire scenes because, he says, the light in Yorkshire is unique and just distinctive enough to make him paint Yorkshire scenes. And I love Yorkshire.

This one is supposed to be what L.A. looks like from the air as you are coming into land at LAX.  The blue splotches are swimming pools. This is a scene I have viewed many times over the past thirty to forty years.

The best golden thing I have seen is when we were walking through a grove of trees in Minnesota on a fall day.  Everywhere and everything was GOLDEN.

As for my artistic dry spell I think I have analysed myself sufficiently well to understand what has been happening.  When I first started painting frequently and intensely, I started out with just simple designs.  Bit by bit I challenged myself to increase the difficulty until I was producing quite difficult and complex pieces, for me (remember I have never had an art lesson). I am a perfectionist and an over achiever. Finally, I found that I just didn't want to paint if it wasn't perfect and difficult.  That's me putting pressure on me!  110% is never enough!!  And it took all the fun out of it.  So the inchies and twinchies are just a really good way for me to ease back into my art again without the stress.
Well it sounds like a good excuse anyway....

If you want to see the work I have been doing the past few years you can visit HERE

I think I will enjoy doing these pieces and start to be more relaxed about it.  I plan to follow Ann's topics and will try to post on Mondays with everyone else.

Save the Inchie Monday Image for your blog!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012



I have been blogging for five whole years now and these are the fruits of my work.  At the end of each year I have had Blogs2print  print all my blogs.  I've been very pleased with the results.  Obviously they are not printed for sales.  Who would be interested in the detailed minutiae of my life except me and perhaps my family?  I am so pleased to have them.  It's like having an illustrated journal.  This past year I had just over 130 blogs.  To have it printed with all photographs in color and complete text, it cost me approximately $60.  I'm telling you this in case you might be interested in doing something similar.  You can have as many or as few of your blogs printed as you want.  You get to choose the colors, design and front (and back) cover photograph.
The only drawback I have is that the photos are not printed as large as I would like and they do not always correspond to the text beside them.  I imagine these problems could be rectified if you wanted to be in contact with the company.

Try it, you'll like it  And no, I'm not getting any commission!

For a good number of years now my husband has been visiting (among other places)  
some small churches of believers in Bulgaria who are still struggling to come out from under the Communist suppression of Christian churches.  One church is a Gypsy church who recently were able to buy land on which to build their church, with the help of  our organization, Morningstar Messengers.

This is another Bulgarian church we have been helping and encouraging.  Here they are building their church with the help of their own church members.

Almost finished. 
The church at Panygurishta, Bulgaria

Actually it is now completely finished and the congregation are ensconced and using it. It is not only encouraging to the people  to have their own church and to know that there are friends half a world away who care about them, but it is also encouraging to us to see that all the traveling we have been doing and the communication between Americans, Australians and Bulgarians is now bearing fruit.  So the work goes on and lasting friendships are made.

Here we are at the letter B for Mrs. Nesbitt's project, ABC Wednesday.  Pop over to her
page of links where almost a hundred other bloggers participate each week. You will find her LINK HERE.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A IS FOR.....

I first came across this word when I was about six years old.  Perhaps it was because it was such a big word for a six year old that I remembered it.

We were in Sunday School. It must have been near Christmas time because
the teacher had asked us to draw a picture of Mary and Joseph and the Babe in Bethlehem.

 The picture below is something like what I drew.  I remember clearly because it drew some comments from the teacher and other students. That's when I first heard the word ANACHRONISM.  I had made the mistake of including two anachronistic items in my picture -- the airplane and the electric light, both clearly out of their time in this picture.  I was so embarrassed when this was pointed out to me rather scornfully by my brother.

ANOTHER A - WORD that caused me some embarrassment was ALIEN.  

By this time I was I was fifteen years old and had been called upon in class to read a poem out loud about 'Ruth' who 'stood amidst the alien corn'.  What she was doing there I have no idea but she caused me some problems because I pronounced the word 'alien' as 'a-lion'.   I remember this incident as clear as day in all my school girl self consciousness, as I was corrected by my teacher, and several other students around me.  Fancy being fifteen years old and not able to read properly!

Ah, our happy youthful days were fraught with such traps that just waited for us to fall into them, and never forget the anguish they brought us!

So here we are at the beginning of another round of Mrs. Nesbitt's ABC WEDNESDAY.
Round ten in fact.  Do join us by posting an entry for the letter A and then click on this LINK to take a look at what all the other intrepid adventurers in ABC Wednesday have come up with.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Well my silence is over, I think!  Not that it's been very silent, what with all the sniffling and blowing and deep-chested coughing that's been going on here for the past three weeks.  We are both just getting over  nasty episodes of sinusitis and bronchitis. All the coughing has left us exhausted and left little physical or creative energy.  The coughing continues and we are being told that that is to be expected.

So here is my contribution to Kaffee Klatch Friday. -- a  little bit late, but still, I'm here.

The question we have to discuss this week is, "What do we do for 'me time'?" How do we re-energize ourselves in our busy lives? This question was more important to me before I retired.  After I retired I found I had too much 'me time'.  But back in those times we did several things.  Usually I would get the boys set up with something to do for half an hour or so and then I'd tell them that it was now 'me time' so that they understood if I was too busy to come at their beck and call.  Most of the time they were pretty understanding.  Fortunately they were both very good at amusing themselves or doing something together.  I was VERY blessed to have two boys who got along well together  most of the time even though there were three years between them.

Then to balance this out we would make a point of giving each boy some time alone with us.  Often Barry would take it in turns to take one of the boys out for dinner with him, --  one, one week and the other the next week.

As the boys got older, we also made a point of going out to dinner with each other once a week. My husband being a pastor and being 'on call' all the time, it was important that we actually scheduled these times in together.

What I did with my time was a different matter.  I was always a bit hyper, so I needed to give my brain plenty of stimulation.  I listened to a lot of music, especially of the King's Singers, I did a LOT of reading, and I also collected  a good number of puzzle books over the years. They, as well as crossword puzzles kept me out of mischief. I started painting and drawing in my early fifties.  In addition, I made a lot of Christmas decorations for a while and I crocheted a fair number of afghans. In later years, I would spend time sitting out on the patio watching the birds. Over the years I identified 25 different species  that came to visit our garden.

Today, reading, painting, blogging and bird watching are still high on my list of things to do.  And if the cat comes around to play or just to be cuddled as I'm getting ready for bed I take time to do it -- it's good for your blood pressure so they say!

Join us at Tapestry of Life by clicking on the button below and see what others do for re-creation.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Z  IS FOR...ZIP, ZIPPED, ZIPPING along on my scooter!
Guess what I got for Christmas!  A scooter!  It was a very unexpected gift from a very unexpected place.  I have been talking about getting one for a while, but neither my husband nor my doctor were too keen on the idea.  They all think I will use it when I should be walking.  But I won't.  I want it so that I can go to things like the San Diego Cat Show or the Home and Garden Show.  But with my fibromyalgia I can't walk for longer than half an hour, so I'm missing all the fun things I would like to do.  It means I can even roam the mall. It broadens my horizons, in other words.  Of course all the family wanted a go, so out we went into the circle about 9:00 o'clock Christmas Night and gave our neighbors a display.

Here's Glyn playing on my new 'toy'. Of course everyone had to have a try.  When we were last in Bridlington, a good few years back, I was amazed at how many women were zipping in and out and around the crowds of shoppers on a scooter.  In fact some of them were down right dangerous!  But if they can do it, so can I.

Do you remember when ziploc bags were new?  It's not too long ago.  I think they are one of the better things modern life has brought to us.

I often make myself a fruit smoothy from fresh frozen fruit -- pineapple, strawberries, mango, peaches and blueberries.  I put them in the blender and press liquify.  Mmm,mmm good!  Almost as good is the fact that all these fruits come with a ziploc top.  Very handy! Just tear off the top and unzip then zip it up again for the next time.

 I began thinking about the old ad they used to show on TV of someone holding up a ziploc bag full of some kind of brightly staining juice -- probably blueberries.  It was held upside down over a beautiful white sweater.  Would it leak or not?  Of course it never did leak on the TV. Since this is Z day and I have chosen zip and Ziploc as my words, I decided to test it -- but not over my white sweater or with blueberry juice !

As you can see, it held very well.  I grabbed the lid to put on the counter top (sorry it is messy I was pressed for time and only had one hand,) to show that the bag is indeed hanging up in the air and not a drop of water leaked out.  Next time I might be brave enough to do the experiment with juice and a sweater!

Well here we are folks, at the end of another round of ABC Wednesday.  Why don't you ZIP over to Mrs. Nesbitt's Blog (found HERE) and join us for another spectacular round? 


Saturday, January 7, 2012


Kaffee Klatch Friday
   I'm way late with this....but I have made it at last.
Our question for discussion this week is; 
  1.  What was one of the most memorable events in your life last year?
       Well, this could be really easy. It would be something everyone who has visited my blog recently would know and that is our adoption of Scruffy!  Then there was our visit to Kauai -- always memorable.  But I decided  I wanted to think a little more deeply and this is what came to mind:
It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was at home alone because Barry was in Micronesia. Something reminded me of a piece of music I had heard a good number of times before and liked very much. I found it on You Tube that afternoon. I know a lot of people are not very fond of opera, but I really like it.  It is something I learned to enjoy when I was in the equivalent of Junior High School. This piece is the male duet from "The Pearl Fishers" by Bizet. The two men in the duet are pledging their lifelong friendship despite whatever the outcome might be from the woman they both loved, who was at that moment deciding which of them she would choose to be her lover.  This piece of music is one of the most beautiful and uplifting I have ever heard.  It is only short and here it is sung by Thomas Hampson and Jerry Hadley.  It is made all the more poignant because Jerry Hadley died at the age of 51.  He committed suicide.  A brilliant young tenor who thought he was losing his singing voice.  Please click on this link  The Pearl Fishers.  You won't be sorry, I promise you.

Thomas Hampson, Baritone

Jerry Hadley, Tenor.
      Anyway that led to an afternoon of scouring You Tube for other pieces of my favorite music and singers. In the process I discovered another tenor whom I had never heard of.  He is from Peru and is brilliant.  He is not quite 40 years old and has a great future ahead of him.  Please go and listen to Juan Diego Florez at this LINK
     The upshot of all this was that I spent about three hours listening to the most inspiring music and feel I had a very happy and fulfilling afternoon.  I must add that I also listened to Alfie Boe, and Michael Ball, Jackie Evancho, Josh Grogan and Andrea Bocelli among others.  What a great afternoon!  And it was all thanks to the computer about which I so often grumble. 

    Our second discussion question was, What do you look forward to regarding your blog this year?
    I guess my most optimistic hope is that I continue to blog!  This is the beginning of my sixth year and sometimes inspiration just doesn't come.  If I were able to get out and about more I could take more photographs and they always help.  In addition I want to include more photographs that would be unusual and more illustrative of my life.  I want to do that because I have made a blog book of every year I have been posting, and they have become like an illustrated journal. My new blog book for 2011 is expected to arrive next week.  I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Y IS FOR....

These are the sounds we frequently hear late at night, especially if there is a full moon.  We have some coyote families that live somewhere near.  Even though we are officially designated a town or city we have a lot of canyons full of brush and earthy cliffs as well as other green areas where they can live.
(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

This one looks more healthy than some of the skinny, mangy looking ones I've seen recently.  I suspect ours don't have the thick furry coat because we don't have the really cold winters that those from up north have.  My neighbor has seen our  local coyotes in the street where we live a good number of times in the early morning (that's not in my vocabulary!)  Apparently they dig holes in the earthy cliffs to make a den and are happy to take over ground squirrel tunnels.  We have no shortage of ground squirrels so the coyotes are probably fortunate to find plenty of areas to call home.  The ground squirrels also make a tasty meal for them.  Unfortunately, people's pets are also a meal of choice.  That's why many cat owners around here have strictly indoor cats.  Coyotes have also been known to attack small children, as well as grab small dogs and cats from the back yard.  But human physical contact is not nearly as frequent as you might think when you consider how many coyotes there are in any given area. I think I have heard of only two incidents in the last nearly forty years we have lived here.

My first memories of coyotes have happier overtones -- from the ever popular Roy Rogers and other cowboy movies that I saw rather infrequently around the age of six.  The romantic yip, yap and yowl of the coyote remind me of these.  But I still keep my cat inside! It's sad I know, but it would be much sadder if one of those coyotes had Scruffy for lunch!

Even so, because I love all animals, I think he is rather beautiful.

Here we are at the tag end of the alphabet for ABC Wednesday, but if you go and take a look at the other participants of Mrs. Nesbitt's project (click on this LINK) you'll be amazed at how many have stayed with the weekly posting, not just for this round of the alphabet, but some participants have joined in for all nine rounds!

Now to find something unique for next week's letter Z.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

....to those who gave me the tips in their comments about how to make my banner larger and where to find instructions.  It isn't finished yet but it's better than before and I will work on it some more.  I take back all that I've been muttering under my breath about Picasa! I would NEVER, NEVER have figured out how to do all this on my own.  I have to do a re-do to make it fit better and I may make other changes yet.  But at least it isn't all a mystery to me any more.

I followed the instructions Vicki gave, just because her comment came first. I will also try out Quiltin' Granny's advice too when I have this one completed as I would like.  Then I can compare the two methods.

This is the original painting of Dane's Dyke which I did in watercolors.  Once again I must confess to having intensified its colors (perhaps a bit too much) as my water colors come up so faded on the computer. The Dyke is said to have been dug by the Vikings, or Danes, about 800 AD in order to cut off the headland and make it an island and thus easier to defend.  However, some say it goes back much further than the Danes.

Today it has some beautiful shady trails and is an ideal spot to go bird-watching. The trench is open to the sea at one end as you see here.  At the other end, the diggers met their match in the 400 foot high chalk cliffs which dominate the north side of Flamborough and Bempton. It is officially called 'earthworks' I think and is about two miles in length. There is much more on the web about this beautiful area

My husband says he misses the cliffs and caves of the previous banner and so do I .  But maybe I can now change my banner with other Flamborough pictures at a later point.

Have to get ready for ABC Wednesday now, and I may be a little later than usual in posting.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Please Bear with Me

As you can see I am trying to make some changes to the appearance of my blog. The thing which is giving me  the greatest problem is the banner photograph.  I can't find anything that tells me what size photo I can use that will fit the space. In the mean time the picture above is my watercolor of Dane's Dyke, Flamborough Head, where I spent many of my childhood and teenage years.

Having spent two solid days on the computer I think I'll have to take a break! I've also been moved to the new interface for posting, which I don't much care for.  Somewhere I saw a button to return to the old interface, but who knows where? I'm also still wrestling with Windows 7 and Microsoft 10, both of which are new to me. Am I having fun yet?....Hmmm.

Someone else is...

But just so you haven't visited for nothing, the update on Scruffy is that he seems to be fine.  We suspect he has been mooching around the kitchen floor and finding scraps of turkey or ham.  People food does not agree with him no matter how small the amount.  He is still active and playful in spite of his age -- hence the fuzzy photographs -- he moves too fast for me.

You will notice that he is still sitting down! But his favorite move is to pounce from the sofa on to the wand. It all helps him keep his slim school boy figure!

Additionally, dare I tell you that our temps in the day time have been around 80 degrees.  Cold overnight though. 

It's still not too late to wish you a Happy New Year!