Friday, August 17, 2018


I'm standing in  my bedroom and something is bothering me.  What is it?  Forget the unmade bed and the knocked over plants from the recent cat fight.  Ignore the clothes that need to be ironed currently draped over a chair.  Then it comes to me--the lampshades are dingy and mottled--not a good look.  I do not wish to spend money on new lamps or shades.  I don't even want to buy materials to cover the shabby (not in a good way) shades.  So I go to my craft room and look through my enormous paper stash.  Sure enough, I come up with some charming possibilities.  I was so excited that I forgot to take Before pictures.
The first lampshade was a dirty cream with yellowed palm fronds on each of the four sides.  The palm fronds had been a lovely pale shade of green, but now looked severely jaundiced.  A short time later--

I painted the shade white and covered it with beautiful handmade paper infused with leaves in green and gold.  The papers were simply glued at the top, bottom and both sides--not the whole paper.  They were not long enough to cover the entire shade, so I glued strips of green handmade paper on the top and bottom.  I was thrilled by the results!  And the lamp looks lovely in the evening when lit.

On to the other lampshade which was dingy and dented and very very old.

The paper for this shade was standard letter size paper which could be folded twice and used for lovely brochures.  My daughter Sharon gave me a huge pile of this delicately shaded paper years ago when she decided she was already too busy to create a catering business even though she is a fantastic cook.  Even as a child Sharon could get a few things out of the cupboard and the fridge and create a marvelous meal while I stood there dumbly staring into into the refrigerator and wasting electricity.  Anyway, I have used this beautiful and subtle paper scores of times over the years.  Thank you,

    This shade was trickier to work with   
because of it conical shape.  I held each sheet up to the shade and marked where it would have to be cut to fit.  I then used a ruler to draw a line from the mark on the top of the paper to the corner on the bottom on each side.  Since I cannot cut a straight line, I always use the handy paper cutter my other daughter, Jeanne, gave me the Christmas before last.  I use the cutter almost daily and am very grateful.  Each cut paper was then glued to the shade on the top, bottom and sides.  Tiny slits were cut into the top and bottom of each sheet so it  could be folded under and glued without       tearing the delicate paper.                 

And last but not least is my painting and decorating of my ancient night table which I have had for decades and was much the worse for wear.  So I painted it with the leftover paint from my recent repainting of the kitchen cabinets and glued on brightly colored leaves cut from a wonderful British magazine called The Calm Project.

Now I think I'll lie down!

This week I am linking to Shabby Art Boutique 
                                             Create, Bake, Grow & Gather Party #328

Friday, May 11, 2018


I love my home and since I live alone (the cats are not interested in decorating) I can do whatever I want!  I wanted to do something wild in my bathroom with color.  

I have lots of ideas, but very little money.  I could not redo my bath unless I spent almost nothing.  I bought the towels and bath rugs on sale--a big sale.  I waited until the peach paint I wanted was also on sale.
Those were the only items I paid for!

Let's see how I did it.  Now, remember, everything had to be shades of raspberry, pale pink and peach.  The glorious florals at right were calendar pages.  I found an old frame, cleaned it and placed a picture I found in one of the Stampington magazines' Artist's Pages.  I cut out the best parts and taped them to the mat.  Just the right shades of raspberry.  The pink painting was created by a dear friend; the glass soap dish was a gift from another old friend.  I already had the towel hook, but I painted it peach.

The beautiful fruit tiles at left were bought years ago at a Southwestern market for $1 apiece.   I covered the cabinet doors with scrapbook paper and then applied Liquitex Matte Medium to protect them.  The candles are both gifts.

Speaking of scrapbook paper, the gorgeous picture of red hearts in the very top photo is just that--a sheet of scrapbook paper.  (I have hoarded these papers for years.)  The vignette of the garden room in the old wooden box was created with supplies I had in my craft room which were all bought over the years with coupons from Michael's and JoAnn's.

The two fairy pictures by Cecily Mary Barker are not even prints--they are pages from a magazine!   I rescued some old frames that didn't match and cleaned them.  What would I do without

Now, not everyone wants old calendar and magazine pages in their baths or any other room for that matter.  Those people will have stopped reading this blog post long ago and are probably shaking their heads in mild disgust as they gaze at their beautiful custom framed paintings.  But I like making do and repurposing and taking old stuff from my craft room and creating something new and original.

All the collages in my bath are mine and chosen for their color schemes.  The bottom of a wooden box was painted and decorated with flowers I cut out of ARBUS
Magazine.  I got the idea for using boxes for storage from IKEA.  Theirs costs $25, but mine cost zero.  The top of the box was also painted and one of those wonderful Artist's Pages from Stampington was simply glued in and a hanger attached.

My whole house is like this--handmade, repurposed and scratched by three black cats.  The sofa is losing its stuffing, so I covered it with white quilts.  Some folks love it; some folks are politely aghast at my style.

"Well, it's very . . . homey.  Isn't it?"

Yes, it is.

Saturday, April 21, 2018


Today was cold and rainy all day.  But it's Spring!  Mother Nature is obviously confused.  One day it will be warm, sunny and delightful and the next day I'm closing the windows and looking for a sweater.  I know it's cold when all three black cats are cuddled up to Mommy in the dark cold of night.

Thankfully, we have had springlike days during which I race outside with my spade, trowel and clippers.  Last year's flowers have returned in all their glory after looking black and dead and scaring me to death.  The blue flowers I planted in small pots inside a few weeks ago have blossomed forth outside and are threatening to take over.  What was withered and brown only a short time ago (like the English ivy) has recovered and shiny green leaves are once again covering the ground.

 I am prancing about my tiny garden watching all the new life popping out of the ground and taking full credit for this recurring miracle and feeling proud of myself.  The three cats are lined up inside on the windowsill and staring at me with great intensity.

 It is possible they do not believe I am Mother Nature in all her glory, but instead feel that I am an ancient nut case defacing their territory when I should be inside preparing still another meal for them. 

I ignore the felines and decide to gather a huge bouquet of  spring flowers from my very own garden.  I clip many, many blossoms and dance through the ivy when I suddenly notice my pea plants may be producing peas!  This is exciting news indeed and I dash to the wall of green and harvest three peas which I immediately eat.  That night I dream of bowls overflowing with huge, fat, bright green peas.  The cats dream of bowls filled with Fancy Feast Grilled Salmon.  All is well.


Thursday, January 11, 2018


I rushed home to pick up my Murphy for his annual visit to our vet, but I was not at peace because I knew capturing the Murph would be a battle.  He always behaved as if he had been tortured in terrifying ways whenever he left home.  
Molly was sleeping in my bed. 

Maks was stretched out under 
the lamp and he was making funny little noises. But where, oh where, was the elusive bad boy, Murphy?  Hiding of course.  I crept to the closet and lifted out the cat carrier, then casually left it open on the floor by my bed.  I began an exhausting search for Murphy.

 He was fast asleep on the windowsill.  Aha! this would be easy after all.  Silently, I approached the slumbering feline and stretched my arms behind the curtain and grabbed him!  We struggled and he burst free, flying out of the bedroom as if the Furies were in pursuit.

There followed almost an hour of uninterrupted and unsuccessful chasing of a big black cat by a silver haired lady.
Oh, Murphy was in the bathtub!  Now he's trying to hide in the cupboard under the sink with all my shampoo and cotton balls.  But he escapes my grasp yet again and gallops into the studio looking for shelter amidst the paints and brushes and sewing scissors.  He goes under the craft table, but he is still fully visible!  Murphy darts away from his ancient and arthritic  mistress who is beginning to tire.  Where will he be safe?  He tries to hide between the washer and the wall, but it's too narrow for a big boned cat.  Aha! he will hide in Mommy's walk-in closet behind the luggage.  And so he does.  He squeezes behind a big suitcase and he is completely hidden!  Except for his long black tail which gives him away.  I grab him again, but he wiggles from my grasp and slides under the bed.  Groaning, I get down on my knees and try to coax him from his lair, but he just stares at me with his big green eyes, knowing I cannot reach him.  At last, I admit defeat and stagger to the phone to cancel Murphy's appointment.  The girl answering the phone is not helpful.

"Why don't you just grab him up and stuff him in the carrier and come on down?"

Through gritted teeth I tell Miss Cheerful that I have been trying to do that for an hour, but Murphy remains at liberty.

That night I finally fall asleep after watching two hours of sex, violence and various tantrums on Game of Thrones.  I awaken at 4 AM and can't get back to sleep.  Perhaps I'll read for a few minutes, so I turn on the lamp.  And there sitting in the open cat carrier, staring at me with those huge green eyes, is our boy Murphy, smiling like the Cheshire Cat.  He knows the vet is not open at 4 AM so he is safe.  A clear victory for felines.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Christmas was coming, but I was slow to get ready.  I loved decorating my little trees; I loved wrapping presents and I loved sending cards to all my friends--both e-cards and the old fashioned paper kind. And yet...

November came and went and I did nothing to prepare for my favorite time of the year.  Molly didn't feel well.  She was scratching and biting herself until she bled.  The poor cat looked forlorn.  

And I didn't feel so well myself.  My joints ached and I had no energy.  And my skin was even more broken out than usual.  Murphy was hiding so well that I could not find him; he seemed withdrawn.  Only Maks was his usual lively self.

Finally I realized that Murphy, Molly and I were missing Monty.  Maks had only known him for a brief time, but I had loved him for seventeen years.  The vet could find no physical reason for Molly to be hurting herself, but I think I understand.

Molly is better now and Murphy is not hiding as much.  And I finally decorated my cottage, wrapped the gifts and sent out my cards.  I had a beautiful Christmas with both my daughters, their families and their dogs and cats.  I went to Christmas Eve services at Christ Church and its sister, the Center for Spirituality at San Pablo.  I was surrounded by love and felt at peace.  But I think of Monty often and hope he is waiting for the time we can be together                           again.

Thursday, October 19, 2017


Monty's portrait

Monty came into my life when he was a kitten, having been left at the door of my animal hospital along with his brothers and sisters, all of whom were adopted until Monty was alone in the big cage, probably wondering why no one had chosen him.  He looked up at me with those big golden eyes and I couldn't resist.  I took him home immediately and he stayed for seventeen years.  Monty was not a friendly feline; I was the only one he ever loved.  His will was so strong he could have ruled the world, but he chose a quiet life.

Monty hated his carrier and he hated the car.  He really hated going to the Vet where sharp things were frequently stuck in his hip.  So any trip to my sweet, kind Vet, Melissa, was met with constant yowling and crying and screeching as soon as we began walking to the car.  He was able to keep up this unholy noise all the way to the animal hospital and my nerves were shot.  But as soon as Melissa entered the room, he became quiet and docile, hoping for the best.  The very worst vet experience we ever had came when Monty became constipated.  Very constipated.  The dreaded Enema was suggested.  Poor Monty had no idea what he was in for until the enema was inserted; then his golden eyes became huge round moons and he looked at me with shock and acute distress.  How could I have done this to him?

Our kindly Vet warned that the Enema would work almost immediately and preparations were made to handle the explosion of Dark Matter.  But nothing happened.  Monty's iron will refused to let go.  He looked at me with a sly expression; he would triumph in the end.  Alas, another Enema was prepared and inserted--Monty was outraged!  But he would win; he would hold it forever if he had to.  At last, poor Melissa left to care for a sick dog and I kept watch over my angry cat who felt completely betrayed.  I begged him to poop, but he turned from me and stared into the distance, his whole body....clenched.  Melissa returned expecting to find evidence of a massive explosion.  Nothing.

After filling his carrier with newspaper and paper towels, Monty was sent home, still victorious, with a dire warning from my frustrated Vet that Monty would no doubt explode in the car.  As we left Melissa was muttering, "This has never happened before.  I can't imagine....why won't he go?"
We were both silent on the way home as I waited for the nuclear blast which would no doubt be heard in Palatka.
But silence reigned.

When he was let out of his carrier at home, Monty calmly walked to the water bowl and drank, then he nibbled a little food.  He shot me a look, letting me know who was in charge and then settled down for his afternoon nap.  I was defeated and I knew it.  Downhearted, I went to get the mail.

When I returned, a pungent odor filled my home.  Monty was strolling down the hallway from the litter box.  His golden eyes met mine and he made a small sound.  I knew what he was 
saying.  "I poop when I want to poop."

I trudged to the litter box, knowing what lay ahead for me.  We shall draw the curtain of charity over the sight
that met my eyes--a war zone of gigantic proportions.


Friday, June 2, 2017


When I moved into my imaginary cottage three years ago, there was no garden--nothing but the big tree pictured above.  The side garden had several ugly dying plants and big metal things for power and cable.  I was not encouraged.

I'm very good at scavenging so be careful when you put something out for the garbage, guys, because if you decide you want it back, I will have taken it. The big ceramic pot on the rusty (I love rust) holder was a major find.  Most of my pots were "found" objects, as were the rusty wrought iron chairs, the trellis, the bird bath and some of the plants.  Why would anyone throw out a live plant?  Well, they do so I revive it, give it a little Miracle Grow and put the plant in a bigger container (which I found by the side of the road.)

 All the ground cover plants that you see simply grew down the side of their pot and across the garden  The pot of flowers on the left came from a gift card from Home Depot. I bought soil and flowers; I had a pot! 

The lacy tree in
the back of the picture began its life in my garden as a puny sprout which grew and grew until I had to remove it from its pot and plant it. 

But the loveliest thing in my garden appeared of its own accord last night--a fawn. I saw him in the glow of a street lamp placidly 
          eating the shining leaves.

My own little Bambi will not be repurposed; his reason for being is to bring beauty into
                   the world.