Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Hallow's Eve

It's Halloween and I've had a lovely Saturday so far; the sun is already low in the sky and soon the littlest trick or treaters will be here! I'm looking forward to greeting all the little ghosts and goblins, but sort of sad that my own son won't be among them. Since last year when he was 11, he's decided he's TOO OLD to go trick or treating.

I'm reminiscing about his costume 2 years ago, which was a great idea of his friend Nicholas from something he'd seen on YouTube. Nick's mom and I brainstormed and came up with a way to attach light sticks to sweat pants. It's tricky because you can't snap the sticks and make them glow until you're just ready to use them!

It was also real tricky figuring out how to get the heads to work.

The results in the dark were SPOOKtacular!

Oh man, I miss those days already!

Since I'm doing NaNoWriMo, once again this year I associate Halloween as "the day before you get to start writing." Many writers begin their novels at 12:01 a.m. on November 1.

I don't.

I wish you all a fun-filled Halloween celebration -- and don't forget to "Fall Back!"

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's Phantom Friday!

As promised, I wanted to share my spooky ghost story with you on Phantom Friday.

It was late at night on a Fall evening in San Francisco, CA, about 25 years ago. I was visiting a friend who rented a room in an old neighborhood near Silver Avenue. I visited often, and had heard stories of strange happenings in the house. It seems there had been a suicide there, and previous renters reported drastic temperature changes and other abnormalities such as "a presence" in the ensuing years. But I wasn't afraid to visit, and had never noticed anything out of the ordinary. Until that night.

My friend and I were standing on opposite ends of the room, not looking at each other, but facing one another, when I heard a strange, long, loud whistle directly in my ear. The thing is, I not only heard the whistle, but I felt it as well -- I felt the air of the whistle on my skin.

I looked at my friend, but before I could react he said, "Did you just whistle?" I shook my head, "No." I didn't need to ask him if he had whistled, because I knew it couldn't have been him. He was standing on the other side of the room, and I had felt the whistler loud and clear right next to my ear. My friend then told me he'd heard the whistle loud and right next to his ear, too.

I felt very unsettled and I was in a big hurry to leave the room and the house. A few minutes later, we got into his car and my friend drove me home. We talked about the whistle a bit, and my friend was as disturbed as I was. Then, out of nowhere, we heard not just a short whistle, but several bars of a whistled song coming from the vicinity of the car's radio. My friend fiddled with the knobs, but he knew as well as I did that the radio wasn't on. We sat and listened to that strange, lone whistle, and then it stopped.

When we'd heard the whistler in his room, it was very frightening. But, the longer whistling in the car seemed ever more creepy. I really had the sense that the whistler was somehow teasing us -- not in a playful way, but in a mean way, as teasing can sometimes be.

I've told very few people that story. I am completely convinced the whistles were ghostly communications from beyond.

For more spooky stories, please visit these friends who are playing along today:

Have a spooky Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My First Artist Class Project: Homage to a Loved One Box

Well, we were snowed in again today, but this time for real as it's been howling and blowing all day! What better time to begin my first Artist Class project: Homage to a Loved One by Tammy Sprinkle. We were to create a box as a tribute to a loved one. I used a mini Lane Cedar chest that I bought at a thrift store. Because I really liked the wood grain, I washed more than painted it in a combination of browns of my own creation.

I made the box as a homage to my mother, who passed away 5 years ago next month. Lest you think using her initials on the front of the box was unoriginal, I want to say that I put them there because she was really funny about her name. If you wrote it out and forgot the "J", she'd make you go and correct it! I think she'd be pleased to see her initials on there. I used sheet music of a Handel song called, Mercies Numberless; it really suits my mother, I think, who had a difficult life and yet lived to see many of her dreams fulfilled. I put a German paper swallow on the front; my mother really enjoyed birds.

Here's the inside of the box. I hope you like the color combo I used with the red and blue. All but one of the scrapbook papers I used was by Anna Griffin, my favorite!

The elements on the left side are, from top to bottom: a piece of a postcard of San Francisco, and one of Harrahs, Reno; both postcards belonged to my mother. SF is where she grew up, and Reno was her favorite place to visit (and play the slot machines!) I included another bird element; and then a pretty piece of a pearly crown vintage earring to honor her. Below that is a flashcard showing the Spanish word for "heart"; there's also one of her "charms", a yellow dog; a piece of vintage wallpaper; a vintage drawing of a 1960's hostess; a spool of thread which reminds me of how she encouraged my embroidering; and a turquoise-colored bead because it was the kind of jewelry that she liked.

On the right side: a wonderful photo of my mother on her honeymoon. My dad took the photo. She is pretending to throw a snowball at dad next to a snowbank. They were married in Reno, NV in April of 1962 (that date appears on the tags next to the photo) and there had apparently been a big snow! I put some "wedding white" pearly trim in the upper left corner, along with some glasslike beads that echo her snowball.

Below the photo is one of her Max Factor lipstick tubes - red! - and a rose, a chip from Sahara, as well as one of her "OK rose" stones to remind me of how she was a rockhound.

Here's a side view showing antique grosgrain ribbon.

And, here's the reverse. I chose the tag that is stamped "Fragile" because, truly, that was how I thought of my mother, and how her friends referred to her late in her life. My mother's health was never good.

I made some charms from my mother's jewelry box key, some ring charms that remind me of her lovely wedding set, and a coffee pot. She brewed a pot of coffee every day of her life, I think.

Below the tag is one of her holy pictures of Jesus. While she didn't attend church regularly, my mother is of that generation that had a strong faith. I finished the box with a piece of lace and an antique button.

Here's a photo of the top of the box, where I put together a "bow" from the antique ribbon, antique seam binding, a red pin with a heart on top, and one of my mother's own peacock feathers that she saved.

The feather reminds me that my mother grew up in a Victorian house in SF.

I was very happy to make this box to remember my mom. I thought about her all day as I was working on it.I made a collage about my Dad a couple of years ago (he died 10 years ago) and it's been nagging me ever since that I never did something for mom.

I think this is probably the first time I ever made something so involved from a tutorial, and it was a wonderful experience! I'm so happy I signed up for this class. There's still time to sign up, and 11 more projects to try, if you visit the website.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Snowed In?

We're having an odd day. I awoke to a snow-less landscape, even though we had been promised several inches and I'd listened to the blizzard blowing all night long. I guess the school district was also fooled, as they called a 2 hour delay. That's the second time this week. I can't understand, though, why at 7:30 a.m., with no snow on the ground, they then upgraded the day to CLOSED.

It's now 4:30 p.m. and there's still no snow on the ground -- not anywhere in the district boundaries. I know this because I went out to a couple of thrift stores today which are located within the boundaries. No. Snow. So, even though I'm always happy to have my son home, I'm annoyed that the school has "wasted" one of the snow days available. The kids have hardly had a chance to be back to school after their 2 week Fall Break!

Anyway, here are a few random photos for you:

I switched out my tea cup cupboard when I found this one at an antique store. This one holds many more cups.

I moved the smaller one to my master bedroom, which is blue and white, and filled it with cups and stuff in that palette.

And, above are some of my jeweled buttons. These are set in metal and sparkly, with rhinestones.

How's that for bling?

My favorites are the ones with the black center; the center stone is something like onyx. They're also some of the very first buttons I ever collected, and that makes them special to me, too.

Here are a couple of photos I took yesterday morning, when the morning sunrise was pretty spectacular. The light was so unusual, and the color was amazing.

Today, though, the morning sky was white and gray, and still is.

Back to waiting for the snow. I hope you all are having a lovely day/evening!

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's About Time for a Good Ghost Story

Do you believe in ghosts?

They're one of life's mysteries. I didn't believe in ghosts until my early 20's, when I had a few experiences that I just couldn't explain any other way. Interestingly, I haven't had any "visitations" since then, but I can never forget those that I did have. Only one was frightening.

My very first ghostly experience was one that I didn't even realize was one until many years later. Here's what I mean: one night when I was 10 years old I had just gone to bed when I felt something. It felt like something tiny and light had jumped up onto the bed. I knew it couldn't have been my dog, for she was much heavier, plus I would have heard her, too. I sat up in bed and looked around, because there was a lot of light coming into the room from outside. But there was nothing there.

I lay back down and tried to go to sleep, and then I felt something again. I just paid attention to the strange feeling, and I wasn't afraid, not at all. The "thing" seemed to walk lightly around and me several times, and stopped. I felt a series of rhythmic movements on my legs before it felt like it made a ball and stopped moving. I fell asleep a little while later but I never forgot those strange feelings.

When I was 26 I got my first kitten. Before that, I'd never even held a kitten before, in my life, and had no idea how lightweight they were, or how they behaved. The very first time my little cat jumped on my bed, walked up my legs and kneaded itself a little spot to curl up and fall asleep, I gasped at the familiarity of my strange memory from all those years ago! To this day, I believe that when I was 10 I was visited by the ghost of a kitten.

I had another experience with a "pet ghost": this one involved my dear dog from childhood, Butterball. We had to put her to sleep when I was about 21 years old. A couple of years later, as I was visiting my parents and we were all sitting around the dinner table, I felt Butterball moving around my legs under the table, as she always used to. I mean, I felt every detail: her curly hair against my legs, the way she turned and swished her tail, and then plopped down at my feet. It was a comforting, warm feeling -- not at all frightening. I didn't say anything to the rest of my family until later, and they said they didn't notice it. I cherish that memory of Butterball's visit.

I've found that when the subject comes up, many people I know have had at least one unexplainable experience that they attribute to a ghost, either personally, or in their family. I thought it would be fun to put out a call for you to think about your own ghostly experiences, and then have a little event on this blog called "Phantom Friday".

If you'd like to participate, comment on this post only, and then get ready to post your ghost story on your own blog by this Friday, October 30. I'll link to all of your posts here on my blog on Friday and we'll have a spine-tingling fest!

Feel free copy and paste this little button that I created on your own blog, to help me spread the word:

I'm saving my best ghost story about people, not pets, for Friday. I hope you'll join me!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My Snowy Camping Weekend

This weekend I went away with my son's Scout troop for a weekend campout in the forest just 10 minutes from my house.

The camping trip was from Friday night until late Sunday morning; I lasted just one night and one day. In my defense, it's because my "0 degree" sleeping bag didn't live up to its claims. (And because the latrine was a snowy walk to the outskirts of camp and after doing that at 4 a.m. in 20 degrees, I was not eager to ever do it again.)

The first morning I was part of a team that taught the newest Scouts some camp cooking skills. My group did banana boats, cooked in hobo sacks over coals. They were delicious!

I left Saturday afternoon and came home, then spent the evening feeling guilty about being in a warm bed while my little one and all the rest were out at the campsite. I went back to the camp this morning, and it was snowing! The snow actually made it a bit warmer, though than it had been the day before -- about 33 degrees. We were so happy to get home!

This is what my house is always like on a Sunday after a Scout weekend: tent airing/drying out, washing machine humming, full of dirty clothes that smell smoky like a campfire, and my son freshly showered and sprawled out on the sofa -- enjoying warmth, and the near vicinity of the kitchen.

I haven't had much time for creating lately, but I did manage while on vacation in OK to begin sewing a crazy quilt Christmas stocking. I decided to use non-traditional Christmas colors but will put on some embellishments that are holiday themed.

I have only just begun to do the fancy stitching, and I'm hoping to spend some restful time today doing more!

I hope your weekend was cozy and restful!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Quaint Antiquing in Purcell, Oklahoma

On the day of the OU-Texas rivalry football game, we dressed in their colors, Jenni put in her earphones to listen to the game, and we went off antiquing.

We began our day with breakfast at Jimmy's Egg, an OKC staple! I had pigs in blankets, made with the most delicious pork sausage!

Then we went on to Purcell.

At our first stop, they were having an amazing 75% off sale in about 2/3 of the store -- I couldn't believe the bargains. I could have spent ALOT of money there, but since it was the first stop I bought just a few goodies:

I'm going to have such fun with these little stamps!

Next, we went to a store that had the most amazing booths FULL of owls:
If they had been penquins, I'd have been in trouble for sure! There, I bought some authentic old can labels and a few of those cork lined bottle caps (I love those!)

Then we stopped at a store that used to be the town's movie theater:

Jenni could take out her earphones there, because they had the game on the store's radio. In fact, when Dennis and I were sitting up front resting while the others looked around, one of the store workers asked us a question about what had just happened in the game while he had been helping someone. We sheepishly looked at each other and then back at him, only to say we hadn't been paying attention. I'm kind of surprised he didn't throw us out! They take their football v-e-r-y seriously in OKC! We were a disgrace to the red we were wearing, alas!

The highlight of the trip to Purcell was the Hotel Love.
It was any antique lover's dream, I tell you: a historic hotel that had been converted into a shop, with antiques in the first floor lobby and then, upstairs, in each of the hotel's rooms.


The thing that made it so fun, though, was that in each room there was a theme to the ephemera and antiques: a kitchen room, sewing room, patriotic room, student and school room, lace room, purple room, pink room, blue room...you get the idea. I was in heaven!

I bought some tatting and these amazing jet beads with rose quartz accent earrings...

a pile of letters from the 40's, a silk bookmark, a booklet on "home demonstration unit program" - very interesting! - and this amazing black beaded decoration for $2!

I also got this newspaper/magazine, because it was dated October 1927, the year of my dad's birth, and I'd been thinking about him a lot lately.

Here are some fun pictures for you to enjoy from it:

Then, this great old fabric reminded me of the drama we'd had that week back in my home state of Colorado, with "balloon boy"; here, a much more demure balloon ride:

Have I mentioned that while Jenni's oldest son and I are antique freaks, the rest of our families just go along with us? Now, isn't that love? Luckily, while I was immersed in the wonder that was Hotel Love, the boys could amuse themselves with this train and a soda in the warm sunshine!
(Sorry for all the space between the photos; this is because some of them were taken with my cell phone and I can't manipulate them as easily as I can those from my camera.)

I hope you've enjoyed the trip to Purcell!