Thursday, October 28, 2010

Older and Wiser and Still Laughing

Meet my mother-in-law, Frances, who just happens to be my birthday twin.  Well, 33 years apart, but still we were both born on the same day.  As I've done every year for the past 13, I chose to spend part of my day with her so we could celebrate together.  This year her sister Mamie Lois and her brother-in-law Charlie, joined us.  Charlie will be 91 in January and they've been married 62 years.  Can you even imagine?  Those two are real characters, not unlike good old Frances.  I hope to be as entertaining when I get to be their age.

This past weekend we were in gloriously sunny Myrtle Beach SC for a bit of fun, and I'm pleased to say we had a fabulous time.  Driving along Ocean Drive was wonderful but it was alarming to see so many homes for sale. 

On Saturday night we went to the Alabama Theatre to see The Oak Ridge Boys.  They're still as incredible as they were the last time I saw them, over 30 years ago.  How is that possible?

And on Sunday night we were back for the house show, ONE, which was spectacular.  The comedian Ricky Mokel is the reason we went and trust me, he did not disappoint.   At intermission we went out to the lobby and bought two of his DVD's, which he graciously signed for me.   Haven't watched them yet, but I can hardly wait.  Check him out on You Tube when you've got a few minutes to laugh.

Now I'm trying to figure out when I can get back down there to see their Christmas Show.  Performances begin next week and based on the regular show, I know it will be amazing. 

Yesterday I finished the last Dick Francis book, Crossfire, that was published after his death.  It was just as gripping as the first one I read, and re-read, and re-read again.  I own all his books and have read several of them multiple times.  Now I'm waiting for the last Robert B Parker novel, Painted Ladies, which features his Spenser character.  It's still hard to believe there won't be more books coming from these two incredible authors.

I still haven't found my skeleton to put out on the front porch, but I did find the witch's shoes.  And I made a few more Halloween purchases while in Myrtle Beach that are now displayed with all the others, along with the pansies and pumpkins.  Can't wait for Sunday night when all the little ghosts & goblins come calling.  Baby Jackson is supposed to be paying me a visit.  Squeals of delight will surely be heard all over town, so listen for me.

And if you're in the neighborhood, come on over.  The candy bowl is overflowing once again!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Celebrating Life

Many of you know that I attended the first Stampaway convention 18 years ago in Cincinnati.  Each subsequent year I've made my travel plans to get there, budgeted my money to have funds to squander, and revelled in seeing good friends year after year that I would only see at that show.

One of those friends was Mike Meador, owner of Coffee Break Designs.  He was a wickedly funny, quirky, joyful man that came up with such ingenious kits and products that I was instantly smitten.  Every year I would incorporate his products into my classes, sending all the ladies rushing to his booth on Friday night to clean out his inventory.  By the time I'd arrive he'd be all grins & smirks, pleased as punch with the crowds who'd descended on his booth, filling their little baskets with his loot.

Just last summer I designed 2 classes around his kits .  My Shadow Box Collage class, which has become my benchmark class at Stampaway, was created around his little chipboard towers as he called them.  The end result was so far from the ordinary gray chipboard that most people wouldn't have recognized them as the same product.

And my Whimsical Assemblage class used his ATC-sized Elevated Box Kit.  Again, I took them in a direction he'd never have gone, but he was tickled when I presented him with my samples and displayed them in his booth right up until he sold the last of his inventory.  (That happened on Friday night, so if you were in his booth on Saturday, you never saw them.)

I chastised him once for not replying to me in a timely manner and his response was classic Mike.  He informed me he was on "Mike time", as though that said it all.  And you know, it really did.  He was worth the wait, whether it was for a return phone call, an email, or my turn in line in his crowded booth, waiting for a chance to giggle with him for a few minutes.

He was adored by many people and I was certainly one of them.  I miss him more than words can say.  But I have a huge stash of his products in my studio and will think of him fondly with each and every creation I design using those goodies.

Love you Mike.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fall is in the air

I celebrated my birthday last week with a trip to the fair, a steak dinner, and a movie.  (RED with Bruce Willis...fabulous!)  My mother-in-law and I share the same birthday so we spent 3 hours with her down East and had a "large time" as little old people say in those parts.  My husband bought me a Maxine birthday card that speaks, which drove the doggies insane, a cake with my favorite butter cream icing, and a helium balloon that says "Over the Hill".  That boy should be careful; all I'm saying.
We stopped by Mom's on the way to visit Frances and picked up two pumpkins for my front porch.  And there's the difference between city life and country life in a nutshell.  Her neighbor has fields of pumpkins and told her to take all she wants.  Here in town you pay for even the tiniest one.  I'm pleased to say I have 2 very nice specimens.  Now I have to decide if I want to paint them, carve them, or decorate them at all.
I love Halloween.  I've got my witch and black cat out on the porch already.  The witches shoes and the skeleton go up next. 

I've got 2 strings of those little jack-o-lantern string lights and ghosts to hang from the lanterns on either side of the garage door.  I've had bags of that spider webbing stuff that you stretch and pull and use in trees that I've been saving for years til I actually had trees large enough to use it well.  Wonder if this will be the year?

This weekend I potted pansies in the window boxes mounted on the back deck and also in a couple of pots.  I've placed one out front with the pumpkins but I might need a little something more.  My mums have grown so large in the rock garden along the side of the house that we've had to prop them up with a wrought iron door mat.  Unfortunately no one sees them but us and the next door neighbor. 
The bowl in the foyer is filled with Halloween candy...again.  And I dare say more shopping is in the cards since trick-or-treating is still 2 weeks away. 

My stamp club meets in the studio on Thursday night and we're swapping Twinchies, plus decorating composition book fronts with them before moving on to working inside the books.  It's going to be a fun project and I'm excited to see how everyone incorporates all the goodies I've been putting together for them.  Check back Friday for photos of the fun and the end results.  I'm betting we'll knock your socks (or boots) off!