Archive for February, 2010

This morning I pried my eyes open, promptly wanted to die and then heard my beloved’s voice, “Look, it’s snowing.” Those were some of the sweetest words this morning. Like magic the suburbs were being covered in a fine fat layer of snow flakes. Everything was silent, it looked absolutely beautiful. By the time I crawled out it had all melted away and the morning magic had faded. But oh to be up briefly with my love and experience one of those special moments.

Spring is so very close, I’m going to say that Spring is here and any snow or ice that may come belongs to the Spring and not the Winter. Most of March will probably be wet and clammy; that warmish cold moisture that comes from too much rain and not enough bright sun.

I put Misty Cosmos up on Etsy for sale and hope the cabochon will add to the cachet of my shop. I get lots of looks but no buyers and that is frustrating. I’m about to put another collage pack out for sale and hope that looks good with the others.

I came across a bunch of old vintage booklets and hope to be able to sell pages of them for scrap booking. These are scientific publications and while I will keep the ones that talk about the granite of Kansas and loam of Norfolk, 1902 publications on crop rotation are not incredibly relevant. I tell myself this because even the thought of cutting up books and pamphlets still makes me cringe. If it wasn’t for indoctrination from old Girl Scout collage projects I would hesitate with magazines too.

I strongly recommend going to You Tube and seeing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n57-JR4hKvg This is a wonderful example of folks who decided to start picking up a camera and seeing what they could do with it. After years of this Rick and Sandy are the video recording life of MAGMA and WNCROCKS. I can not say enough about all of Ricks very hard work with WNCROCKS and MAGMA. Almost every single person in that first video are core members who make rock hounding a wonderful joy. We are a Southeast club but have members all across the US and this video not only helps to show off the geologic wonder that is Graves Mountain but also the type of fantastic people that are rock hounds.

I cary my dopping sticks with me on the off chance of hitting the grinding wheel while near the NC State Crafts Center. The problem is carrying them safely without resorting to a tackle box. While the stone is still being ground down I keep the dopped stick in an old eye glasses case. My other trimmed stone to be ground is kept in another case. Both cases fit in my purse and are great at keeping everything safe and tidy without lugging a tackle box around or risk breaking and scratching from getting banged around. Once the stone is complete you can also keep them wrapped in those cloths inside another eyeglasses case. Lets face it how many can a family of two wrack up over the years if you both wear glasses? The answer is a lot of those little cases laying around with old glasses inside that not even Mosses would recognize. Donate the 10 year old glasses to unfortunates that need eye glasses over style and use the cases for something other than collecting dust.

Well our wonderful heat god, the kerosine stove broke tonight, and with that subtle feel of snow for early March. My toes are cold and I have consumed more chocolate than dinner. (Feel free to read in “that time of the month”) I wanted to share more about the familiar magic of sewing and share a recipe or two but my continued good humor and bonhomie are fading fast.

Be well and stay warm until Spring brings together the cold song of Winter and the hot chorus of Summer

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Welcome to the Candle Moon and the Horn Moon of February. The Romans set aside this month as a month of cleanliness and atonement; the word is februa “to cleanse.” And
Lent started yesterday with Ash Wednesday a day for contrition and reflection. We also entered the Year of The Tiger this past Sunday, the 14th, with the Chinese Calendar.

I am finally awake enough to sit and type up everything that has been going on. Shameful perhaps but while I am unemployed I get used to having my afternoon nap and now that I am working again I am a zombie once I get home. Yes, the exhibit is actually excellent, the children and parents are all enjoying it. We are all talking about trying to take trips to find fossils and the biggest challenge is picking a day we all have off.

The strange paw prints in the front of the yard are from a fox. We saw it last night as it crossed the side yard in the night time darkness lit by the street lamp on the corner. How wonderful to finally see who our night time visitors are.

Now I love my rocks and enjoy fossils and flip over cook books but one of the favorite other hobbies is needle work. Following a pattern is pretty difficult for me and not the fulfilling project my mother found it. Several years ago I made a heavily decorated Christmas stocking for my sweetie pie. Several of my friends said that my embellishment was excellent and the embroidery was prime “primitive American”. These friends are some of the most incredible needle workers I have ever met and are members of the Embroiderers Guild of America. My pride sky rocketed. Almost every time I go over for tea and girl talk, there is another beautiful sample of needle work on the coffee table: hand made lace, stump work, silk embroidery, crazy quilting, and other feats of needle work prowess. It amazes me that my Dear Friend can be hesitant or even shy about her work, yet we all can have bouts of nervous modesty with what we can do.

I am very proud to announce that this Dear Friend has finally made an instructional guide for beginning stumpwork. This guide is free and is the first installment in a series. Dear Friend is computer savvy and has given tons of ways to down-load the information and the patterns. If you want to try some fancy needle work that will impress the H*ll out of people and can be done in the evenings, got to her site http://stitchingwithashimmy.com/2010/02/12/jacobean-design-in-stumpwork/ (If you note the shimmy part of the address she also Belly Dances and as a student and peer of hers I can say that the lush hour glass figure is wonderful and lovely. Her dance troop absolutely blows people away with their whimsy and talent. It is the love of dance and physical expression that pours forth from every dancer and just adds to the visual beauty.)

I would like to sing the praises of faithful and loving spouses. My husband is frantically painting what must be hundreds of 28mm miniatures and still finds time to help maker dinner. He goes on fossil trips with me to PCS Phosphate in Aurora, NC even though he would rather watch paint peel. Many years ago he took me to dig crystals in SC for our Anniversary and cooled his heels for hours in a small town while I merrily dug. Now I have started to work again and the house is ankle deep in pet hair and this Saturday he will go to competition all day when I could use help with taming dust bunnies. I don’t care. Of all the loving times he has spent carrying my rock bucket I am more than willing to have My Warhammer General come home happy. Some events I go with him and support him quietly while he plays even though tactics games are not mu cup of tea. ( read paint pealing) Supporting the one you love is a way of showing love and strengthening a relationship: I like helping paint his miniatures and he uses some of my rocks for his displays.

The days are getting longer and soon the warmer winds will blow across our barren gardens and trees. Hold in our memories the frozen days and snowy nights so that the May heat will be tempered.

Be well

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The wind can blow!! Boy howdy have the winter winds been whipping past us with a vengeance. Even in my mighty Lovey (in reality my sedan) toodling down the highway the gusts want to blow me into another lane. The year’s early sun is so very warm and just comfy. The weeds in my garden are happy with it and are still doing a jig in my herb beds. This past summer I managed to sprout four Moon flower plants and I hope the roots have survived and will push up the exotic tropical flower come summer.

My petrified palm wood cab is really lovely and I found that it took pretty well to a high shine. The shine and the muted colors that make it so lovely to look at make it a pane to photograph. I had to take twenty pictures of it before getting three maybe four that will do. The main trick was to take the picture without any overhead light and let the flash do all the work. I would love to see this put into a brooch and decorated with silver or rose gold. Hopefully I can put it on Etsy along with the others. As far as problems goes, difficulty photographing is far better than it turning out to be just plane ugly.

Woo-hooo! The pain is gone! It may have taken X-rays and a very early morning trip to the chiropractor but the pain is gone. I was getting kerosene at the gas station and suddenly realized my face was not half squinched up and I didn’t look like a slightly cuter version of Quasimodo. With the M word gone the sun is warmer, the birds are cuter, and the husband is more handsome.

The special exhibit Megaladon is going to be fantastic. the sheer size of the beast is well represented and there is a place where you can research the type of tooth you may have. This exhibit is going to be wonderful and really falls within the realm of natural science. What really makes me feel so very proud is that between our future paleontologist and I, the case in the class room featuring fossils is going to be filled up. Some of my rocks will be on display as an educational tool. There will be petrified rock from Durham, fern fossils from Georgia, Savannah river agate, and fossil bits from Aurora NC. Once again I have to thank the generous folks at Martin Marietta for some of the Coastal plain conglomerate samples.

I want to share with people my absolute love of cook books. I am not a veteran cook or even a particularly great cook. What I love are the books that come with them. My Mother had a small shelf in my childhood home that held the most amazing window into exotic and foreign worlds, far away places and amazing celebrations. It was her cookbook shelf. Two years ago the great treasure I found was The Nancy Drew Cookbook by Caroline Keene. The first book was actually my sister’s but Mom let her put it in with her cookbooks. Now I have my own copy and it brings back all those happy memories like old friends come to visit. The recipes aren’t half bad if you have the mind to try something that young girls would like to cook. Or a young boy, he will thank you later when he can woo young ladies by saying “I can cook.” Quite frankly I cringe when young people can barely eat without a microwave and flash frozen food.

I am off to help my amazingly hot husband paint Warhammer Fantasy miniatures.
Thanks for visiting, Be Well.

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Howdy do Everybody,
The coffee pot is nice and hot rite now and it is a soft grey day of cold temperatures. The heating has been struggling to warm the house all morning and I still have on my beloved’s thermal hoodie and athletic socks.  I just turned the heat down; if I’m going to be cold I might as well save money doing it.  Once again Raleigh and her surrounding lower Cities have dodged the snow bullet.  My sister who is blond, skinny, and successful in her Gov. job got over two feet dumped on her near DC and this is the closest revenge I can get on her for being so near to perfect.  Her wonderfully wholesome husband shovels out the driveway constantly so there is still no just revenge on them because he is building up muscles, cardio, and the “My Honey is Wonderful” points. Their dog is even adorable.

I am going over my plant and seed list in my head and am almost looking forward to the Bengay that will follow putting in our garden come spring.  Better than any American lineament cream are sticking plasters from Yunnan Baiyao, a Chinese company. My acupuncturist has slapped these on me at different times and they are unbelievable.  They even work after being in the shower and they slip like a piece of paper under your clothes.  I have no idea what is in these little wonders as I do not read Chinese and after getting some of my Chinese herbs translated I don’t want to.  Traditional Chinese medicine has some mighty odd stuff like any ancient herbal tradition but it works and I love my Doctor for it.  Lets be honest, unicorn horn was not taken off of the must have list for Apothecary shops until the late 1800’s; being replaced by sulfa drugs and the forward march of science.   And now science is reaching back in history and discovering that there is something to all those old roots and seeds.  As long as they don’t research unicorn horn beyond the placebo effect I will be happy.

Love is in the air along with all the Debeer’s ads for diamonds. After all you don’t really love her if you don’t shell out tons of money on diamonds and flowers and eat beans and rice for months afterward.   Do not get me wrong, I adore jewelry and find this so very romantic but I know I am loved without us going broke.   Creativity can be more seductive than roses.  Does your beloved actually enjoy cooking?  Basil symbolizes love and good wishes, fennel flattery, marjoram joy,and rosemary remembrance: tell your beloved you want the best of love and happiness to be remembered forever.  Does your sweet heart like massages and foot soaks? Lavender is for Devotion and virtue, roses are love, pine is humility, sweet pea is pleasures: tell your beloved that it is your pleasure to give them humble devotion and love.   Now if the dog house is where you are headed without the dozen roses and box of chocolates, do it.   If the classic duo still will not get you out of trouble then off to diamond and gold land you go.  Should your wallet weep uncontrollably just driving by a jewelry store: Today’s economy has reliable pawn shops swimming with certified sparklies at lower prices, many local gem and mineral clubs have wire wrappers and metal smiths who would only be too willing to sell you an original work of art for a decent price, and some auction houses have distinct heirloom or antique pieces that are for purchase at reasonable prices.   Do all my suggestions require leg work?  Why, Yes they do. If this year is already got you frustrated, stymied, or finds you finished then you can start on next year.

Today is my first day without a six hour or more migraine in five days!!!   I have done the Happy Dance many times already.  I used to get the M word on average four times a week lasting twelve hours or more.  The first official onset of this private hell was on 9/11/01.  I remember sitting in my dark apartment with a pillow over my head while my mother yelled at me about planes crashing into the Twin Towers.  Mom was not actually yelling but I still cannot get over the eerie coincidence that while my head was fracturing under an invisible vice, thousands of souls were arriving at the Pearly Gates at one time.  This was also three to four months after a car wreck on a drizzly road that, without the Grace of God, I should have gone over the guard rail and been a gory puddle in traffic below. (WEAR YOUR SEAT BELT!!!!)  It took five years for a chiropractor who specializes in the atlas area of the neck to find that my head was sitting crooked.  Now I can say that five days of Migraines is not normal for me and is an inconvenience as well as pain in my life.  Please, if you have been in a car wreck, severe fall, or nasty tumble and are now starting to have migraines: Go see a chiropractor that specializes in fixing the atlas.

(For those who do not know what a migraine is: Does light hurt?  Sound hurt?  Sudden movement make you want to vomit?  Your depth perception not work well?   Eye strain severe?  Feels like a hot line of PAIN from the back of your head through an eyeball?  Lasts for over four hours? Is worse than any hang over and you do not drink any more?   If you can answer yes to any two or more of these then research migraines and cluster headaches and get yourself to a doctor or chiropractor.)

As the days of February begin to slide away from grey to grey let us remember that the Earth simply sleeps. Water and plants dream and seep through the soil and wait for the true warmth of the summer sun.  Brace our hearts and minds through the cold winter months; facing cold death and chilling destruction with the firm resolve that life and beauty swirls about us and will somehow take hold and grow once more.

Be well, be safe, and be true.

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I went to cut some yellow sard today and I would like to officially say that all rock is not created equal. There is rock and then there is really hard rock. Before anyone tries to reach through the ether and pat me on the head and explain Moh’s Scale of hardness to me, I flip the ethereal bird at you. I am perfectly aware of good ol’ Moh and his scale. There is after all a Grand Canyon of difference between corundum and diamond and only a backyard stream between quartz and feldspar. Some agates are harder than others and this stuff is very hard, reminiscent of Bloodstone. It could prove to be picture sard and I have my fingers crossed that it is. Right now I am trying smaller cabs that use a ten penny nail for a dop stick. The red slurry as it flys off the wheel makes me think of blood but its not gross like horror movies. I wonder if it is how potters feel when the clay is moving and sloshing across their fingers and hands.

The cabochon I finished is petrified wood and instead of being the classic polka dot look of the palm wood it is a patterned flow of grey and brown dots that look like a hazy oval picture of of the universe: Misty Cosmos.

I would love to share the weather and lots of pithy sayings with you all but for tonight it is just another cold rainy night. Life is a little dark right now and confidence is an iffy prospect. We all have these days and some of us weeks. The trick is to try your hardest not to let it become a continual string of weeks because then you are having “one of those months” and those absolutely suck.

My intention is not to depress you into a sullen funk so I leave you with the reminder that as the sun rises every day there is also the moon to bathe us in its soft glow during the night.
Be well.

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Woohoo!! Sir Walter Wally the official groundhog for NC saw his shadow and we will have more winter. In reality we need the winter weather and hope to God the ticks and weeds die off. Can a wood chuck really tell the weather? This is an American thing and we stick to it with unhindered adoration. Puxatonic Phill is the most pampered wood chuck in all of creation and probably has no real idea what cold weather is in the first place. Wally is cossetted and cared for all year long and I feel sure that when he is officially brought out of his temperature controlled house and stuck onto a cold stage with a whole bunch of strangers with cameras and noisy traffic he has his once a year flash back and waddles back to safety as fast as he can. And that means going back to his cary-cage and being put back in his warm enclosure with lots of toys and food and water and cute little interns to pet him. Now I actually take a lot of stock in what Wally does because the one year he decided to preen and pose in front of all his admirers and perhaps make a break for it and escape into the unknown wilds of downtown Raleigh, we had a warm and sunny spring that came shortly after Wally strutted his stuff.

My rock trip for this weekend was canceled because the mine manager said there was still snow at the bottom and he was unsure abut this weekend. I absolutely love Martin Marietta because they are some of the few active quarries around that will let rock hound clubs come in on the weekends. I have yet to meet a grumpy, rude or mean member of Martin Marietta. Only die hard rock fanatics go to open pit quarries because they tend to be just that: big grey pits. I am hopeless because I can’t wait to be surrounded on all sides by the great grey stone walls with water trickling down into pools and seeing the blue sky above me. I am well acquainted with these mines here in the south and thanks to Martin Marietta I hope to continue the love affair. Just as my husband has a love for WWII and ruins cheesy movies by yelling “That’s not a German tank! That’s a Russian that came out near the end of the war” I can ruin them by yelling “That’s not a dessert valley! That’s an old pit mine… Oooo, look at the calcite.”

Even though I love the winter I do hope it warms up. If it warms up the coyotes will stop breaking into the back yard and setting my dog off at two in the morning. I live in the rural suburbs but the burbs none the less. We saw the dog like foot prints in the snow on the deck and I can guarantee you our fuzzy princess had not been let out yet. The other times she becomes our early warning system is when the dear are in the front yard. This tends to be the four in the morning barking. I saw the prints in the dirt myself so I know I am not hallucinating at four in the morning. Plus my beloved husband dutifully gets up every time and checks the yard while I fall back asleep in safety and warmth. My job is to warm his feet when he gets back into bed and I do so well I might add.

My job hunt continues frustratingly and the fullness of our bank account can be seen by whats on the stove for dinner: it’s beans tonight. My husband cooks more meals than I do and he does a lot more than just opening a can. Beans for dinner is probably why he cooks more than I do plus he would starve to death when I have migraines if he didn’t cook. I guarantee you nothing wins a woman over faster than when she is laying in bed with a pillow over her head and a bucket on the trash can and you come home and rub her neck and forehead out with massage oil and whisper sweet nothings like “I’ve started a load of laundry, honey.”

Well, here’s hoping someone wants mixed media collage packs and cabochons on Etsy and buys from me so we can get groceries and I’m not wasting my time taking umpteen gillion pictures on the camera of fabric pieces and marble slabs.

Be well and listen for the coyotes to howl.

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