Wednesday, December 31, 2008


My cat was sitting on the floor in front of me the other evening, and I'd never drawn him before, so I decided to try. I got the pencil sketch finished before he moved. I did the ink work last night and finished the watercolor pencil today.

He's getting pretty old, so I've been trying to really pay more attention to him lately, since I know he won't be around forever. He's in pretty good health for his age, but still . . .


After making a folder-folio for a gift, I had to make one for myself! Actually, I prepared the backgrounds at the same time, because I knew I wanted one. I just didn't have time to make it before Christmas. I modified mine to hold a legal pad on one side instead of loose papers. I also added a little loop of fabric for a pencil. And I used some of the skills I learned in Terri Stegmiller's Mixed Media Collage class to make the cover. I painted the purple cone flower with Neocolor watercolor crayons on white duck cloth, then fused it to Pelmet Vilene (which is a stiff interfacing, but thinner than Timtex or Peltex). Then I outlined the flower and stem with free motion stitching. I'm looking forward to having an excuse to use it!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Reading Challenge

I have never done a reading challenge before, but I recently started reading the blog She Is Too Fond of Books, and the author has been listing many challenges over the past few days. I found one that really appeals to me, because I've always liked reading about World War II. Here is a little bit about the challenge:

"To participate in the WWII Reading Challenge, you must commit to reading at least five books throughout the year. The books can be fiction or non-fiction, and they can be about any aspect of WWII. WWII should be the primary or secondary theme, and it doesn’t matter whether the book takes place during the war or after the war. Children’s literature is acceptable! (Please visit the WWII Reading List page for some recommendations.) You can count books you are reading for other challenges, so long as they meet the aforementioned criteria."

You can read more about this challenge and sign up at the War Through the Generations blog. I plan to read 5 books (I may read more, but I'm just committing to 5, since I know I can do that). I haven't chosen my 5 books yet; I'll add them to this post as soon as I do. I have chosen my first book, however.

1. A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell
2. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
3. The Avengers by Rich Cohen
4. The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
5. Book Five


I met with my book club on the Friday before Christmas - it was a really good discussion on a book that many of us didn't particularly like (The Sea by John Banville - I reviewed it here). I noticed that our leader had a folio with her that she kept her papers in - but it was just one of those heavy paper folios. So I decided to make her this:

Front cover - as always, you can click on the picture to see it larger.


I worked on it over that weekend, then I took it by the library last Monday. I got to see her offices and learn a little bit about what she does at the library (other than lead our book club). And my DH came, so he got to meet her too. It was fun. The pattern for the folder-folio is by Terri Stegmiller and can be found here.

Friday, December 26, 2008

New Book

Well, it happened again. I started a new book on Sunday (A Thread of Grace), and then a book I'd placed on hold at the library came in on Wednesday (Dewey - The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World). Dewey is the January selection for Bookworms Reading Group, and other people have the book on hold after me, so if I want to read it soon, I had to check it out today and start reading it. I'm a fairly slow reader, so by the time I finish Dewey, I'll probably need to read the book my Four Star Reading Club is discussing in January (The Namesake). So I'm not sure when I'll get back to A Thread of Grace - I may even need to start it over (I don't read more than one novel at a time). I hate it when that happens!


Now that it's after Christmas, I can show this padfolio that I made for my mom. I used my needle punch machine for the background and the flower, then free motion stitched in the background and around the flower with my sewing machine. The pattern for the padfolio is by Sue Bleiweiss, and can be found at Two Creative Studios; the flower is my own design. I modified the pattern to use velcro for a closure rather than a cord.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean

Marina is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. She remembers her days as a tour guide for The Hermitage Museum in 1941 Leningrad more clearly than she remembers details of her grown children's lives. As the German Army approached, the Hermitage employees boxed up and hid for safekeeping all of the artwork - 1.1 million objects. During the first winter of the siege of Leningrad, the museum staff and their families lived in the basement of the museum - almost 2000 people. This is told as Marina's memories, which she confuses with the present: her granddaughter's wedding. It is a sad story but beautifully told. I found out about this book through my local book club - they read this book last spring before I joined. I rate it 4 out of 5.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Proximity Award

I have been truly honored to receive another award from not just one, but two of my fellow blogger friends, Fannie and Tracy.

This award states that: This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY- nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends, they are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.

I would like to share this award with Sue Bleiweiss, Terri Stegmiller and Elizabeth Golden.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Queen's Bastard by Robin Maxwell

I actually finished this book in November and forgot to post about it.

This book is a sequel of sorts to The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn. The premise of the book is that Queen Elizabeth gave birth to a bastard son, whose father was Robert Dudley. Elizabeth hid her pregnancy from all but a few close to her. At the birth, Kat Ashley took the baby away, replaced it with a dead baby, and told Elizabeth the baby was stillborn. She took the baby to her former sweetheart, Robert Southern, to be raised as his own child. It turns out there really was an Arthur Dudley who claimed to be the son of Elizabeth and Dudley. And in the early years of her reign, there were rumors of bastard children. Interesting idea. Well written. It kept my interest. I rate this book 4 out of 5.

The Sea by John Banville

Max Morden, recently widowed, returns to the seaside town where he spent summers as a child. The story shifts from present to recent past (his wife's illness) to distant past (his childhood). I also shifted between liking the writing style and thinking it was a bit over done or pompous. I had to keep the dictionary handy at all times. The story was interesting, but slow to develop. I was glad it wasn't any longer. I rate it 2 out of 5.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Giveaways by Chrysti

I just found the most amazing giveaways - 29 Days of Giveaways by Chrysti. Lots going on there - click on the title and check it out!

Season's Greetings

To all my readers - happy holidays! Click on photo to enlarge it (especially if you want to see the fish in its mouth).

BTW, DH took the photo, I cropped it and added the greetings in Photoshop Elements.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cards and Stuff

We actually sent out our Christmas cards today - pretty amazing! I don't think they ever would have gotten done if DH hadn't gotten busy and written the annual letter a week or more ago. He usually writes the letter, and then I edit it and add stuff about me. He's quite the jokester, so he always puts something in the letter that he knows I'll take out. This year, after putting down all the information about our son and daughter-in-law, our travel, and stuff about him, the last sentence was "Cheryl didn't do much this year." Ha ha!

I read it when he wrote it, but didn't feel like figuring out what to write for my part. He kept after me until I finally finished it a couple of days ago. Then we decided to send out a photo he had taken, so I cropped it and added some words to it in Photoshop. We bought some fancy stationery at Staples yesterday and printed the letters, mailing labels, and photos. Today we stuffed envelopes and he took them to the post office when he went out to his eye doctor appointment.

I am so not in the holiday mood yet - we haven't even put up the tree yet. But I did finish making a presents for a couple of my friends today. I'm just making two more. I hope to finish the one for my mom tomorrow and then the one for my DS and DDIL in another couple of days.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Gift by Pete Hamill

I read this for my online bookclub - Bookworms Reading Group - which is a Yahoo group. It is the story of a young sailor who is home on leave during Christmas of 1952. His family is poor, his girlfriend has left him, and he's back in the dreary apartment his large family lives in. While it was a fairly well written story, it seemed a bit simplistic and even sappy to me. I rate it 2 out of 5.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Lisa Vollrath has generously provided free printable images between now and Christmas at her website here. There are some lovely images available already.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Mythological Goddess Test

Your result for The Mythological Goddess Test...


Indeed, you are 71% erudite, 58% sensual, 29% martial, and 29% saturnine.

Another virgin Goddess (Diana or Artemis being the other), Minerva was, just like her Greek counterpart Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom and Freedom as well as an all powerful Goddess of War, which made her a most formidable opponent indeed.

Among the many disciplines that fell under her control were: writing, the sciences, architecture, embroidery, and just about anything else dealing with artistic skills, wise counsel, and of course battle and warfare.

Like Athena, owls were considered sacred to Minerva, representing wisdom. She was a very wise warrior, respected by the Roman legions.

She was also, no kidding, the Goddess of Women's Rights and patroness of career women.

The Fifteen Goddesses

These are the 15 categories of this test. If you score above average in …

…all or none of the four variables: Neit. …
Erudite: Minerva. …
Sensual: Aphrodite. …
Martial: Artemis. …
Saturnine: Persephone. …

Erudite & Sensual: Isis. …
Erudite & Martial: Sekhmet. …
Erudite & Saturnine: Nemesis. …
Sensual & Martial: Hera. …
Sensual & Saturnine: Bast. …
Martial & Saturnine: Ilamatecuhtli. …

Erudite, Sensual & Martial: Maeve. …
Erudite, Sensual & Saturnine: Freya. …
Erudite, Martial & Saturnine: Sedna. …
Sensual, Martial & Saturnine: Macha.

Take The Mythological Goddess Test
at HelloQuizzy