Sunday, December 5, 2010

Blogging...More or Less...

You would think this time of year, there would be a ton of things to blog about. 
And really there is, but I am almost too busy to. 
Not so much busy like the rest of the world - Holiday busy.

 Just a bit overwhelmed with all the to-do's in my head that have nothing to do with the Holidays at all.

I need to get focused.

1. Finish my office projects.

2. Finish the un-finished projects around the house.

3. Finish the un-finished crafting projects.

4. Finish the....yeah, the list is long.

How about the time to be a good friend? To be a good mom? To be a good wife?

Funny how when the stress of it all creeps in, you just want to make 
a whole lot of changes towards a simpler life. 

Less collections.

Less cars.

Less house.

Less yard.

Less commitments.

Less. Less. Less.

I'm beginning to think less is more!

So, while the NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION season is just around the corner, 
I think I'll skip it this year and start early!!!

Here's to less. 

And maybe, just maybe that will equate to more blogging, 
seeing how I've slacked off in that department this year....

...and just look at that dust on those little vintage shoes. Uggggh! 

We'll just pretend it's vintage too!

Yeah, that's it. Vintage dust....Tres Chic...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

At least in the dining room...

What's vintage and new at the same time?

Our new, vintage Santa Claus collection. Most of these Santas, I've found this year. Only a couple of them are carryovers from last year. Most of our holiday decor are Snowmen. Yes, we had a few Santas, but this year, well, let's just say, Santa wanted to give the snowmen a run for their money!

Santa has taken over the mantel.

Although I am LOVING all the Santas, I STILL am NOT loving the look of the used brick. Never have. Never will. But, I will not paint it white, because...well, let's just say, I don't want to be stuck with white painted brick. I have other plans for re-facing it and don't want to have a barrier coat to have to deal with. So for now, I'll deal with the used brick that I can't stand!

At least the Santa brigade make it look a little better, don't cha think?

The new, vintage collection includes plastic light up Santas - that were promptly operated on by Dr. Tina - and had all their "guts" thrown away. 

Let's just say that when I plugged in this BIG Santa - "oooh .... aaaah...look! It's a big night light!" and then when I was unplugging it and the plastic plug surround disintegrated in my hand leaving one - and only one - of the metal prongs in the outlet all alone aka: "RUN, turn off the breaker and get that prong outta there before the house catches on fire!" (thanks, A.J.!!!), it's time to remove all that vintage wiring!!!

We also found this plastic face Santa doll for a steal. 
A big 'ol stuffed guy with velcro on the backside of this hat. Velcro? What was behind the velcro??? 

A little discovery. A battery operated music box. 
Two AA batteries later (from a TV remote, course!) and Christmas music was heard.

The two of these big guys are right at home in my single ladder back chair next to the china cabinet.

This next Santa is a very, hard plastic. No lights. No sound. But truly a vintage look.
He may have been part of a larger group, cause he has a bracket-style base. 

Far left, Santa in his sleigh full of goodies for all those kiddos on his list. 
To his right, another plastic Santa. They both were light ups as well.
Right out front is the most adorable flocked Santa and Mrs. Claus.
 They are my favorite of the bunch!!!
So Jolly, indeed. 

This heavy cardstock Santa is a vintage, Made In Japan, Christmas card holder. 
I was SO in a debate with myself on whether or not to open it - as it is a one-piece fold-out 
that was in its original packaging...cute in its package, but even cuter in his intended form.

A very lightweight Santa. All dressed in felt. Pipe cleaner arms. Plastic face. Too cute!

Santa and Mrs. Claus caroling and a printed fabric stuffed Santa.

Did you notice the little plastic and felt elves? 

These are getting harder to find, so even when they are a bit faded, I grab them. 
These were on my tree last year.

As was this little Santa suit. A darling knitted suit.
And this is the tiniest Santa I own.
Flocked plastic ornament.

Happy Winter to all the Santa fans out there!!!

Note: Tonight, I am linking up to Donna @ Funky Junk's SNS #58 party. Too much fun!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Creeeepy...and it's not even Halloween anymore!

Country living.


Old house.

Distant views.

Abundant wildlife.


....but sometimes, just sometimes, it's a little too wild - on the inside.

I'm not afraid of the red and black beetles that invade the sunny side of the house twice a year. Those hundreds, if not thousands of annoying little bugs. That "do no harm" according to the local county extension office. That are "nothing more than a nuisance bug" according to a Google search. That cannot be exterminated by the local bug killer guy. Oh no. I'm not afraid of those flying bugs that get into every window crack and nook and cranny - which, in an older home, are plenty.

Nor, am I afraid of the not-so-random fuzzy brown spider that graces my bathroom floor in the daylight basement. Or the long-legged spider that makes his web in the corner of the window overlooking the yard. Or the fast little spider with the short legs that I chase with a Kleenex or paper cup, trying to save by releasing it outside.

Nope. I'm NOT scared or creeped out....
























Yes, I saw my first teeny-tiny intruder in the house the first month we lived here.

I called the exterminator and with sheer disbelief I was informed that we live in a high desert climate. HIGH desert? This is the Pacific Northwest for crying out loud. True, it's not the Washington state Pacific Northwest - green, cold and wet where we used to live, but I've also lived in the Mojave desert - the high deserts of Bishop and Ridgecrest, California. This is NOT high desert to me. There should NOT be scorpions in my HOUSE!

The exterminator told me they could spray, but chances are it would not do much good. 


Tina vs. the Scorpions.

I have found them under books.

I have found them in dark corners throughout the garage and even in the laundry room and closets that reside in the basement.

Thankfully, I have NEVER found them in my shoes or my dresser drawers.


a few weeks ago, in my bedroom downstairs, I removed the over-head light fixture to change out the lightbulb....

I unscrewed the finial that holds the upside down glass shade in place. 
Put my hand over the finial and the retaining washer so it wouldn't fall on the floor. 
Then gently removed the glass globe and set it down on the table.

I changed the lightbulb.

When I reached to pick up the globe, the finial fell to the floor.

 and I FREAKED OUT when I spotted THIS!!!



It was between the globe and the finial!!!

(look closely at that first photo - he's there - dead, yes - but I put my hand over that - what if he had been alive!!!)

All I can hope is the little menace had to painfully contort its body
to get through the tiny, tiny gap and then it died a sad slow death....

Ok, so that is kind of harsh thinking, but I can't help but feel that way.

If this one can magically squeeze in this unimaginable space, overhead, no less, where else can they get???

Why on earth do we need SCORPIONS?

Huh? WHY????

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

An Unconventional Post....

Why is it some things in life we take for granted?

Like electricity.

We are so accustomed to having it at our fingertips, that when it goes out, we are lost.

True. Candles and flashlights can hold the fort, but what about power to blow dry our hair? Or how about the use of the microwave? Or how will the hot water heater (mine is electric) heat the shower water? Or the oil heater that heats my home?

Like firewood.

When we have a stock of stacked firewood, life is good and we burn with abandon. But, when the stack gets low, and we can't burn that pile of "green" unseasoned wood, and there's snow on the ground or gallons of rain are dumping outside, what ever shall we do? 

We hope that the electricity stays on - lest a wind, ice, or snow storm knock down a tree branch or two and onto our beloved power lines - and hope that the storage tank is full of heating oil.

It's the little things in life. Life's little conveniences.

Like Toilet Paper. 

Yes. I said Toilet Paper.

When the toiletry closet is chock full of those cushy white rolls (remember the colored rolls? Blue, Pink, Yellow, Tan?) - we use it as if the roll is never ending. But, when you get down to the last little squares, and the cupboard is bare, it can become an issue. Use it sparingly. No blowing noses. No using it as a make-shift squeegee on the steamed up mirror. Not even to clean up the rogue mascara blob out of the sink.


As Elaine of Seinfeld fame said, "Can't spare a square!"

The situation becomes even worse, when at night, after a long day at work, you realize that you forgot to go to the store for TP! 

What to do?....

Grab the closest box of Kleenex, of course!!! 

Isn't that what you do? 

Or do you NEVER run out and I'm in a class by myself?

The only one with an empty cardboard roll?

Tell me.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Moving on.

Once you buy the 24 pack of Triple Sized Rolls that don't/won't fit on old-school paper holders, thus requiring a free-standing TP holder, what is the PROPER way to dispense?

Roll - over?


Roll - under???

I think EVERYONE is right on this one...

....REMINDER: note to self

Stock up on TP.   
You can NEVER have too much. 
It never goes out of style. 
And life becomes quite complicated without it!!!


ps. Our TP is ALWAYS roll-over....
..maybe, like Angie's hubby, I'm a little OCD there..?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hey, I can post an image again....

I'm not sure what was going on, but now I see the little "image" icon that allows me to post photos.

That said, I haven't a clue as to what to post photos of....???

For those that know me real well, know that my family tree isn't really big. 
Yes, there are family members out there in the world, but not a whole lot of CLOSE family. 
I can hear both my sisters and mother screeching right about now, but really, in the scope of FAMILY, it's pretty small-ish.

My parents were divorced and re-married twice (to each other) when I was very young, but I remember my father. 
He wasn't in the picture much and what I do remember weren't so great of memories. 
He passed away a few years ago of cancer and my little sister, who had never met him, and I went to see him about 6 months before his passing.

It was a good meeting, of sorts. 
Cordial, yet distant and strange. 
My sister, a grown woman and mother of two sons, finally, after many years, was able to recognize features of her own in him. 
Small feet. 
Small hands.
I, too, saw some similarities. 
Not so much in me, but in my own boys. 
Funny how that happens. 
Maybe we never talk or have never met each other, but the genes are a sure sign!!!

A few weeks ago, or maybe it's months, time has been playing tricks on me lately with all that has been going on, one of my Aunt's (my father's sister-in-law) posted a few photos of our grandmother on Facebook.

This is my grandma. My dad's mom. 
She passed away when I was 11 or 12. 
We lived in Washington state at the time and I hadn't seen her since I was about 5. Sad.

When I saw this photo, and when my sister saw it, we both had the same comment - I have her eyes. 
I also have her square face. 
I can see my boys eyes too. 
Family genes are there, even if the contact isn't.

Of my father's three children, I was the only one who met her. 
His first child, a son, ended up with his mother and he never met her. 
My sister and I ended up with our mom after their divorce and so she was only about 2, so she never met her.

I, however, have a few memories of her. 
She was a caretaker of Hippo Ranch in Texas. I think it was Marfa? 
There was a main house with a huge stone fireplace and stone floors. 
I spent many moments in that living room spinning around and around in a comfy chair. 
My bare feet pitter-pattering on the cool stone.

There was a man caretaker there too. 
I remember his name was Hub. 
That was always such a funny name to me. 
Probably a nick name, but funny nonetheless.

My grandma lived in a smaller house on the property. 
She had a yard with Tortoises. 
Great big giant creatures. 
I'm sure they were regular size by tortoise standards, but I was just a little girl, maybe 4 or 5. 
They fascinated the heck out of me.

My grandma was a tough 'ol country woman. 
She drove a white International Scout. 
Granny gears and all. 
We rode all over that ranch. 
What I don't remember though, was what animal was on that ranch. 
Probably cattle?

One holiday season, she and my mom took me to a GINORMOUS department store full of Christmas trees all decorated for the season. 
Those trees had more lights and shiny decorations than my little self had ever seen. 
I will always remember that feeling - looking up at the magical forest.

We went to a store, maybe it was a toy store, or maybe it was just the toy section of Sears or Montgomery Wards or some such place. 
Then she said the magic words...

"Tina Marie, you can pick out ANY toy you want!" 
Man, oh man...ANY toy. 
The prettiest doll? 
The softest, fluffiest stuffed teddy bear? 
The sweetest, shiniest glass tea set? 
I was a tom-boy, even back then. 
I played in the mud. 
I made grass clipping and coffee ground pies with sticks for candles. 

Don't get me wrong. 
I later played with Barbies. Actually, Barbies "country" friends. 
Their legs were not jointed and their hair and skin wasn't nearly as - let's say - uptown girl...

But I do remember my grandma, Mattie, did have a homemade, long-legged, stuffed doll with elastic on the hands and feet - it was taller than me - that I  used to dance with at her house.

But, on that day, in December, I was a simple little country girl in the "big" city.

What did I choose, you're wondering...

Well, what every little girl chooses.....





cash register 

with white and black



Oh, what a treat!!!
Funny, though. 
As it turns out, yes, I need money, but it isn't a driving factor that I NEED money in my life. 
I'm NOT obsessed with it or anything.
I actually wish as a society, we could all just barter. 
My goods and talents for your goods and talents.
Simple I say.


Friday, October 29, 2010


I found a few minutes today sitting at my desk. Those minutes have been few and far between of late. I was deciding whether to conjure up a blog post about Halloween or write my "Soldier" a letter...

Well, I chose to write him. It made me happy. I hope it makes him happy too!!!

So, long story short, have a SAFE and HAPPY HALLOWEEN...Whether you and yours are choosing to celebrate on Saturday night or Sunday night, or maybe even TONIGHT, have a ton of fun and eat lots of CANDY!!! Your dentist will thank you....LOL

...and hey, sorry for NO picture, my blogger toolbar doesn't have the image link for some reason...what kind of crap is that....??? Have I exceeded my photo limits? Who knows. Now I'm tired and I'm going home!!! Good night all....

Monday, October 11, 2010

Keeping Secrets....

Sometimes, well, most of the time, I have to keep some pretty big secrets...

Some, because friends ask me to.

Some, so I don't hurt others' feelings.

Some, because it's a surprise.

Some.. well, you get the picture...

My daily secrets are work related because of client confidentiality agreements.

Those are part of the gig.

"Hey, guess what..?"

Oh yeah. Nope. Can't share.

Can't share until the client shares with the world.

So, I'm here to share a few fun things that were created a couple years ago...
by our group of VERY creative engineers, designers, sculptors, fabricators, scenic artists...

Yeah, I told you...SECRETS I have to KEEP. For a VERY LONG TIME!!!

On Phillips' recent trip to Japan, he was able to get shots of these in place..
In a VERY public place.

 For all to see. 
So, NOW I'm sharing....

 This is a man/dog (you know his name!) fully animated, riding a unicycle. 

Who knew a man/dog could ride a one-wheeled contraption?

...And how about some cousins? I think you might know them too...
H.... D..... L....?

They keep smiling. Going 'round, and 'round, and 'round.... I think I'd get dizzy...

Notice the E B blocks in the background on the shelf..?

"Honey, was that just a coincidence or a secret you're keeping?"

And then there's this guy...He's a REAL dog!!! lol

There's more, but I wouldn't want to bore you with a WHOLE tour....

plus, it's quittin' time...Time to get home and make dinner...!

But, before I go...a shout out to my new online friend...Kristen Robinson.

Here's a link to her blog....She is very creative and looks like she has a lot of fun in her studio too.

She just recently posted about a new online class on

Ethereal Bangles E-Course


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

He's In The Army NOW!!!

Yes. Yes, he left on Sunday morning. Phillip and I dropped him off at the recruiters office. 

Hugs. Well wishes.

He had asked me NOT to cry.

I didn't cry, but when I started to well-up, he said, "Mom, stop that!", as he was 
beginning to well-up too.  

That would not be good. 

So I turned and got in the passenger seat of the car.

He would ride on the transport van to Sacramento, do what they do, and board the 
flight to South Carolina today. 

This morning.

I'd be lying if I said he hasn't been on my mind for the last few days, but today especially.


Good Luck, Mr. Kyle. I'll see you in December. (I'm welling up again....)

Mr. Kyle (top left) and his younger brother A.J.(blue hat) and his older brother, Ty.
At Red Robin going away dinner Friday night.

All of the boys....

Alex (the Swanson's youngest), A.J., Ty, Zac (the Swanson's oldest), and Kyle.

Is it just me, or does it look like Kyle is pre-occupied with Deep Thoughts???

(photos are not the best quality...I-phone in the dark!!! Yeah, I forgot my camera...AGAIN!!!)

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Doors....

No, not those Doors! 

These Doors....

The Doors to our NEW shop/studio/business/home-away-from-home....

Lots of doors..

Hallway doors.

Entry doors.

Office doors.
Lobby doors.

Bathroom doors.

Exterior doors.

Interior doors.
Shop doors.

Glass doors.

Metal doors.
Wood doors.

Fiberglass doors.

Industrial doors.

Hollow core doors.

Solid core doors.

Doors. Doors. And more doors.

If the eyes are the windows to your soul, what are doors????

This, my friends, is one of the main reasons I have not been able to blog much this Summer.

We've been working hard getting the newly purchased OLD building in shape.

NEW doors were just part of the process.....
A ton of work, but it will have a HUGE payoff for all of us involved...

Stay tuned for more reveal as we complete our to-do list and the move in.....


Friday, August 27, 2010

Missing IN ACTION!!!!

Yes, you read that right...

I have been M....I....A....!

LOTS has been going on, 

I just haven't had the time or the energy to blog about it.

So, here's the short list.....

1. My dearest husband has been in Japan on a major theme park install for the
last week. I miss him terribly. You a goose would miss her
gander...(read the anniversary posts below to get that one). 

It has proven to be quite the challenge to communicate. 
I added international calling to our cel phone plan before he
left, only to find out our iPhones don't work in Japan.  WHAT?!!! Yeah, that's what I said.
So, POOR, POOR me, has not heard his voice in days!!! It truly gives me a new
appreciation for those wives whose husbands are serving in the Armed Forces.
 I know I am very lucky and want to officially send all those wives, 
those thousands of women, who don't get to talk or see their loved ones for months at a time 

2. We are FINALLY moving into our new (very old, but coming along nicely, remodeled
building). It's been a long 4 months, and even with ALL the planning and preparing,
it's come down to the wire and we have to be out of 2 of the 3 buildings we are
currently in. Not that I'm complaining. You see, we chose to buy a building of our
own - we gave notice to our landlord - and I am THRILLED to pieces that he
was able to get 2 of the units leased in this slow economy.

I'm just tired as a dog pulling a sled in the hot desert sand!

3. I was published in Somerset Home Volume 5. Two pieces of mixed media in fact, 
and I haven't even been able to share. 
Busy is as busy Forest would say...if he were to say

It's late. I'm going home. To a dark, empty house.

Everyone has moved out or gone out for the evening or is on his way back from Japan...

Gotta love the little clock do-dad on the iphone. That's the only way I keep track of when I can Google talk him. Loving me some Google....who knew???

Only Wonka and the birds will be there to greet me.

Well, the birds will scream at me for interrupting their slumber - the sun has set in their little world., and Wonka will only want to be fed. He went to the vet today and he has lost 10 !!! pounds !!!!
Yeah, Wonka. His thyroid meds are working...Two little blue pills aday...

Cheers! and Happy Friday Night...Now go and snuggle with your loved one....

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Happpy-ness Continues....

Just past the checkers table, was our guest book table.

A simple burlap covered table.
An old up-cycled leather photo album with black pages 
and a galvanized tin with extra fine tip white Sharpies.

Our Prom picture from 1984 (Phillip's Senior Prom) in a distressed edge frame engraved with the quote "All because two people fell in love" - not too original, but SO TRUE - sitting atop a green patina'd metal easel. On one corner, I tied a laminated tag of our baby pictures using jute cord - Phillip on one side at about age 2 and me at about 6 months --- fitting since he's 1 1/2 years older than me. I've had this "tag" for a long time. I used to use it as my key chain fob when I was a teenager - even before scrap booking was popular.

Using a folding picket fence fireplace screen (thanks, Janice), I created a jaunt down memory lane of our life together - 1983 through now. To hold the photos, I strung the pickets with a jute cord and mini-clothes pins with muted party color paper flowers. In the other areas, I glued the clothespins onto white paper flowers.  
(everyone knows I'm a pack-rat - here's proof - a little scrap of paper - a typing class note that Phillip gave me back in high school) 

On the right side of the table, I used a metal display tree I found last year 
on one of my treasure hunts. I used this tree to display trivia cards about the two of us.

 Phillip brought his friend, Mike, to pick me up for our first date. He said it was because Mike needed a ride. I said he was his back-up plan, in case things didn't go well....Well, it went and in 1985, Mike was our best man.

Phillip coined the phrase "we've goosed" because geese mate for life.

We've never split up or separated, but I did "huck" a cheeseburger at him once.

We were married twice. Once on 7/22/1985 in Tonopah, NV and then again on 7/27/1985 in Bishop, CA.

Phillip has bought me five rings: a friendship ring, a promise ring, an engagement ring, a wedding ring, a 10th anniversary ring, a 20th anniversary ring.

On top of the tree, I painted up a found little house "block" in the muted aqua color of our party.

Rusty steel letters - P and T.

And a pair of painted wooden Geese - in love.

Behind the guest table, we had a photo booth set up. 

A Kissin' Booth.

This proved to be a TON of fun. Unlimited photos. Color. Black and White.

Janice and I collected numerous dress-up items. Wigs, glasses, google eyes, plastic animal noses,
boas, ties, name it, we had it.

I even brought a picture frame and Phillip cleaned up our old 1965 Impala steering wheel. That made for some really fun shots!

The photo-booth rental guy, brought some fun props too - boxing gloves and a wrestling mask.

 Our guests were prompted to take as many photos as they wanted, but to leave at least one strip in the photo album guest book. WOW! What a lot of fun. We have the best guest book EVER!!! We even got a CD of all the photos...

I won't share the photos of my guests here (at least until I get permission - then it's on!!!), but here are a few Phillip and I took.

Yeah, we didn't use any props. We just didn't have time, I guess...?

We will at our 50th!!! Or maybe we won't have to...I'm sure we will look funny on our own. Gray hair. Coke Bottle glasses. No teeth...LOL

Dinner was served on the shady patio of the inn. 
Simple round white tables with white table cloths. Burlap squares. Brown linens.

Kraft paper bows on the back of every other chair. I purchased a huge spool of paper rope online and spent many hours unwinding, flattening, and tying the rope into bows with pipe cleaner ties. Even though I saved $$ doing it this way, I would NOT do it this way again! Spring for a roll of it already unwound. Your hands and wrists will thank you...Trust me on this one!!!

A mix of blue mason jars (thanks, Bruce!) 
and milk bottles filled with fresh flowers.

White carnations. Purple and white daisies. 
Purple wax flowers. Lavender. Mint, in bloom.

I saved a bunch - no pun intended - by buying $5.99 bulk-pack flowers at our local Safeway store. The floral department ordered them in for me for the same price as the in-store floral kiosks. (thanks, Kristin for picking them up) 

The lavender A.J. and I picked the night before (that will remain a story for just us!) and from Kristin's garden. The mint was from Janice's garden.

I printed and folded a bunch of Cootie Catchers on 12" x 12" kraft paper.

Each set of 4 was printed in different colors - blue, brown, black, red, purple, green - with different numbers, and fortunes inside.

The girls' places were set with Cherry RED wax lips and the boys' places had Grape wax Mustaches....FUN! and even more fun in pictures!
This is my youngest, A.J. He looks good in red, don't ya think?

He takes after his mom....

For dinner, we had tri-tip, BBQ chicken, and ribs. Green salad, potato salad, pasta salad, and fresh fruit.
...and iced tea, beer, wine and lemonade...
I just fell in love with this bee hive beverage dispenser I found online, back in May. However, it took 5, yes, FIVE times to get one shipped to me that wasn't chipped, broken, leaky or full of huge air bubbles (that can't possibly be safe under pressure!)....I almost gave up, but the final time, just in time, was the charm.

They make spindly little wire stands for most of the dispensers I saw, but this bee hive didn't have one. The nozzle is too low to fill glasses, so I stacked it on two of my old soda crates turned upside down. Worked like a charm! 

The cute little wooden bee was a last minute addition. 
You've seen him on my blog before....

He's sweet!

Dinner was perfect. 

Phillip and I went through the buffet line first 
(that felt weird, but everyone insisted!)
We all had a great time.
Kristin titled this random shot of me, my
"Martha Stewart" moment.  
...maybe I was having a little Martha-moment that day.... 

But unlike Martha, I was wearing borrowed white sandals! (thanks, Ginger!)

Ginger was my maid of honor back in 1985. So, it was fitting. 
Something old (friendships?), something new (my dress), something borrowed (sandals), something blue (you'll see.....)

Stay tuned....

The party has begun, but is FAR from over!!!

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