Friday, February 19, 2010

Winter pictures

I thought I'd forgo beading or doll making today & show some pictures of the aftermath of the two big Winter storms. I was measuring the accumulation in the backyard where we did not shovel to make dog paths & it was anywhere from 24 inches to 30 inches depending on which part of the yard I chose. If you were following me on Facebook, you know that the Ohio River Valley has been getting hit with one snowy Winter storm after another. We haven't seen this amount of accumulated snow ever! Oh, we've had more record snowfalls per one storm, but not one after another after another.

I live in a smaller neighborhood on the north end of Columbus. Luckily 4 years ago, I decided to transfer from the bigger hospital in the downtown are where I'd worked for 23 years to the smaller suburban hospital which is only 2.9 miles from my house. At first, I did this to save on gasoline as I was having to fill the tank of my Honda Element at least 2 times a week, and back then gasoline was over $3.00 a gallon. Plus the wear and tear of driving 35 minutes to work one way was starting to make me tired all the time. And shall I mention the Winter...trying to get out of this neighborhood was a nightmare. I'd been driving a Thunderbird since we moved up here in 1989. I LOVE my T-birds, but they cannot handle Winter conditions. I'd get stuck getting out of the driveway even with only 2 inches of snow. So I bought my boxy ugly Honda Element. It was the smartest thing I've ever done! Other cars this whole Winter get stuck right in front of our house as we are in the apex of the neighborhood's "U" shape. Snow drifts down & settles right smack dab in front of our driveway. Now I just put the Element in reverse and have never had to worry about getting out no matter what the weather. Wow, I feel like I'm doing a commercial for Honda. But I swear, if it wasn't for this little SUV the 2.9 miles to St. Anns would be a nightmare. Especially when there is mountains of snow just in the street.

Okay, enough about my Element & getting out of the neighborhood. But if you'd gotten stuck as many times as I have, then you definitely understand how exciting it is to just drive drive drive in the snow & not worry. Now, walking the dogs in another matter all together. OR letting them outback to do their "duty". Frodo is the worse in snow. He loves being out there because #1, he can see the rabbits hiding under the evergreens, and #2, he can bark at the rabbits hiding under the evergreens, and #3, he knows I can't do a darn thing to make him stop! Yesterday when I got home from work, I let everyone out thinking I'll fool Frodo...I put coats on the girls (oh, they all have their Land's End jackets in different colors & don't you dare put Fiona's navy coat on Arwen or Arwen's sage green coat on Frodo...they know!) but not Frodo. I thought he'd get cold & come inside. He has trenches with walls above his head beaten out all through the yard and once out there, I cannot get him to come in unless I go out and show him the "mad Dot". BUT, yesterday we had freezing fog so the whole steps were covered with ice. They are dangerous...I know...I have multiple scars on my head where I've fallen & had to have stitches. So, back to my story. I just thought he'd come right back in so I could give them breakfast & then to bed for me.

Fiona wanted to come in, but she couldn't get up the icy steps. I took a big towel & put it down for her to get up. Arwen followed her in. No Frodo. I could see the tips of his ears peaking out from the trenches, but when I called him, he just ignored me. I shut the door & went downstairs for 10 minutes to wait him out. Came back up & called him...took the broom & hit it against the steps (the darn broom broke), but Frodo just stood starring out the hole he'd made in the snow so he could see the school playground. I shut the door again & fed the girls. I waited 15 minutes more knowing if I waited too long school would start & he'd bark so much that the phone would start ringing from the neighbors. He ignored me again. I went back downstairs to wait 5 more minutes. Came back upstairs & Arwen was fast asleep on the couch with Fiona snoozing away on the leather chair. I opened the back door again...the blasted little dog still ignored me. Then the children started to go to school. He ran up & down the fence line making new trenches by hopping over the barriers and making tunnels. I shut the door & went downstairs again. By this time I was just about ready to go to bed, leave Chris a note saying his dog was outside probably frozen when Chris comes down shocked to see me inside. He said he thought he'd find me passed out on the patio where I'd gone out to get that stupid little dog & slipped on the ice knocking myself out (oh I've done it before) as he heard barking then nothing. So finally, finally, finally, Chris put on his boots & with my help was able to get down the icy steps to make Frodo come in. I was so mad at him, but tell can you truly be mad at such a cute dog for doing what he loves to do. It is his yard. He is in charge. And he loves doing his job. Oh well, the snow is melting so I'll be able to get out in the yard again. That is until Sunday when we get MORE snow.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February BJP

I have to warn you that you just MIGHT have to consider getting a handkerchief for this posting.

My February jar has a very old secret treasure put into it. While going through my old jewelry box I found a necklace and earrings for a child. I could not remember who gave it to me. I found a picture of me wearing the necklace, but it was hard to remember if it was my Grandfather, Father, or Uncle who gave this to be as I believe I was around 2 years old when the picture was taken. I took it to my Mother to find out who presented this piece to me. She took it out of my hands and rubbed her fingers over the crystal stone. Then she told me it was a present from my Father when I was 2 years old. She told me that I wore it all the time, and eventually she was afraid I'd lose it so she put it away for me until I was 10. Then she only gave me the bracelet.

Suddenly a memory of the bracelet burst into my head. It was back in 1964 at Cogswell Elementary school in El Monte California. It was recess and all the girls in my class loved the play hop scotch. Each girl had a special keep sake we used as a marker. I was jealous of the pretty chains they all had, so one day I brought my bracelet and used it. It brought me luck as I won every single time making it up and down with ease. The school bell rang, and we all picked up our markers putting them in our pockets and raced to get in line to go back into the classroom. On the way home, I put my hand in the pocket and brought out the bracelet. I stopped and my breath left my body. The stone was missing. I ran back to the playground and searched the area looking for the stone. It was no where to be found. So I had to go home. I was in a horrible fear as I went to my Mother and told her what I did. She didn't scold me but told me that it was a good lesson for me to learn about taking care of my possessions and making sure they didn't get lost or broken. I started to cry thinking she'd tell Daddy, but she never did. She NEVER did. And I did learn to take care of things. I bet I'm not the only one that still has so many secret treasures, but I do have them in almost pristine condition.

My Mother then took the necklace and held it to her face. Then she gave it back to me and said she remembered how happy Daddy was when he put that necklace around my toddler neck all those years ago. My Dad has been gone now for 18 years. He died young from complications due to lung cancer. So finding out that this treasure was bought by him for me almost made me want to cry. But I didn't....that day. As I finished this beaded jar and picked up the necklace to put it safely away, another memory came to me. This was long ago back when I was around 3 1/2 years old. These are probably some of my very first memories. My first memory is of my Mother kissing me goodnight as I lay in a hospital bed waiting to get my tonsils taken out. My second memory is of me and my brother Jerry outside my Grandparent's house digging in the dirt. A taxi pulled up into the driveway, and my Mother came out of the house. She had a bag with her. She tried to knell, but she couldn't. She took my face and then Jerry's and told us to be good and not to go into the street and that Mrs. Sparks was coming as fast as she could to take care of us. We said okay and began to dig again. Mrs. Sparks was coming up the walk as the taxi took off with our Mother. She was on her way to the hospital to have my sister Cheryl.

My third memory was one that has always stayed with me and sometimes I'll even see it in my dreams. As I said before, we were all staying with my Grandparents when my sister Cheryl was born. My Mother did not want to have her baby in Los Angeles, so she had my Father bring her back to Ohio with Jerry and myself. I don't remember how long we were away from my Father, but I have all these postcards he sent to me. My Mother said that every day, I'd climb up on the banister outside my Grandmother's house waiting for the postman to bring me cards from my Daddy. Many of them had dogs or kittens on them, and they all have "Love Daddy" with lots of "x"s and "o"s. I would carry them in my little purse and bring them out whenever an adult would come to visit my Grandfather. I'd make people read them to me so much, that I knew them all by heart. Some were so worn out that you can't see the words, but there is always a hidden "Love" or "Daddy" there. I'd have to ask my Mother how long it was that we were in Ohio and he was alone in Los Angeles. But that third memory is the day I finally got to see him after so long. My Grandparent took all of us back to LA. I guess I was a little brat during the trip. I refused to stay in any hotel room that looked like a Doctor's office, so Grandpa would have to take me into the hotel room to see if I wouldn't throw a fit before he'd pay. I also must have busted the springs in the back of his Oldsmobile bouncing up and down not able to contain my excitement over seeing Daddy again. Then the moment came. We pulled up in front of the house. I don't know if you known Los Angeles back in the 60s very well, but many of the older homes sat up a small incline with a driveway beside them. My Grandfather stopped at the bottom of the driveway. I almost jumped out the window but my Mother caught me and made me wait until the door was opened. I didn't even straighten up my dress before I started to run up the "mountain" (to me it was very very tall ). There at the top of that "mountain" was my Daddy. The Sun was shining behind him so he looked to me like a glowing halo was surrounding him. I ran so hard to him crying his name. He knelt down with arms out. I ran into his arms covering his face with wet teary kisses. He picked me up and squeezed me so tight while tears rolled down his cheeks. He then threw back his head and laughed for joy. I never ever felt so loved in my life. I don't remember the rest of that day. I couldn't take my eyes off him as he laughed, cried, and hugged every single one of us. I remember him taking Cheryl from my Mother's arms and kissing her lightly on her eyelids. Then he held my Mother so tight and gave her such a kiss. He took all of us in his arms and told us he'd never let us be apart from him again. He didn't.

My jar lid is blue, because that was Daddy's favorite color. He surrounded himself with blues in every shade and hue. We all bought him blue shirts, blue pants, blue blue blue. And he gave us love and protection until the moment he left this Earth. I miss my Daddy so much. I always will.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

January Bead Journal 2010

For 2010, I've decided to call my year journey "Secret Treasure". I was going through my old music box that I got for Christmas way back in 1964 and found small little treasures that I'd put there for safe keeping. Many of the items were things from my childhood, or things that my Mother had given me once she moved into a retirement home. I found rings, bracelets, brooches, teeth (dog!), tuffs of fur, rocks, shells, and other sundry items. Each of them brought back a memory. Each of them tugged at my heart. I also have been saving these lovely blue glass jars which original held facial creme. I could not throw them away and had been keeping them knowing that someday I'd find a use for them. Then I looked at both treasures and the blue jars and realized I could use both in this year's project. Each month, I will place one "Secret Treasure" into a jar which has had the top embroidered. The jars will be labeled with the month. I will also construct a fiber box which has twelve individual pieces for the box lid corresponding to the nature of the treasure in the jar. I have not started the pieces for the box lid yet but will be working on that later in the month. I need to decided how these jars when completed will be placed in the box before I decide on the dimensions. That is my challenge for 2010. Now let me share with you my first "Secret Treasure".

My "Secret Treasure" for January has to do with my birthday. I was born on January 4th in Portsmouth Ohio. This is a picture of me that I've altered to show you how sweet I was! In this jar, I have placed the bracelet placed around my wrist when I was first shown to my Mother and Father. It does indeed say NOEL as that is my maiden name. My Mother gave this to me several years ago when I first started to bead. She thought it was appropriate as here I started life with a beaded bracelet and now my life's passion is beads.

Let me tell you the story as told to me by my Father of the day I was born. I was not suppose to be born until the 17th of January so that my birthday would be the same as my maternal Grandmother. My Mother is a very small woman. Many people didn't even believe she was pregnant with me as she told me at 9 months she had to wear a size 7 dress. Imagine that! So on the morning of January 4th, my Mother woke up with a terrible pain in her abdomen. She called her Grandmother asking what it could be. My Great Grandmother told her it must be appendicitis as I wasn't due for another 3 weeks. Back then to see our family physician you had to show up during office hours and wait as it was first come, first serve. My Father was working at Williams Shoe Factory at the time, and my Mother was able to get a hold of him to take her to the Doctor's office. She was in pain all the time sitting in the waiting room with people starring at each other wondering when their turn would come. Finally, it was her turn. She went into the office and told Dr. Rogowski that she was having an appendicitis attack. Dr. Rogowski took one look at her, laughed and said "honey, you are having a BABY!" He told my Dad to get her to the hospital as fast as he could. So Dad got her into the car and took off from downtown Portsmouth to the hospital which was on the north end of town over the railroad viaduct on Route 23. BUT, someone didn't think about getting gas for the car. Yes, two blocks from the hospital, the car ran out of gas. My Dad was frantic. He did the only thing he could think of at the time. He picked my Mother up, and ran with her the two blocks to the hospital. All three of us barely made it as there was at least 4 inches of snow on the ground, but we all made it. I was born minutes after they got to the hospital. Now, some of these facts might be a little far fetched, but my Dad swore it was the truth and I never got tired of hearing him tell me this story. So, the white on the jar lid is for that snow that my Dad had to run through to get me and my Mother to safety.

My story doesn't end there. Twenty one years later, I was working at another hospital in Portsmouth as a Pharmacy Technician. Dr. Rogowski was still our family physician and still was on the board at the main hospital in Portsmouth. I was making pharmacy rounds one morning when out he comes from a board meeting with all the higher ups in the hospital. He saw me and beckoned me to come over. He then threw his arms around me and told everyone there "gentleman, this is my little appendix!". He roared with laughter as my ears turned bright red. He truly enjoyed telling the story too.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ohio Designer Craftsman

Chris & I decided to enter the Best of Show 2010 for the Ohio Designer Craftsman. The hardest part was trying to decide what three entries we each should pick. Then to do photograph, burn onto a CD & get it in the mail before the Feb 8th Deadline. Oh, did I say that I had to get the packages into the mail this morning with the foot of snow on the ground. LOL! I only say that thank goodness I have my ugly little boxie Element with 4WD! Without it, I'd be stuck in the neighborhood. But everything is in the mail & we'll be keeping our fingers crossed that one or both of us get a piece into this show. I think Chris has a good chance with his newest bot called Mr. Transistor.

I decided to enter Rachel's Dream for my first entry. I looked at the dates & Rachel will be finished with the gallery show on March 15th & Warren from Land of Odds promised it will be sent back a couple days after the show's end in Nashville. So plenty of time...but I have no idea what the ODC judge is looking for. He might think...WHAT? or Hum? or just skip all together. So I send in my Great Stork Factory: Pink Division also. That is the fairy stirring a big boiling pot of Sugar,Spice, and Nice. Even that might be too funky for a decided to send my purse in. WELL...I know that when I made this purse the beanie head was a big joke. I just did it on a whim because I like twisted weird stuff & wanted to see what people thought about this lovely purse all beaded up with a recycled beanie head sticking out. That might work on my webpage, blog or Yahoo Groups, but not for a juried show. SO...I cut the beanie head off. YES! I DID! Imagine my horror at a big hole in the middle of all that beading and I only had two days to figure out how to replace the damage. I took out every gemstone cabachon I had that matched the colors of the beading on the purse. Either they didn't work, or the piece was too big, or Chris would shake his head & say "no". I almost gave up, when I looked up & saw these pair of earrings I had made using a lovely Czech glass button I got from European doll designer a couple years at a show in Detroit. I took the earring down, put it over the big hole, and it worked. It truly worked. So I took the earring apart, and working with what was left over on the purse, I created a patch. I like it so much better. Now the purse actually looks like a real piece of art instead of some joke I'm trying to make. What do you think??? After? Before?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Heart, hearts, hearts

We have our 100th member over on A Bead Story. It has barely been a month since Cynthia & I were talking about starting a group for Bead Embroidery & now we have 100 other like minded crazy women joining us! YEAH!!!!! I still have the button over to the left hand side if you'd like to join our discussions on this great versatile stitch.

We also are doing a Heart Challenge. It is called "with a bead in my heart". I came up with the idea while once again talking to Cyn (one of us really has to move so we don't spend our time on the phone!), but it reminded me of that movie "With a song in my Heart" with Susan Hayward. What a tear jerker, but then I do adore the old movies from my days of coming home from school turning on Flippo at 4pm & watching the late afternoon movies.
But anyway, I came up with two piece for the heart challenge

This is Lucky Charm Monkey. Yes, a beanie baby (Duh!)
covered with the delicious bead mix from Whimbeads. It is called Nikkie's Lucky Charm. Doesn't it remind you of all those bowls of colorful cereal with those hard as rocks marshmallows. Do you remember the song??? I kinda do...must be all those dyes in the cereal before stuff like that was regulated by the FDA.

This other is yes, another beanie baby. It is called Flaming Phoenix. Doesn't those daggers really look like this heart is burning. The heart lampwork is one piece I got from the Bead Unique Retreat at Tahoe. Sorry, but I can't remember who it was from. I think the daggers were from Betcey from Beyond Beadery. And once again those lovely bead mixes from Whimbead. I'll have to check out what this one's name is, but I loved it. Looks like a burning orange tootsie pop!