Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Look at the transformation. Tj and his fantastic crew finished their work. It is now up to us to find some cool exterior doors to put in and get those 2 big store front windows back in. People are trying to convince us to put new windows in. We just can't do that. Unless we break them before getting them back in. We are hitting all the salvage stores around. we will  paint the front plastered areas and the woodwork around the windows. or maybe a little Mosaic is in order. but, I'm really liking the building now. We aren't in a big rush to sell it either.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

No more nightmares

I've been kind of absent from my blogging. I've had a lot on my mind. I will say, I've had had my fill of plumbers, painters and all contractors. It started out with getting a plumber to hook up a washer and dryer. It started out 500.00 maybe a little more with the 1st guy. Found a guy to do it for 300.00 and did a so so job, bills not happy with it. Then finding a house painter....... Big fiasco. but, it's almost done. Then we had decided to sell the building, because it just needed to much work. It was crumbling in front. We had a stream of people looking at it. The front was a deal breaker . So what do we do. let it fall down, bulldoze it, But, that costs money too, or do we fix it. Spend some money and fix it. We had several bids, all way over the top. Then i think some one was watching over us. Tj Allen of Allen masonry came into our lives. He is a breath of fresh air. I can't tell you how wonderful i feel. My nightmares have disappeared. He's very affordable and fast and he knows what he's doing!!!!!!

So now, we'll see. Here is a before picture and i posted some work in progress pictures. Then I'll show you finished later. This last picture.... They tore ore out everything from the beam  down. dug down 4 feet and poured footings and built it up with block. We are putting the big windows back in and getting a new (old door). The east side is getting plastered. WOW!! If we can't sell it, It will be my studio... I'm naming it "Sows ear studio"      

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I'm here sweating away. It's the worst heat wave I've ever seen or felt. It goes on and on. Everything that Al gore said would happen, is happening. I know there are the nay sayers. But, Hey, it's right in our faces everyday and in every corner of the world. At this point, it doesn't matter why it's happening, or who to blame. Now it should be how are we going to deal with all these changes. The changes, they are a coming. I saw a sad documentary about a pacific island that is disappearing. All the people have to evacuate. Only know one wants them. They have no where to go. Sure makes you think.
But, despite all this heat I've managed to create another memory jug. It is a big one and very heavy. It went together a lot better than the 1st one. I knew what i was doing this time around. I think I'm going to find a cork for it and put a time capsule inside. Who made it, when and what was going on at the time. Then I'm going to seal the whole cork and lip of the jug with wax. I do think it came out pretty good, I'm very happy with it.      

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Mommas got indoor plumbin! Yippeeee.  Threw that old bucket in the trash. Now i'm back on track. It only took 2 months and 2 weeks to get it. Bill is never going to take on another home project , if i can help it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

little project

my latest mosaic tile project. I altered a picture of my sister and me, glued it into a small shadow box and topped it with a frame covered in mosaic tiles. Lots of fun to make.
I've been spring cleaning. Sharon, i might be seeing if you want some things. I really need to make some more room.
I found a painter for the house, he's coming the 1st week in may. and i'm still using the bucket in the basement. The bathroom is still not done. I'm not complaining though. He has been working on it pretty steady. Old fixtures, old plumbing, not always easy.  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Wow i can't believe it. Bill is finally getting a new tile floor in the bathroom. A new toilet was in order too. It's the only bathroom we have so i hope it goes smoothly. The house is a mess and we are walking around all the bathroom fixtures. Claw foot tub, new (old) oval sink and a old barber chair.We are putting in black and white octagonal tiles. I can't wait it's long overdue.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

new treasures

Iowa city had their annual antique show at the fair grounds. I usually find a few things. I walked in the door and spotted this beautiful shell. It was huge. I think i was born in the wrong part of the country. I can't get enough shells. I love them all. So needless to say, i walked out with it. I also found a cool hat holder. It must have been a store display or something. I bought 2. I have a small collection of vintage hats. The dust takes over to fast so they will stay in the hat boxes.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

memory jug

Wow, Here it is! My 1st attempt at a memory jug. It's dog related. a memory jug for "Peanut" and "Jimi" . It pretty small. but, now i feel a bit more confident at doing them.But really know Before i start another one I need more stuff. It was hard getting the oil paint patina on evenly.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

new collage

I just finished this one. I've been thinking for a while What can i put in this cool folk art clock case (besides a clock). I came up with this. A nice picture of dad and a few symbols that represent him. He was a druggist and stamp collector, plus many more things. But it came out pretty good. It needs some sort of trim around it. I'll put bill on that.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I have a admirer

LOOK at the beautiful Valentine i got from my friend Gayle. It came today. What a unexpected surprise. It is so nice,that I'm framing it and hanging it.Thanks so much sweet lady.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

new book

Well, it's not a new book. It's a new book for me. I had been in a creative slump. I'm getting in the groove again. This book is great. It gives you different methods for creating a collage background by laying and layering painting and using different things like stencils and modeling paste, heavy gel, found objects. Here are a couple of my 1st attempts . These are backgrounds only and aren't anything yet. So i know they aren't much yet. I just working on different products and techniques for now. It's fun so far. because it's a lesson for "let it flow" and it doesn't have to be anything. No pressure.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

warm and comforting

I haven't made a lamp shade for a while. but, i've made plenty in the past. These are a few that I've kept. Business was brisk for a time. It kept me very busy. A great winter hobby. The hunt for cool vintage laces and materials. trying different techniques. adding beads and ribbon embroidery. Then sitting in front of the tv set wrapping the frames and hand sewing everything. I taught myself. I couldn't even sew on a button but i learn to sew a lampshade. Where there's a will there's a way.
I love the warm and cozy feel they give off.

Monday, January 9, 2012

What we learned from this trip

Before we left for our trip. We quickly realized, it's not the kind of trip most people take. The reaction from friends and others was "Your going where"" and doing WHAT"? Your not going to stay in Cancun and drink margarita's on the beach? You know it's dangerous and people are getting killed down there. The drug cartel is everywhere. The people are dirty and nasty. You'll get car jacked. and robbed. Oh we heard it all.
We had been there before and loved everything about it. But, never rented a car before. We always stayed in budget hotels run by the locals. We weren't worried.
This time round it was a bit different. That part of the country was always poor, it was worse. We were the only travelers for days. We ran into more nice and genuinely happy people. They make do with what they have. They might live in a primitive way. That doesn't mean they aren't clean. The only ones we didn't trust wore police uniforms. They were scary.
The other difference was the markets. Last time was full of strange and unusual things from art to animals hanging (chickens, pigs) food and clothing. This time it was blocks and blocks of stuff made in china. I was breaking out in hives from the unnatural materials. It was so sad. CHINA , it's everywhere.
There were no tourists so they made no money. So if you can GO! It's a fascinating experience, the people are wonderful and it's beautiful.
The kindest thing that someone said to us was "You two are NOT tourists, you are travelers" You go out and want to learn about my people and our cultures. That was the nicest thing he could have said to us.
People are the same everywhere.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Oh the places you'll go, The people you'll meet

Everyday we would head out. We would see literally hundreds of men/boys riding bikes with big baskets attached. The bikes were leg powered or some would have motors and a canopy attached. They'd be parked along the busy roads wandering the ditches looking for wood, hunting for the food for the day. If people in the states think they got it bad, come here. These people are poor. They are also happy, friendly.Guadeloupe was being honored while we were there, shrines were everywhere. It was pretty cool. The picture i took of a particular one has a spirit coming from it. (or at least it looks like its does.)
We walked along streets and could see people living in these buildings with no doors or glass in the windows. Some with no roofs or thatched roofs. One room dwellings with cows and chickens living right in there with them. The women of the house cooks the food and washes the clothes with a big kettle in the middle of the room over a wood fire. Men gather and hunt, the women cook. and do it all over the next day. That's their existence. It's different from what we are used to, but, who's to say it's bad.

We decided to go to Celestune for the day to see the Flamingos. We rounded up a fellow with a boat and were waiting to see if other people would show up, to make it a little cheaper. I was sitting in a bar a while bill went out for a smoke. About 10 min. passed and he comes running in all excited , grinning from ear to ear." You'll never believe who i ran into , She's coming in to meet you". I'm at a loss. In walked a women, Cathie, this is Cindy and she lives here. She speaks ENGLISH!!! (You have to understand, bill and i have been talking very little to any one but, ourselves). Cindy was very very nice and gave us a lot of advice and a name of a hotel to stay at., if we wanted to stay an extra day. Cindy had a story, but, i have a feeling it wasn't the story she was telling us. She had a face like a road map. A little ruff around the edges. She said she was an artist. I do believe it may have started out that way.
We Found out that she moved there 20 years ago. Bill and i were saying "oh, how wonderful it would be to Quit your job and do what you love to do." Her comment was " You do what you NEED to do." I really liked Cindy a lot. I wish i could have talked to her more. We had agreed to meet later that night, but she never showed. I think she needed to turn some tricks. sad, but a reality.
We saw the flamingos and what an incredible site. The horizon was hot pink. We were able to get pretty close. We really loved this little fishing town and stayed a night. Highly recommend this place. TO BE CONTINUED....

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Exploring the backroads

Jorge, told us the best place to eat and was right on the money. Our hotel wasn't the best for food.The restaurant a little further down at "The Lodge" was cheaper and Tasted a lot better. We ate there everyday. On occasion another couple would show up.
He introduced us to Laura,she was the hotel "PR" person. We became pretty good friends. She'd tell us of places to go to experience the Mayan culture. Everyday a new map. "The puc route", small villages and smaller ruins. A place where pottery is made and the traditional clothing.We did that and drove to a large city called Campeche, It's a larger colonial city along the Gulf.
Campeche was crazy driving in. So we parked and walked as much as possible.
We found some school kids that helped us find a music shop. They were unbelievably helpful. They hung out with us for awhile and we noticed adults were looking at funny. Then it kind of dawned on me. Gulf city, age of consent is 14, sex trafficking is rampant. We were the only gringo's to be seen. They trusted us and Bill found his "Slipknot" cd. They interviewed us for their English class. We have discovered that if you need help in a foreign country, find a school kid. English is being taught. After this trip, we are going to invest in "Rosetta Stone" . Has anyone used it? continued.....

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Yucatan a Magical place

The 1st day at breakfast, we were approached by a man named jorge that said he would be are guide to the ruins. He was worth every cent. He gave a tour the made you feel a part of the mystery . I could just feel the energy that surrounded that place. Bill has always been in tune to things like that. Jorge turned out to be a good friend to have the rest of the trip. He told us he's been a guide for 40 years, spoke 5 languages. All self taught. He said a quide has to be a historian, singer, comedian, photographer,
philosopher.poet. He was all the above. To demonstrate the way sounds amplified in the ball court he belted out a frank sinatra song. He had everybody laughing.

back to the grind

Back from land of Sun and fun and relaxation. We had a wonderful relaxing, crazy and somewhat spiritual time on our visit to the Yucatan. The 1st strange thing was the plane was half full . Our pick of almost any seat on the plane. Then, we know from previous trips.Look out for the sharks,I'm not talking about the fish. We get out of the airport unscathed. The rental car is a brand new Nissan march, with only 12 miles on it.
We drove across the country to our hotel at Uxmal. Uxmal Hacienda, a very big and beautiful place located across the street from the second most impressive of the ancient ruins. The room was fabulous, and had been occupied by Caroline Kennedy in 1993. We used this as a base to travel somewhere different everyday. We put over1300 miles on our car. There were many days that i felt, we were the only people staying there. I'd go down to the hotel bar every day to see if was anyone new. We were the only one eating at restaurant, later in the week there were a couple of Europeans with maybe 1 that could speak a few words of English.
more tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


We are heading out to Mexico this Sunday. Flying into Cancun and renting a car and driving to the hacienda near uxmal. We will be there from the 11 to the 23 of December. I can't wait!!!! It will be pretty laid back, see the ruins and surrounding villages. visit the flamingo reserve. Flea markets in Merida.
We will be doing a 4 hour drive. advice given....keep doors locked at all times and don't drive at night. When we pull into a gas station make sure the meter reads zero before they fill er up. Also make note of EVERY ding or dent in the car before you take off.
That 's just common sense. It's all just common sense. Trusting your instinct, in other situations.
I also splurged and made the big switch. I bought an i
IMac. I'm still trying to figure it all out. Lots to take in. Bill is pretty bad at computers and is slow to embrace it. He was just getting used to the other one. I also got an IPAD to bring on the trip. Still no cell phone though. That's something i CAN live without.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy thanksgiving everybody!!

I know everybody loves the holidays. I am working. But, that's OKAY. I volunteer. The hospital usually is slow. But, transplants are always happening on the holidays. Someone asked why would that be. Well, maybe people feel more giving on the holidays. Or maybe they are always happening and since there are no scheduled cases there are just the usual amount of transplants. Those aren't scheduled. Let's just say "people are more giving during the holidays"
I know i will let them take everything that can be used. I am a donor. Why wouldn't you be. You can't take it with you. How many people do you know that have had one or need one. Lots of people that's a fact. Go on get on the organ donor list. You will make someones day "Someday".

Thursday, November 3, 2011

old man winter is almost here

We haven't had a big freeze yet. The leaves have turned. The bees have left the hives. I walked out the back door and my neighbors asparagus bed was glowing. It's a very old established bed. Beautiful!! Then my other neighbor just purchased a tumbler composter. I thought of getting one. He is finding out that it is a lot more work than they let on. I'll stick with my worm bin. Now that is easy.
Bill was out today collecting hornets nests. They can't be harvested till after a certain time. To assure they have left the nest. These are from past years. He did get a nice one today. He left it in the shed (just in case)to be sure they have left the nest.