Saturday, December 13, 2008

Santa smelled funny

Took the kiddos to the TJay's Union Christmas party. Brendan 'knows' the truth about Santa. He was, however impressed that Santa had a real beard. But then he told me that Santa really smelled funny. In what way, I asked. Like pee, he replied. I explained that it was from all the little kids that sat on his lap. (I hope...)

The Tree

The whole Christmas thing feel rather 'forced' this year. Thank god for the Grand kids...

Brendan -- my best helper ever!

Paulie -- who put up about 20 ornaments...all on one branch!


Seriously have trouble finding any Christmas spirit this year. Last night we had to send my dear, sweet Uncle Ivan to a nursing home.
Last Tuesday, after he didn't show up at Mom's, for her to pay his bills, we found out that he also never made it to his doctor's appointment. Mom tried to go to his house and the storm door was locked from inside. She had the police come and break in. Oncle Ivan was unconscious in his chair, probably for at least 24 hours. He was taken to St. John's, but they couldn't regulate his blood pressure, so they life-flighted him to University Hospital, where they had him in Neuroscience ICU for several days. Now, he seems to have lost the last 50+ years and it's terribly heartbreaking to see him this way.
Two weeks ago he was driving around town, going on bus trips to Mountaineer and Windsor casinos, still going to Union meetings (40 years at Ford Motors), taking care of his lovely house and yard, going to church and flirting with every lady he saw.
Now he's back in Soviet Russia, fleeing, on foot across the Soviet Union and Europe, running for his life, hiding from the Russians and the Germans, with his brother Rischka.

It's so unfair, for him to have to live those horrible times again! Why couldn't he be at a place that he was so happy with his beautiful wife Helga and their son Peter in America? He told me those stories so many times and I always meant to record the stories, so the little ones would know these amazing things about their great uncle.

Oncle Ivan last Christmas -- you gotta love a man that wears a shirt and tie with a jogging suit...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Seeing red!

I truly do not know how to deal with this. I spent almost 30 hours on the cement floor at PJ's doing the Celtic artwork (previous post). Hard, hard, hard job. I could barely walk for 2 days, when I was done.

Pat and Tommy had a contractor come in and do an acid stain on the unpainted part of the floor and a diamond coat to seal everything. The bastard signed his name to the border of my artwork in 5 inch tall letters with a Sharpie, along with his jackass sidekick, someone who goes by 'Bigfoot." Pat and I tried sanding off the names and I put cement stain over it before the sealant was put on, but Sharpies bleed and you can still see some of it.

What kind of a person would sign their name to another person's artwork?
To make it even worse, he's running around town telling people to go see the beautiful artwork that "HE" did on the floor at PJ's. As if that alcoholic POS could keep his hands steady enough...the bastard barely got HIS part of the work done in time because he's so deep into the bottle!

I'm stunned beyond belief. Has this happened to you? Do I have any recourse?
Did I mention that the bastard is my neighbor??
I saw him outside a couple of days ago and he tried to say hello. I put up my hand, looked away and kept walking. I literally saw red, my stomach started churning and it sounded like train was rushing through my head. I'm losing sleep and every time I think of it (which is a lot) I get nauseous. I used to be the most peaceful person -- now this crap is eating me up.

My latest canvas

My latest canvas is really hard -- as in a cement-kind-of-hard. It a Celtic border around the this basement room at P.J. McIntyre'ss which will be for private parties or a place for a more peaceful pint than the crowd packed main floor of the pub. They also want their logo on the floor and another Celtic knot at the base of the stairs. Now that it's done, my knees and elbows are shot. Ouch.
My raw canvas.
5 inch border all the way around the room and hall.
8 foot logo in the center of the floor. To give you an idea of the size -- that purple thing is the folded yoga mat that I used while lying on the floor for 3 days. Ouch.
The finished logo -- no quite dry. Done with Smith's cement stains.
The finished logo, after a contractor applied a diamond coat to seal it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I grew up on the East side of Cleveland and attended Collinwood High (when it was a 6 year school). I was there during the race riots in Cleveland and I remember cutting school to attend Civil Rights marches downtown. I remember thinking that I was quite the rebel when I brought my friend Pam Hamilton home to dinner. Amazing really, that my Dad didn't have a stroke -- I neglected to mention that Pam was Black...and that just wasn't done back then.

These things happened around the time of Martin Luther King's death and back then, during those tumultuous times, as a young girl, I was often disgusted with my fellow man. I kept that opinion of my fellows for many, many years. Tonight that all changed.

This election, I volunteered for Barack Obama's campaign, canvassing door-to-door. It was the first time I've ever felt compelled to get involved in politics and it was so very important to me. Technically, I'm still a German citizen, so I can't vote, but I had to do something!

Tonight as I started watching the returns, I was afraid for the worst. Based on my past experience, I suspected that many people were pretending to root for Obama, but when it came time to cast their secret ballot, they would show their true colors. God-- I've never been so glad to be wrong!! I didn't think I would see this in my lifetime and it has revived my soul.

I was tending bar tonight and just had a handful of people. As we watched the crowd in Chicago on TV, I think I could actually feel my heart swell -- is that even possible? All those faces! The joy, the hope, the pride in those faces -- it was overwhelming. I couldn't stop the tears. I'm still all teary-eyed as I write this. I'm so proud of all the people that had the vision to make this happen. Workers, volunteers, voters -- everyone! When Obama stood up there and said the victory belongs to us...(insert more heart-swelling here), no truer words were ever spoken.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Braving the Elements

The 'Braving the Elements' online exhibit was put together by Linda Minton and includes the Journal Quilts that were released from the juried exhibit or not finished in time. Mine was released. Linda and Van did a beautiful job on the online show. will take you to the exhibit. Lotsa eye-candy!

Breaking Traditions

Breaking Traditions Exhibit
curated by Lynn Krawczyk
Mine is the third from the right and third from the bottom.
Lynn also published a catalog/book at Blurb and I ordered one and received mine yesterday.
She did a beautiful job on the show and the book.
You can read more about it and see the whole exhibit online at

All pressed

Here's the wine press that TJay built for me as a Christmas gift a few years ago. Works just great

Holds about 40 pounds of grapes.
TJay and I pressed the cab and zin grapes today.
We made a major mess, but it was fun.

I can has hot dog?

I made a costume for Paulie.
He's got the cutest buns!
Note to self: next time, buy a pattern!

Getting organized

TJay built me some more shelves for my fiber studio. This makes it official -- I no longer have a dining room. The only thing left that reminds me of the room's former purpose, is a china cabinet and hutch, but those are covered up with a design wall...

All the cutting, heating and gluing things and thread.

This one is 8 feet tall and holds all my fibers and dyeing, batiking, rusting, stamping and painting stuff.
See those crates from the grapes?

I can find everything at a glance -- I love it. That doily is there because...well, what else would you do with a fuchsia, turquoise and lime green doily?
I had 16 inches of wall left over and this fit perfectly.

The mural is done!

The mural is finished and hung. It's 12 feet by 4 feet and Tjay made an oak frame to mount around it. They are very happy with it! It's alot like the mural I did in PJ McIntyres, but this one has all four of Bernadette's boys and her parents in it. And, of course, it's smaller!

Ballycroy and Achill Island, County Mayo (click to see larger)

Thread slut?

When I started sewing again, I asked TJay to build me this cute little thread box. I thought it would be more than sufficient for any threads I would buy. And it was -- for about a month. When I sewed before, I don't remember all these different kinds of thread...or so many colors!

He's always making me cute stuff like this...

If he makes me a box to hold all the thread I've accumulated in the year since he made the other box -- I won't be able to move it!
And now I have the damned embroidery machine -- I need more thread!

In the kitchen and not dyeing!

We pressed the chardonnay grapes and wound up with almost 8 gallons of juice. It's happily bubbling away.

I love the sound of the bubblers.

The Zin and Cab grapes are sitting on the skins and French oak chips. these will be pressed in about 10-12 days. Not much room in the kitchen for a while.

Then I got a taste for Twetschgenknoedel and made 75 of these. They're little Italian plums, pitted and covered with a potato dough. They get boiled, then browned in lots of butter and bread crumbs and sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar. Yeah, I'm a real health nut this week...

Hey, can I have some wine with my cholesterol, please?

Wine season -- Yay!

I love this time of year. This year we got 80# of Zinfandel grapes, 120# of Chardonnay grapes, 120# of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and 6 gallons of Johannesburg Riesling juice. All shipped from California to Collinwood Grape and Juice, where we buy them. My favorite shopping trip of the year. 'Cept for the bees. Bees LOVE grapes.

Forgive me, for I have Zinned...

Thinking ahead, check out the great racks that these Chardonnay and Cab grapes came in -- fabric storage!

We offered a bonfire, a cookout, beer and vodka to our friends for helping to de-stem the grapes. Alex and Joe helped us out.

This is some serious fun right here...

Maybe 320 pounds was a little bit much at one time.
(note to self -- two separate trips next fall)

TJay smashing the grape for the last time. We got a crusher --yay!

Oops -- didn't mean to do that!

Pins and Needles sent me a sale flyer.
Huge sale.
I went to look for a Juki 98Q or a Janome 1600P. I've been looking for a machine with a little bit longer arm for quilting. They didn't have either one. I should have just bought that half price Angelina and walked away...
What they did have was a really good sales lady that somehow convinced me that I needed this Babylock Ellure. I was very vulnerable (just got paid for working at the 'Taste'). It is a pretty sweet machine and it's used, so the price was amazing. It's my first computerized machine and, I gotta admit, THAT is so cool.
So I took her home and started looking into digitizing software, because I'm not really interested in using someone else's designs. Holy Crap!! The software costs WAYYYYY more that the machine did. (sigh...) So, I downloaded several of those 30-day trial programs to see which one will let me do the things I want to do for the least amount of money and aggravation. I'm having fun trying out the programs. I already digitzed about 50 lighhouses working from my own photos. Maybe this could actually generate some income!

Any input or suggestions regarding software would be greatly appreciated!

My new baby (note the lack of a longer arm for quilting...)

Headed to the corn maze at Mapleside Farm

Tha apple trees were loaded!!
I was cleaning the unused paint off of a palette pad and was about to crumple this up and toss it...then I saw a fence and tree stumps and water and a meadow and sunlight through the tree branches.

Didn't make it to the trash.

Then I tried doing some silk ribbon embroidery from a little bitty purse kit that I bought many, many years ago and misplaced and then found again last month.
Isn't it adorable? I don't usually do adorable...

Buck makes new friends

Took Buck to hang out with Patsy and Edwina.

Licking their chops after eating...what??

Okay, maybe Buck does not look all that thrilled with the whole thing...

Ike and X-fest

Went to Dayton to work at X-fest, a 12-hour hard rock concert held at the Dayton fairgorunds. About 20, 000 people had to be evacuated in the afternoon when the remnants of Ike hit the fiargrounds at 80 mph. Of course, by that time,many were loaded and not too happy that they had to leave. Not pretty. Wire fell on the fair grandstand and started a fire.
Sorry the pictures are blurry, but i couldn't brace against the wind -- it was wicked!

One of the stage backdrops ripped to shreds.

See that silver place, just left of center. It's a car. This guy was so lucky -- he had just got in the car to move it when the tree fell on him, but he was unhurt.
TJay hoped I would come home early, since i was done working by 7:30. Yeah, like I wanted to follow that crap all the way back to Cleveland on a four hour drive. No thanks! I went back the the Marriott and holed up till morning.
They have awesome beds to hunker down in during storms. :)

Silky looking mold

Ive had a Stay-wet palette for several years. Love it. I have one brand of black acrylic that consistantly spurs strange growth though. This batch was really pretty, but I had to toss quite a bit of paint and a new palette sponge.

Looks like silk roving...

I was tempted to let it keep growing, but I needed the palette.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

RIP Snowball

Snowball came to the Cleveland Zoo when I was in high school and he was 11 months old. He was the second oldest polar bear in captivity in the US. I'll miss him.

Catching up...way up!

TJay, Joe and I had a great day-trip on the CVNRA towpath trail.

A heron that DIDN'T fly off when I turned on my camera! I have lots of lovely pics of feet and tail feathers...

I knew she was going to cross the boardwalk -- just couldn't catch her in the middle.

More hind feet and tails...

Me and Joe

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Taste of Cleveland

Two down, two to go. I work doing ticket sales at a some summer events, this one being the last of the season. 4 days of styley food, ethnic dancers, and rock and roll on the Cuyahoga River. Oh yeah... and 12-14 hour workdays. Some of us have been doing this for 10-15 years and it's always fun to see each other. So here's what I'm up to/into and I'll answer mail on Tuesday...

This is right across from my ticket tent. Where's my fabric and vinegar?? That's one big rusty something-or-other! How many bolts do you suppose it would take...?

These lovely young ladies were performing traditional Japanese dances. So graceful!

The Airshow is also going on, so we get to see a lot of the Blue Angels.

Maybe a thread painting of this scene?

Sunset on the river

I didn't mean to use the flash, but I love the way it turned out...