Monday, August 31, 2009

The nest empties, and the ornaments multiply...

Okay, I'll admit it. I get sad when my two older kids leave for college after the summer. Usually the blow is softened when I look at the incredible MESS they have left in their rooms. :) Thankfully, their doors work perfectly, so I simply close them. If lifeforms develop that are intelligent enough to open those doors, then I'll put them to work around the house.

Still, the house felt really big and empty today. My other two are off to middle school and high school. So from 7:20 to 3:20, it's just me and the DH. I threw myself into a frenzy of activity. That's how I deal with most things. Picture a Dust Devil whirling around, floor to floor, full of determination to clean and organize! Well, that lasted until about 10am. Then I went over to my table and stitched ornaments. Then I finished a little painting.

Before I knew it, it was dinner time! I made an incredible dinner of rotini. I wish I could tell you that there was something amazing to go with it, but no. We do have tomatoes from the garden, and some pork chops. And if anyone complains, there is always peanut butter and jelly.

The little painting just came to me one night as I lay in bed worrying about things I can't do a thing about. Anxiety stuff. I distracted myself with a vision of skelly romance. And the ornaments are a meditation. I am always surprised where my mind goes when I sew them. I think about people I know. I think about old times, new times, and all the times in between. It's like watching a movie in my head while my hands are busy. Yes, I do know I am weird, thank you for noticing. :)

Here are some bad photos I took with my phone. We went out to eat after installing Caity in her dorm.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Some WIPs and a summer pic

I have a love-hate relationship with the feelings I get in the days leading up to a holiday. The part I love is knowing that another season is on its way. I'll soon get to drag out all my favorite Halloween decorations and sprinkle them around the house. Everything will begin to change: the weather, my clothes, even the foods I cook. I'm busy this time of year, making things to sell, writing things that may or may not sell :). I like to be busy - I like to be a useful engine. My mental health requires it.

The part I hate is that everything is about to change. Again. It's the way of it, but it is bittersweet.


Here are a couple of pics of Lucas releasing the tadpoles (the ones that took over our pool!) earlier this summer. I will have this day etched in my mind forever. The last chick out of the nest. Sniff. :)






And here are some Halloween goodies I'm stitching up. I love the images of Halloween, and nothing makes me happier that to be listening to music and sewing a skelly.


So here's to summer memories, and to making some new ones. Happy almost Fall. :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I'm going to miss summer...

I'm filled with equal portions of joy and sadness at the thought of school starting. I'll miss those lazy mornings, and the ability I have to decide to do something spontaneously (go for a walk, the zoo, a movie, or to decide to do nothing at all). On the other hand, I haven't gotten a lot of 'work' done this summer, and I'm itching to get back into a routine that I can keep for more than an hour. My writing schedule has flown out the window, and I know it's time to knuckle down, because I'm writing stories in my head. It makes it interesting to have a conversation with me, because I don't hear the first two or three sentences. I'm in my 'other world' (this annoys teenagers enormously, by the way).

I will miss summer's long days, my kids (teens included) running around the house scantily clad (wait, they do that all year - they are extremely bohemian children, unabashedly so). I'll miss the warm summer evenings sitting out on the deck with the DH and watching the bats fly out from the woods. Fireflies flickering on the lawn. I'll miss going to sleep listening to the frogs and the cicadas. I'll really miss the relaxed way I get to deal with my kids in the summer (no worries about homework or showers getting taken, and very little watching the clock). I'll miss the butterflies, the bees (especially those weird bees that look like hummingbirds) and the katydids. (Oh, and before I take credit, the wildlife pics are my DH's.)

I'll admit it, I'm mostly sad about it. To make myself feel better, I'm focusing on Halloween (the WIPs are some ornaments I've been making). Doesn't Halloween conjure up crisp evenings, soup on the stove, and your favorite old sweatshirt? It does to me. And decorating the house with skellys, and pumpkins...witches and vampires. Oh, and let's not forget eating candy. :) It's good to to have something to look forward to, besides homework.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A little support is always nice...

I've been having waaaay too much fun with these little canvases. Oddly, I love the limits of the small space (but then I am an oddly kind of girl). It's kind of like writing a picture book...you only have so many pages to tell your story (32 pages, and you have to use as few words as possible because parents with little kids are TIRED). In the case of this little canvas, you only have a few inches. :)

I've had this skelly dude in my head for awhile (yes, I do know my head is a strange place, thank you for noticing) and his weird friends, too. Something occurred to me when I painted this: I am obsessed with the 'fish out of water'. You know, the person who doesn't fit in. I write about them, and I think I stitch them, and I certainly seem to paint them. Hmmm...does that mean...

Yep. I'm a fish outta water, just like the little guy in this painting. But here's the important part: the little skelly dude has a friend supporting him. We all need friends. And he has those butterflies lifting him up. Butterflies. You've got to have those. They keep us humming.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Java Joe and a blog award...

This is what happens when you go to a late Italian dinner with your DH, and afterward, you decide that having a real Cappuccino (you know the ones, with super strong espresso, and cream...yum) is a great idea. Your husband doesn't agree, and so he falls fast asleep at midnight. You, however, are up at 2am, painting. Actually, I love being up at 2am painting: radio on, house quiet, everyone sleeping. The problem is the next morning when you try and drag your tired butt out of bed. That part is not so nice. At least (for a few more days) there is no school, and so all I had to do was pretend to function while I refilled with caffeine.












On a sweeter note (and a less caffeinated one), Marsha, from Tumble Fish Studio, gave me this lovely blog award. Thank you so much! The award is for friendship, sisterhood, sharing and caring. :)

I'm supposed to pass this award on to five blogs (but really, all the blog people I follow fit this bill perfectly). You are all chock full of caring, sharing, and a ton of talent besides. :)

Magikal Seasons

El Milagro Studio

She's Off Her Rocker

Chickory

Junker Jane

Friday, August 14, 2009

Be nice to your toaster...

Because one day soon, it will be running the show.



After watching this, I thought of how quickly technology jumps. We went from Pac-man to virtual reality in the blink of an eye. So yeah, the robots make me a little nervous (even though I love them), because I can see Asimov's fingerprint all over the place. But here's something else I think about: if this is happening in robotics, then what is happening (what is the equivalent) in the other sciences? Robots are sexy, and sure, we all love to see C3PO coming up on the horizon (well, I do), but how will this effect the other sciences, like medicine? I'm excited for the future when I see things like this. I guess it's a basic decision you have to make: whether the glass is half full, or half empty. Heck, I'll go for full. When we leap ahead, there are always these little off-shoots, these little tendrils that go off in other directions. The unexpected bonuses. That's what I like to think about. That and I really, really, really need a robot to help around the house.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Spooky Time Jingles tonight, and a different kind of WIP


Tonight there will be a whole new batch of holiday goodies on Spooky Time Jingles. If you're up after midnight, stop by and take a look. Lots of talent!

Gordy is one of my Halloween ornaments. I had so much fun sewing those beads on his teeth. Yes, I do know I have no life, thank you for noticing.

Speaking of noticing things, and WIPs, I cornered my four in the kitchen (please do not look at the papers taped to the cupboards, I had nothing to do with that!). It occurred to me that my kids are growing up! So if you have small ones at home, and your heart aches to think of them leaving the coop, here are a couple of good things about kids getting older:

You can go to a wider range of movies.
There is always a babysitter (not that you need one any more).
Arguments get more complex and keep you on your toes (saying "because I said so" doesn't work as well as it used to, but cutting off the internet gets immediate results).
You remember what it was like to be a teen.
You get to watch romance bloom (and heartaches crash) before your eyes.
The adoration of the toddler becomes the friendship of an adult.

They're good kids, every one of the six, and my best WIPs by far.
Happy almost Fall!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Exactly where did summer go?

I always have these grand ideas about what I am going to get done over the summer. Usually they include things like:

Lose weight
Go on some fabulous family vacation
Read
Have the kid's read books and enrich their lives with lots of 'field trips' to interesting places
Revamp each of my kid's rooms
Paint the entire house
Finish writing my novel
Make a new piece of art every day
Build a pyramid in the backyard (kidding)
Find the meaning of life (wait, that's 42, isn't it?)

What I've actually accomplish is:

I cleaned a bathroom
Outlined a novel
Painted skellys
Watched too many movies with my kids

But if I step back and look at the summer, at least we spent time in the same house together. Sure it was 'coming' and 'going' time, with the teens flitting in and out like exotic moths, but we all touched base daily. Everyone relaxed...and followed their own muses for awhile.

Here is a little WIP skelly painting called "Love Is Her Shield." I'd been thinking a lot about my kids, and how important they are - and she just appeared on the canvas. :) I think I'll start adding my paintings to my Etsy shop. I think.

So that's all good. And I am starting to look forward to the fall (not school starting, but just the season). I've got Halloween dancing in my head full time now. But I am a little disappointed about the pyramid. The view from the top was going to be awesome.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

When friends leave us...

Our dog, Frisket, died a few days ago, but I haven't been able to blog about it. I guess I've been in shut-down mode. But she was a part of our lives for 15, almost 16 years, and I want to say my good-bye.

What do I remember about Frisket?

Frisket was never the alpha dog, ever. It never even entered her mind to try and be the alpha dog. She was always happy with whatever position she held in the family. Just happy to be along for the ride.

The first time I saw Frisket was when I went to pick up Caity from pre-school. There she was, standing at the gate, holding this adorable puppy. Turned out the teacher's aide had brought her dog's litter to the school to share with the kids. Is that THE most diabolical thing you have ever heard of? :) Of course, when Caity asked, there was no way I could say no.

She got her name because I couldn't figure out how to do a frisket on PaintShop and we all decided it made the perfect puppy name.


She was a shy, quiet dog. She was absolutely terrified of thunder and lightning. I made the mistake once of closing the mud room pocket door to let her dry a bit, and then forgot and went to bed. (In my defense, I had 4 kids, 2 dogs, 3 cats, 3 rabbits, and a guinea pig or two at the time). In the morning (after the storm), I discovered that she had tried to 'burrow' her way out. I always felt terrible about that. But dogs always forgive you everything. Which is one reason why we love them so, I think.

Frisket loved to lie down on my freshly planted flowers. When we lived in California it was geraniums. Why geraniums? I have no idea. She got less picky in Maryland, and would just lie down on anything I planted. It made for interesting landscaping choices. :)

When she was feeling really good, she would run in these manic circles in the yard. It was insanely funny to watch.

She taught our puppy (Sophie) to 'take' our cars to the end of the driveway (when we were leaving), and to shepherd us back in (when we were driving home). This made the short drive down our driveway take forever (with a dog parade leading each way), so I'm not sure I'm grateful for this. Still, I will miss seeing her sitting at the top of the drive.

She led a good long, life. Chased many a squirrel and bunny. Dug her share of holes. She was dressed up by two little girls, at different times, who each loved her very much (she looked adorable in scarves).


She had the most wonderful soulful expression. I will miss that face very much.

We buried her in the woods, under a canopy of trees. Patrick dug the grave while we stood and watched. Lucas cried. He put flowers on her grave. He made a tombstone of a flat rock he found. On it he wrote "RIP Frisket", then he drew a heart and a bone. It broke my heart.

Thank you, Frisket, for playing with all 6 of the kids, for listening to my troubles, for laying at my feet, for being such a good dog, and a good friend.

I will miss you, sweet girl.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Blog giveaway winners...and I've been Fairy-Fyed!

Before I tell you who won (stop scrolling down, that's cheating!), here is a fantastic collage from my sweet friend, Marsha, at Tumble Fish Studio. That's me as a fairy! Me! Aren't I adorable? Adorable is NOT a word I would normally use next to me, but Marsha is a magician of the first order, and she made me adorable. So, if you don't know Tumble Fish, and her magic, get thee over to her blog, and then go look at her work on flickr, because it's fabulous. I am the proud owner of a couple of her pieces, and I am telling you, they glow! It's impossible to feel cranky when you look at them - magic. :)
(copyright by Marsha Jorgensen 7/27/09 All rights reserved. You many NOT copy, download, or use any part of this image without her permission.)

Thank you, Marsha! You are such a sweetie pie.

NOW...ahem... a drum roll, please! The first place winner (for Gertie!) is: Leslie!!















The second place winner (for the signed print called 'Waiting for Spring') is: Lee Beth!!













Wow, that was exciting. I had my 11-year-old pull names out of a bowl (just so you know it was on the up and up!). So Leslie and Lee Beth, you need to send me an email through the contact page at www.pamsmallcomb.com, and give me your mailing addresses. I will get your prizes in the mail to you! And for everyone who didn't win, I know how that feels, I never win either. LOL! No, seriously, what I was going to say is that I had so much fun doing this, that I've decided to do a Skelly-themed giveaway at the beginning of Fall. Skellys...come on, you know I am going to have fun with this. :) Thanks everyone (lurkers and non-lurkers alike)!

Now go back up and read about Tumble Fish - she rocks. :)