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I love, love, love my playroom!

I turned around and Sophia was snapping this picture. :)
The picture above shows about 1/4 of it (the play room). It's huge but my stuff is still overflowing into my dressing room. 

(I know - it's ridiculous to have a dressing room. But what else do you do with a 5 bedroom house)?

And isn't it just WAY cool that Sophia loves the camera. I let her use it whenever she wants to...mostly, and she's very careful with it and is getting doggone good at taking pictures. She loves to take pictures of herself.

I've been in it (the play room) for hours nearly every day since we returned from the States. Sophia's always in there with me when she's here which makes it even better.

Anyway, I'm trying to use up my $20 worth of stuff that I bought at yard sales while I was gone and paid $372 for the extra luggage.

Where is my head sometimes?
Well I did also come home with NEW stuff: 6 jars of peanut butter, 6 pants hangers, 2 boxes of damp rid, 8 energy saving lightbulbs, sweetener for my coffee, 2 bolts of wonderunder, a big bag of Craisens, a huge bag of pistachios, a 12 or 16 pack of AA batteries, some new books and CDs, a 3 foot tall alligator...

Jerry's been wanting an alligator to sit next to him in his truck when I'm not along.
(oh wait a minute - he was part of the yard sale stuff ((though I actually bought him in a thrift store))), 

continuing with the list...bras for Hillary, tools and welding supplies for Jerry and...I think that's about it. Oh yeah, I got a couple toys for Sophia.

It probably wouldn't have cost $372 to have it all bought in the States and shipped here to Colombia (not anywhere near it - probably)  - but I don't want to even think about figuring it out.

Although, honestly, I checked into buying thread from Superior Threads and a few spools would cost a minimum of $40 to ship down here. 

But guess what?!? 

Last night when Hillary and I were shopping downtown Barranquilla, 

picture of the skyline from the shopping center

I found thread for 30 cents a spool for the small ones and just under $2 for a huge spool!!! Thirty CENTS!!! It's polyester (no label so I don't know who makes it) but I've been using that (poly) off and on and I lay down a LOT of thread when I'm making studio quilts. I stupidly didn't buy any with the reasoning that I wanted to check my colors before buying more of the same which I tend to do. But...I will go buy some to see how my machines like it and...I'm just sure it'll be fine.

So anywho...I'd really have to be a savvy, SAVVY shopper and postage calculator to make shipping anything to this country affordable.

And for the cost of luggage on the plane, I could have bought a LOT of peanut butter. 

And all that other stuff. 

Except wonderunder which I can't get here.

Oh Well.

On a positive note...

Yesterday and today, I made invitations for Sophia's upcoming Birthday Party. 

Our little girl is gonna be THREE years old on November 22nd. It's incredible to think how fast the time has flown by. I don't know how it's possible to love her any more, but I do with each passing day. And I'm SO glad to be here with her.

Look how tall she's gotten...

And how cute Hillary looks with her hair cut. :)

When I get the information from the kids, I'll print it on card stock and sew the little quilties on the front of the invitations. She didn't need quite that many but I got carried away and will let Sophia pick the ones she likes best tonight when she comes to spend the night.

I also made more contact cards...

One of these days I might get back into the business end of bohemiannie! art.

The Alegria Lady just came by. 

That's a bowl of candy on her head and she walks around yelling - in her beautiful voice - alllllleeeeeegrrrrrriiiaaaa. Which means...


Don't cha just love that?!?

I'm gonna go get happy - er.


Ready To Roll!

Jerry bought tires for our Land Rover yesterday!!!

That means we'll be mobile soon...I think.

We bought this truck in June

after looking for a couple weeks at this one and that one but
we don't actually own it yet.

It's a 1978 Land Rover which is something Jerry has always liked and I love it. And it was born the same year we met and married. :) And it reminds me of Square Tires which is the truck Jerry owned when we met.

In Colombia, paperwork - or any type of business conducting - takes time. 

Lots of time. 

And lots of patience. 

I've been challenged with patience learning all my life. 

When do you think I'm ever gonna get it?

It's been four months now - FOUR MONTHS - and the paperwork still isn't complete.
I'm not sure I have the story straight because when I think about it, I just get uptight and impatient and don't listen...but it goes something like this...

Back when it was born, the truck didn't have to be "put into" the transportation system. 

That system has changed. 

I suppose people that didn't choose to do the paperwork were not penalized so the owner never had it done. 

Now - if you buy an automobile it's automatically "put in" the system. 

The truck was originally sold and lived in another city - Yarumal - which is just north of Medellin and a few hours south and a little west of us.

None of the mapping programs could calculate directions from here to there so I gave up trying to figure out how far away it actually is.

The lady who owned the truck moved to Barranquilla - from Yarumal - but chose not to register it here - which is ok - but it meant that she had to return (physically) to Yarumal to pay the taxes every year. Or have her family do it. Which is also ok because she has family there.

Unless you choose to change it, automobiles stay registered in the city where the paperwork was first done.

So...we are now at the mercy of her brother in Yaramul who doesn't really have a vested interest in getting the paperwork done to have the truck 'put into' the system. (She's getting on in age and doesn't want to make the trip south). 

We're also at the mercy of ...the DMV - which is a ridiculous thing to call it here, but for lack of a better word...the DMV figures - if she didn't worry about getting the paperwork done way back when, then why should they be in any hurry now.

The man that we actually bought the truck from never had it registered in his name (but knew the original owner) so he didn't worry about all this stuff. He just drove the truck as though he'd borrowed it.

When he sold it to us, we had our attorney friend Shirlley write up a contract with specifics because:

The owner wanted half down - with us taking possession - and the other half paid when the paperwork was complete. 

We figured a couple weeks.

Go figure.

So...we've had this cute little truck in the garage for four months - FOUR MONTHS - but haven't wanted to put any money into until it's legally in our name.

It needed a fuel pump so we gave in and bought a Universal pump back in August just to be able to start it up.

It has totally dry rotted tires that my dear, safe hubby (he's a little obsessive compulsive about safety these days) didn't want to go to the end of the block on.

But yesterday we caved.

Jerry went out to buy tires and rims and he is at this moment happily working in his el garaje.

And he proudly bought tail lights today on his way home from a doctor appointment - all by himself!

We're gonna be ready to roll any time now.


Now to work on that patience thing because traffic here is CRAZY!!! 

The buses facing us have the green light.




Okey Dokey Now...

I've worked on my book all weekend but don't feel like I've gotten very far with it. What I did do was organize, sort, & straighten every thing I touched in the play room. 

It's almost as enjoyable as making art!

For instance, when I was looking for cabochons, I got out my supply of little bitty zip lock baggies (I had those sorted into size from another day) and had a blast just looking at all of them (not the baggies, the cabochons) - putting the diamond shapes, the clear glass, the octagonal, the white, the rhinestone, etc into little piles and bagging them up. Next time I want one, I'll know what I have and it'll be a zip to find them.

The bagged items here were done way back when. This is just a pix of some of the items I gathered to work on this project.

The problem with my obsessive compulsive disorder - if that's what you want to call it - is that it's time consuming and takes me away from the thing I want to do most...which is make art.

But...I don't think I'm obsessive about it although my family might tell you I am. They'd be exaggerating excessively. 

It might be a little compulsive - that need desire I have to organize, but I prefer to believe I just like things to be...



Growing up, the old adage 'A place for everything and everything in it's place', had to be followed with six kids in the house.

And who says it's a disorder. I think it's an order. I like things to be ordered. Orderly is good. It keeps my mind at peace.

Which brings me back to my book.

On this page...

I started by trying to mix colors (to paint what used to be white batting sticking out) to match the color which is on the flip side:

I was a little off but I still like it. That weird pinkish heart - which you can barely tell is a heart - was done before I added more orange paint to the mix. I'll cover it up with something later.

Anywho, I've been writing down quotes and phrases that come to mind with the word peace in them. When I made the colorwash cross, The Prince of Peace was definitely on my mind so I spent a couple three hours looking for letters.

You wouldn't believe the collection of letters I have. Stencils, and I mean lots of stencils, stamp sets with different fonts and sizes, and stickers that I won't be able to use if I give Sophia a sheet of them every time I see her. Thankfully they were already organized or I'd still be in there.

I played around with stamps and stencils on practice fabric (which will eventually be used in a project) but nothing showed up quite the way I wanted it to - so I chose gold stickers.

Then, when I was looking for those cabochons mentioned above, I came across these little iron on thingys and put one in each corner. (Look at the picture - I can't explain it any better than that).

That page might be finished.

I also worked on lettering for my hamsa page...

Which turned out way too bright. I have some antique-ing ink that might help. Of course, Adirondack Inks are what got it looking like that in the first place. They started out as gold (paper) letters which I glued on. If I didn't think it'd leave a mess, I'd pull them off and start again.

The top of the background is a piece of a wool jacket onto which I free motion stitched that crinkly stuff you can get at Christmas time. 

The bottom, under the letters, is a piece of black satin sewn onto an upholstery sample that I sandwiched with batting to use when I needed to see if my machine was ready to go. You know...a practice piece.

The Hamsa was inspired when I was on a trip to Dade City with my dear friends Trish and Davida and saw a beautiful hamsa pendant. I really thought the artist was Michal David but when I just checked her website, there were hamsas - but nothing like what I saw. 

I made the hamsa out of felt as a little purse and will of course include something inside but it's a secret. 

I don't even know the secret yet. What's with that?!?

This page will probably be the cover:

I have dozens of bead letters but couldn't finish the quote without getting into three different sets. 

I spent almost a week - about a year ago - obsessively sorting my beads. I LOVE it that I can now find what I want within minutes.

You have to understand that about 75% of my art supplies come from yard sales and when I'd come home with my stash, I'd toss it all into a big bowl to sort later. Usually when the bowl was overflowing. 

I sure miss yard sales.

Yard sales are something I KNOW I'm compulsive about!

But I digress.

The gray panel at the top of that page is from a t-shirt I bought at Disney when Hillary worked there. Beneath that is a peace sign that used to be part of a sweatshirt I'd decorated for Hillary and sent to her when she lived in Germany. I bought the hand-giving-the-peace-sign stencil while I was in Kansas last week - shopping with Jerry, Bear and Winge  - and after stamping, stitched around it. And surrounding those are pieces of discharged fabric.

On this piece,

I used a broken necklace chain to divide the two pieces of fabric. I sewed it on my with trusty Juki and broke it a bit more but still like the way it looks. It took me OVER AN HOUR to attach the hearts to jump rings to the chain. I am so not into working with wire. 

And I so admire those that do it so well. Like my friend Trish. And Mary Hettmansperger. Trish doesn't have a website but check out Mary's if you like really funky, awesome metal jewelry.

Anywho, I had these little Scrabble-like pieces that I used for my sentence. They're smaller than the real thing as you can see in the picture. I was short one C (the big one in the picture) and broke into three of my Scrabble games to confiscate re-purpose the letters.

Hey...that's what I bought them for! 

And - I'm sure I don't have over a dollar in all three games. 

I miss those yard sales.

I think I mentioned in a prior blog post that the peace sign was done by laying a piece of jewelry (a peace sign no less) onto black fabric and spritzing it with bleach. 

If you try this, the best way to stop the bleach from eating up your fabric is to soak it in a little vinegar water. I just put a couple gulks of vinegar into a little tub of water and toss in the fabric for a few minutes.

I may be wrong about this because my memory isn't what it used to be (remember I have CRS), and I'm ready to get off the computer so won't research right now, but black dye baths are made by throwing the odds and ends colors together. This makes it very interesting when you discharge because you end up getting different colors - usually red and orange but often gray, or even blue. It's always a wonderful surprise.

I almost forgot. The little squares with the white circles (glue that will dry clear) in them along the edge of the page are the plastic pieces that the letters were stuck to before I cut them apart. I almost threw them away but figured if I used them HERE and NOW I could save them. It's sooo hard to throw things away.

Is that obsessive compulsive?

OCD is the fourth-most-common mental disorder, and is diagnosed nearly as often as asthma and diabetes mellitus


Let There Be Peace On Earth And Let It Begin With Me

I'm working on a book. An art book that will express my desire for peace on earth. 

Here are pictures of what I've begun - which will change dramatically as I work on embellishment.

You may recognize the middle part of this from pictures of a previous blog... 

The fabrics above, other than the piece in the center, were pieces that I'd discharged with bleach.

I gathered and attached pieces that I'd played/practiced techniques with for this one:

Here again, is a piece that I used bleach on, to discharge an old velvet curtain. Then I free motion stitched around the cross.

This is probably my favorite one, but it just didn't photograph well...

And here is another discharged collage:

And the instigator...this little color wash piece I did WAAAAY back in the early 90s before I thought I could. (Surrounded by current discharged fabrics).

Here they are laid side by side - not necessarily in the order they'll go in the book...

And here are the flip sides...

Gotta do something about that pink "flag".

I've named it, "Let There Be Peace On Earth And Let It Begin With Me".

Whenever I think about peace on earth, I always feel a little guilty because I can be such a bitch


There are many days and many times each day when the slightest thing can totally piss me off.

Do I take these opportunities to act like a mature, responsible adult? 


At least not always. (When Sophia is around I'm at my best).

I embrace pissiness. 

But I hate that I do that. 

So - there I am in a double, non-peace promoting frame of mind.

I'm pissed.

And I hate that I'm pissed.


And you know what that means...I'm attracting more of the same.

A couple three years ago I was at a yard sale where books were 25 cents each or 5/$1.00. I, of course, who love a bargain, found four books that interested me and grabbed a fifth just because it was a freebie - right? 

And came away with a life changer.

The book is about the Law of Attraction (you know...what goes around comes around) and I began to put it into practice in small ways - when I remembered to.

And wow! It worked for me. In big ways.

So...I find myself being reminded of that Law on a frequent basis and have looked into it quite a bit more - online mostly - since I bought the book, 'Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting', at the yard sale.

Between my bitchiness, 

Bear going off to war again 

and seeing a man shot dead last week, 


I'm resolved to work on peace. To attract peace.

Because you know it really does begin at home. 

It begins with ME.

All I am saying - is give peace a chance.


Home On The Range

Me again!

After this blog you won't have to hear any more about our time in Florida but it's such an awesomely cool, beautiful place that I don't know why you wouldn't want to. Hear about it that is. 

When we left Tampa Bay we headed south to Paradise. I LOVE SW Florida more than all the rest of it put together. They call it Paradise with good reason. Even the slums are beautiful in their own way. 

Cape Coral has over 400 miles of canals - more than Venice. About half of those canals lead out to the Gulf of Mexico and some of the most beautiful barrier islands in the world. 

I miss our little boat trips SO much. But I have hundreds of memories of boating that I will cherish forever. 

When we moved here to Colombia, we gave our boat to Bear and Winge - who now use it on the lakes around Manhattan, Kansas. We got to see it last week while we visited. 

Sniff, Sniff.

But I digress.

We stopped at Houlihan's and met some friends for dinner. I love their Chicken Chop Chop. The time went by way too fast but I'm so happy that Carol & Carl, Jeri & Jim, Karen & Dennis, Joni, and Joyce all took time to visit with us.

Here's a pix with Karen, Joni and I. They're both artists too. Actually all of the women present were.

Joni has a great shop on Fort Myers Beach where she sells her paintings of local scenes. Go visit when you get a chance. It's across the street, diagonally from McDonalds right after you cross the bridge.

We stayed with Vickie and Chris in their new home in the Cape and totally relaxed. They've just moved so Vickie was ready for a day to chill which is just what we did. After all the running I'd done for the past couple weeks I was ready too. 

Vickie is an artist who paints and is dabbling with mixed media and sells her work mostly on Pine Island and a couple shops in Cape Coral. She is extremely talented! 

All of my friends are. :)

One of my favorite paintings of hers is of three classy, nude women sitting around a table drinking coffee. Or maybe it was wine. The ladies have on their makeup, hats, shoes, stockings and jewelry - but nothing else -and you can tell they're having a little gossip session and telling secrets. It's marvelous and sold before I had a chance to snap a picture or I'd show you here.

Vickie's house makes me want to live there. She has vignettes set up that make you want to come in and spend some time. 

The picture of the toucan, the Blood Lite sign and the furniture were all painted by her.

Her house reminds me of the Emporium mentioned in my last blog. I love it. The colors - the antiques and retro mix - are perfect. 

And it's perfectly comfy.

Sweet agrees...

That's their 821 pound doggie. 

I'm not exaggerating too much there.

He, and yes his name is Sweet, and yes he is, fell in love with Jerry and they cuddled on the sofa the whole time we were there. 

Jerry had no choice in the matter.

But the feeling was reciprocal.

After two nights there we hit the road again headed for our plane ride to Kansas City. We drove thru Alligator Alley and while I was sad to be leaving behind my awesome friends, I was getting really psyched about seeing my son, Bear and his wife - who is like a daughter to me - Winge...

Here's a cool picture I shot from the plane of what I think are sugar cane fields on the edge of the Everglades.

We arrived just after midnight to two happy kids and two tired parents! The first thing I saw when Bear took our stuff to our room was his gear...

It gave me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach but I will continue to believe that he will thrive in the Army. He's being deployed to Iraq for the second time next month and it's - oh - so - hard - to think about. I'll ask all of you again to pray for him - to pray for peace.

But in spite of deployment we had a great week. 

Jerry and I got up early and looked for yard sales and I found books and clothes for Sophia, more junk jewelry and I don't remember what else but it was a satisfying morning.

There was a great Farmer's Market downtown old Manhattan where we picked up the BEST gingerbread cookies in the world. I'd make that a regular stop if we lived there.

Actually, it's a really lovely town. It's nestled in the Flint Hills (yeah - hills in Kansas - I know) and many of the buildings are made of limestone which I think they dig out of them thar hills. They're breathtakingly beautiful.

The kids had a birthday party to attend that night so Jerry and I got to hang out and chillax in front of the big screen tv. They have netflix so we had our choice of hundreds of movies to watch.

(I prefer to think of them as bull horns).

On Sunday, 10-10-10, we went on a hayride at the pumpkin patch where we each picked our own little pumpkin! 

But to get to the patch, we had to go through the corn maze. We got smart real fast (actually it was after getting lost a couple times) and stayed at the rear of our little group so they could be the ones to make all the wrong turns.

But we made it out. And conquered four little punkins to boot.

They had a 'corn cannon' which we all took turns shooting. Winge and the boys did pretty good, but I was, of course, the best shot.

After holding our noses past the petting zoo and dust dogs (the wind was blowing lots of chaff and dust around where they were cooking hot dogs on a grill), we headed home and had a wonderful time watching tv and eating spaghetti.

The next day we carved pumpkins. I hadn't done that since I was a teenager. (Mine is supposed to be a vine with flowers). And yes, the kids bought an extra big one.

Are they cute or what?!?

I won't tell you what Bear named them even though it's funny - but a little disgusting.

Winge and I made a collaborative piece out of stuff I'd collected on the trip...

It's the beginning of a book that she'll work on while Bear is away in Iraq.

We ate out and shopped a lot, and just familied together. It was wonderful.

I want to go back.


Come Let Me Show You My Slides...

Got to tell you more about our trip to the US of A. 

These are fond memories  - actually great memories - and at my rate of speed, I'll have forgotten lots of it if I don't get it down in writing.

I have a bad case of CRS. (If you don't know what that is, email me). (I might not remember to tell you, but you can still try).

But I digress.

On Monday morning, we hit the road bright and early headed to Tampa Bay. We stayed with our dear friends, Trish and Gary and almost as soon as we arrived, Davida was coming in the door with ribs (by request) from the MOST wonderful rib place in Largo - actually in all of Tampa Bay. It's called Smokin Rib Shack BBQ and it is DEE-licious! I totally pigged out. 

On Tuesday we Three Spirits (Trish, Davida and I) hit the road to see what we could see. 

We started at the Beach Art Center at Indian Rocks Beach where my very talented art group, Tampa Bay Surface Design Guild, has an exhibition. It's totally worth going to see and free to get in the door!
My favorite stop though was 'the Emporium' (in Largo); a fantastic shop with re-purposed, up-cycled new and used furniture and really cool art. 

I loved it there!!! 

I talked to one of the artists, Caren Katzenburg, who's work is some of the most vibrant, exciting stuff I've ever seen. Here's her website...


She was very generous in allowing me to take pictures of her work which is so inspiring to me. As a matter of fact, the owners had no problem with me taking pictures throughout. Here are a few of them:

This is the side door from the beautiful garden.
Three Spirits
Well obviously I had to buy a mouse. No problemo fitting one of those in my suitcase.

Some or all of Caren's work.

This room was slightly more 'country'.

As you can see from this sampling of pictures, it's a wonderland. You gotta go if you can. At least look at their website... http://emporiumlargo.com/.

Later that night we met a few friends at Bamboozle (another one of my favorite places) a Vietnamese restaurant downtown Tampa. I could kick myself for not getting a picture of the whole group but here's a great one of Karrie, Trish and Davida...

Did you notice the closed sign on the door. I think they did that AS SOON as we left. Oh well, the food was delicious as usual and the company couldn't have been better. Thank you Trish, Davida, Karrie, Marlene, Sara, Dana and Jill for being there!

Then on Wednesday, after another awesome breakfast, we Three Spirits played with fabric and a new technique that I'd learned a couple months ago. Marlene gave me some velvet and we did a little surface design that turned out way cool. Here are their pieces...

In a week or two, when I get this trip out of my system (so to speak), I'll show you how the technique is done. You'll love it.

We each tore our pieces in half and passed to the right. We'll work on the other's pieces and then pass them on again until we deem them done. Does that make sense? In other words - we'll collaborate. 

We have NO rules which makes it fun, interesting and very challenging. We have no time-line either, which is a good thing since I live in Colombia and the cost of mailing anything is prohibitive

I'll post pictures as I go.

Later that afternoon, Jerry and I headed to Cape Coral and I snapped one last picture of Trish and Gary...

but mostly got the mailbox. That's one of Jerry's alligators sittin up there. :)

We passed Tropicana Field on the way south where the Tampa Bay Rays were losing to the Texas Rangers 5-1. Dang Darn it all.  

Here are a couple pix I shot while crossing the Sunshine Skyway Bridge:

God Bless the USA

And the rest of the trip will have to wait because it's time for me to crash.

Nighty Night.