Wednesday, December 30, 2009

One Little Word

I generally don't undertake making any resolutions each January 1. I do think about what I want the year to hold, inasmuch as we can influence that kind of thing.  I do believe we can influence ourselves, and that's what I've been more interested in. So this 'one little word' concept seemed a perfect idea for me.

I read about this sometime in 2009 and thought it was a neat idea. And promptly forgot it until Ali Edwards put a post about her 2010 word up this week. And with little effort, I came up with engage. It's something I tend not to do - hence the photography, one gets to be behind the lens and watch. I have a reserve that I almost always have to overcome to begin something new, try new things/places/people, walk into a room full of people and so on. So for these and some other reasons, my word will be engage.

And since many of you are bloggers you must also love words, and that's why I'm sharing this with you.

From Ali Edwards' blog:

Can you identify a single word that sums up what you want for yourself in 2007 2010?

It can be something tangible or intangible. It could be a thought or a feeling or an emotion. It can be singular or plural. The key is to find something that has personal meaning for you. This is not your mother's word or your spouse's word or your child's word - this is YOUR word.

One little word can have big meaning in your life if you allow yourself to be open to the possibilities. And here's one thing that is totally interesting: sometimes a word will pop into your brain and it will not make any sense to you right now. Give it some time. Let it percolate a bit. I have often found that our hearts speak to us in very unique ways. Maybe this is a word you need to hear but just aren't ready for it yet. Again, be open to the possibilities.

What's your word?


–verb (used with object)
1. to occupy the attention or efforts of (a person or persons): He engaged her in conversation.

2. to secure for aid, employment, use, etc.; hire: to engage a worker; to engage a room.

3. to attract and hold fast: The novel engaged her attention and interest.

4. to attract or please: His good nature engages everyone.

5. to bind, as by pledge, promise, contract, or oath; make liable: He engaged himself to repay his debt within a month.

6. to betroth (usually used in the passive): They were engaged last week.

7. to bring (troops) into conflict; enter into conflict with: Our army engaged the enemy.

8. Mechanics. to cause (gears or the like) to become interlocked; interlock with.

9. to attach or secure.

10. Obsolete. to entangle or involve.

–verb (used without object)

11. to occupy oneself; become involved: to engage in business or politics.

12. to take employment: She engaged in her mother's business.

13. to pledge one's word; assume an obligation: I was unwilling to engage on such terms.

14. to cross weapons; enter into conflict: The armies engaged early in the morning.

15. Mechanics. (of gears or the like) to interlock.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Repeat the Sounding Joy

This was my favorite hymn when I was young.  I remember playing it over and over in the den, on my record player.  I liked singing it in church because it was big, and happy sounding...and I knew the words. I fell away for several years, and transferred my favors to another Christmas hymn. 

Today, when I googled the song, I learned that it was not written for Christmas, and that all the original verses are no longer used - we only use the second half now. It's my favorite again this year, probably because we all need some joy as we catch our breath at the end of a trying 2009 and an unknown 2010. So today, I wish you all the gift of joy. May you find it in big things and small, and carry it in your hearts throughout the next year.

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;

Let earth receive her King;

Let every heart prepare him room,

And heaven and nature sing,

And heaven and nature sing,

And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Verse 2

Joy to the Earth! the Saviour reigns;

Let men their songs employ;

While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains

Repeat the sounding joy,

Repeat the sounding joy,

Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

Merry Christmas!
God bless us,
every one.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I made two batches of these fairly quickly last night.  They are Maple Rosemary Nuts and the mix I picked is pecan-cashew-peanut.  It's a new recipe, and I like it - sort of a sweet and savory thing.

You can find the recipe at Food In Jars, which is a new blog I found.  Her current post is about a pot of pinto beans that she recently made and it makes my mouth water.  I think I may have to try this after Christmas. 

Back to wrapping - and re-wrapping if the truth be told.  The Unwrapping Elf is on the move this morning.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Bullet List

  • The annual tradition of the last-minue-make-it-myself Christmas card is complete. Now I just have to go buy stamps and mail them. This year's theme is The Unwrapping Elf.

  • Christmas Day menu

  • Shopping for Christmas Day menu

  • Wrap gifts

  • Make cookies and roast nuts (new recipe)

  • Make peanut butter fudge (only if I get to it before it gets rainy again)

  • Go to a movie or 3 (Avatar, The Blind Side, and one more I can't remember)

  • Laundry, laundry, laundry

  • Catch up my December daily album - I've been taking pictures, just not putting them in the book

  • Coordinate visits to family and friends

  • Decide on the 5:30 pm or the 10:30 pm church service on Christmas Eve. Last year the music was a little sophisticated for someone sitting in church at 10:30, warm and beginning to get drowsy. Perhaps the 5:30 communion service is the ticket this year.

Whew! Good thing it's downhill the rest of the way.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


"What do you mean 'leave it'? I'm supposed to retrieve birds."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday Bar

This makes me giggle...but I'm not sure why. Is it the rather obvious port-a-john? The tangled lights? The "Go for the Gold Tonight/Happy Birthday Jill"?

Anyway, hope this makes you smile, too.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Use What You Have decorating

I found this post today that encapsulates the holiday look I like. Of course, everyone puts their own spin on it. I will have more pictures of my decorating up in a day or so because folks are coming for bridge tonight! Must be finished!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


My house is small, so finding room for decorations is tough. I also have to be sure that a certain quadra-ped with yellow fur doesn't eat the decorations, but that's another story.

So I wasn't thrilled that the most logical space for the creche was just inside the front door.

But then I took this picture, and it seemed a great fit. The manger scene is topped by a chicken scratch Welcome. Seems appropriate somehow.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Here's where I am on the mantel. Clear lights, burlap, gilded pine cones and I'm thinking of adding one of my big shells to the center there.

The sparkle snowflakes propped up - one of them - will be hung from the left sconce.

I realized this year just how shallow the mantel is. Looks like something that needs to be remedied this year.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday decorating

So, after years of accumulating holiday ornaments, I have finally figured out what appeals to me because I have seen it this year. It is the natural look that coalesced this year: burlap, shells, silver glass balls, clear lights and twine. It's probably not new, it just finally penetrated my consciousness.

Then I saw this display of vintage looking glass balls in a Pottery Barn catalog and thought of the sconces on the dining room wall.

My interpretation is below. And to tell the truth, I'm pretty pleased. Although, I think I will change out the twine I used for something either more rustic, or with a very light silver or blue color.

Now I've got to try to make the mantle and Christmas tree fit in.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pictures with Santa

Let me set the stage - the office was set up with goodies on a table in corner of the office. The man with the beard was set up in the treatment area. It was amazing. My girl Cotton is on your left, and Gus, well, Gus is on the right.

There are photos with both of them still, but I think these convey the fun. Gus was beside himself. He wanted to visit with Santa, you know, give him a big slurp and investigate (chew) the pipe. When we finished, he quickly located the snacks.

Gus sort of did his playing dead trick for everyone. He couldn't stay down long enough to really be dead (with all 4 legs in the air), but he got his treat.

This group has seen us through swallowing the latex hamburger, swallowing the plastic greenery, eating the silica packet, ear issues, limps, back injuries, reflux, allergies...the list is so long I think I'm leaving something off. Oh, yes, well dog care is what's missing!

I can't say enough about this clinic. I'd be comfortable with either of the vets - Dr. Jones or Dr. Weyl - seeing my dogs (I haven't met the newest vet, Dr. Rogers) - they all have wonderful, caring personalities as do the whole staff. Josh, Samantha, JR, Laurie, Laura, Susan and more whose names escape me - thanks for being there.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saturday Bullets

  • I had an inspiring moment about niece and nephew gifts, and my SIL liked my idea. I feel giddy with relief.
  • A lot happened this week at work: potluck in our department, a co-worker died suddenly at age 37, I took a day off on Friday. Everyone at work was stunned at our co-worker's death. It is truly tragic as he leaves a wife and 7 year old behind.
  • Today will be a new day in dog/vet relations: Gus and Cotton will have their photo made with Santa. That Santa normally wears a white coat is a real plus. The last time we were at the vet, Gus lay on the floor with his head against the vent because he could hear the vet talking.
  • Observation: there is no mess like the ones we create for ourselves, is there Tiger?
  • Made a white chili recipe last night - LOVE IT!
  • Took my mom to TOYS-R-US last night. That place scares me. Too many choices.
  • Today is decorating day.
  • There is a cardinal in my window box. I need to put out the bird feeder.

Have a great Saturday!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


White Flower Farmhouse is a blog I follow...and they have beautiful things. When this went up in the store, I was hooked.

It's vintage, and french, they say. I just love the shape. It surprisingly sturdy for such an airy form.

Got any ornaments that you love, old or new?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Road Home

Yesterday it was rainy. The ceiling was low: see how the tallest tower in the Southeast disappeared into the clouds?

When I have to pick up the dogs because they've gone to doggie runaround (to wear them out) I go by Merry Mac's, an Atlanta institution. You can get a plate of good food there : a meat and three. It's always hard to choose.

I couldn't remember which building was glowing green here. But it shows up in the top left of the photo.

It was just another rainy night in Georgia.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Early Present

When you're raised on football played in front yards, under Friday night lights and on Saturday afternoons...when your Southern Living magazine subscription comes out with an SEC conference issue in August...when you grow up watching SEC football every Saturday in the Fall...and when 'mixed marriage' means a household split between Alabama football and Auburn enjoy it when your team plays well.

Mark Ingram completes a 69 yard run with a pass from McElroy.

Dec. 5, 2009 Alabama 32, Florida 13 Georgia Dome (Atlanta)

Photo courtesy Birmingham News/Mark Almond

In Merry Pin

I went through a relatively short but intense pin phase. During that time, I gathered pins to wear with my suits because at that time, there was little to do to express personality because the uniform was a navy, charcoal gray or black suit with blouse and sedate heels. The pin was the only dash of color or expression of whimsy one could make.

There are a handful of seasonal pins in the collection: the Junebug, snowflakes, a poinsettia that was a gift (you know who you are ), a Christmas tree in shades of green crystals, and my favorite, a partridge in a pear tree.

I believe traditions are what you repeat each year that bring meaning and depth to an event: certain foods, the Christmas eve midnight service at church, get togethers with friends...repeating these things each year creates a link back through the years and makes an unknown future here on on Earth less anonymous. Knowing that we will repeat these things with family and friends is something to look forward to.

Each year as Christmas approaches, I find myself wondering when I will reach for the Christmas tree pin, the poinsettia or the partridge, because that is the indicator that holiday has started for me.


In Merry Pin: in a merry mood or good spirits. Old tankards were divided in eight equal parts, each marked by a silver pin. The cup held two quarts and the amount from pin to pin was a Winchester pint. By the rules of good fellowship, the drinker was to only stop drinking at the pin and if he drank beyond it, he was to drink to the next one. As it was very hard to stop on the pin, the efforts gave way to much mirth, with the drinker obliged to drain the tankard.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December 1

I love that Christmas decorations are up when we return from Thanksgiving. It's like a gift from the office building to us. I'm pursuing permission to take some lobby shots - I noticed tonight that the tree and chandelier lights reflected in the atrium's glass ceiling are magical. Since Sept 11, building owners do not lightly tolerate photographers taking pictures of their buildings.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Christmas Art Journal

Okay - I've got it put together, and thought I'd show you how it's turning out. Of course it won't be final until I use it as a journal.

I notice as I look at these, I have my page 2 in the 3rd page position. That #2 is a Santa shaped playing card...

The reindeer was in an unrelated pack of Christmas stuff. But he fit right in, didn't he?

This was an experiment. There are these transparent Hambly overlays that I haven't seen in stores around here. So I made my own: I printed a holiday pattern on a transparency film I had, and stitched a white piece of cardstock to the back with my mini-fake battery powered sewing machine.

Love this one.

That's a vintage Santa from the Night Before Christmas on the back of the preceding make room for a photo or journaling I cut the story lines into strips and stuck them on top of Santa...The facing page is a baseball card protector cut to fit and it will hold 8 photos or mementos.
Cut up a page protector, cut a bit of Christmas tree lace and stitched them together along side the lace to make a page pocket. Behind that you can see a vintage educational bingo card.

This might be my favorite page...I put together scraps from other pages to make the front and stuck them to a solid piece on the back.

Here's another one I particularly like. The girl is on two or three foam stickies for depth, and a photo or note will slide into the white card with the circular cutout below.
This one will have journaling on the front, and a photo on the back.

A vintage page with O Come Let Us Adore Him is the last page.

To be honest, I have about 4 more pages to make, but the binder rings are strained now, so I won't make more until I get bigger rings.

This has been a lot of fun to do. Now to see if I can stick with the journal part through December!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What's on Your Table this Thursday?

The question is not Boxers or Briefs. Oh, no. It is Fresh? or Canned?


When I hostess, it's fresh.

How about you? And if Cranberry Sauce isn't your thing, what makes the Thanksgiving meal for you?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Think Pink!

This made me smile, so I'm passing it along. Like the happiness pig...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A gift

Today was beautiful! This is one of the gifts it gave me - this is a sunroof photo, taken at the corner of two busy thoroughfares that really aren't landscaped. And yet, this was there. I recently read something that went like this - I don't recall who said it:

It's not what you look at, it's what you see.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


This is something I did recently in an online class I'm taking. The class is called yesterday and today, and it's meant to help you focus on words (journaling) and pictures. I'm miserable at words when it comes to my own experiences and feelings. You know, the serious stuff.

If you look this starts with all black and white (the past or heritage) and the second page ends in color (now).

These were scanned copies of originals so that I could get them all the same size without forever altering the originals.

If you've never done it before, try taking heritage photos and making a timeline - even if you don't paste them into some permanent arrangement - and see how striking it is to see your own lifeline materialize in front of you.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Blind Side

I've been looking forward to this since I read the article in Sports Illustrated or the WSJ - not sure which. It's a feel good for sure!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Molly's Folly

Ignore the messily hung tower on the towel bar. Ignore the clothes hanger on the window. Ignore the dog who has crumpled up the bath mat. Oh, and ignore that bath mat, too.

Now, focus on the shower curtain. Or as I like to call it: Molly's Folly. I call it that because it took forever to find the fabrics to put together to match my vision and then it was quite expensive. I'm not admitting how much. But a lot.

It's got black fabric on top with gold bees and gold piping and then the body of the curtain is a black / cream check and the black stripes have gold edges. It all goes together quite grandly and it was my "grown up shower curtain" back when I foolishly thought I would have a pulled together, color coordinated house.

So, after Molly's Folly had been hanging for about a year, a flaw in the fabric opened up in a totally random place were there was no stress and I safety pinned it. Then it got spotted with bathroom cleaner (read little bleach spots all over) and the hem got really dirty. So after letting it hang another year in such a sad state, I recently took Molly's Folly down and to the cleaners. I entered it into their "Can this Shower Curtain be Saved?" contest. I doubt it.

In it's place I hung two $29 dollar Simply Shabby Chic shower curtains from Target. See the cool ruffle above? Technically, only one shower curtain is in these pictures because I had to go to a second store to find a second curtain.

I've decided that they fit my lifestyle much better. And they lighten up the joint.
So we'll see about Molly's Folly and whether it can be rehabilitated. In the meantime, the plain white curtain will do.

Any Follies at your house?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blue Sky

I thought the afternoon sunlight was so pretty this weekend.

How glad I am that I have blue sky pictures to remind me that the sun will come back out.

I think the gold is just so pretty against the blue sky.

Sending a little Blue Sky your way...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Art Journal or December Daily

I became intrigued with a concept called an art journal recently. I wasn't quite sure what one was until I used my favorite tool, Google, and looked at a number of them. They seem to range from a collection of art techniques to art + traditional journaling and many things in between.

At this blog I found a concept I liked. It was a mix of the traditional scrapbook with the art journal. December generally gets away from me, and it's easy to lose sight of what Christmas is meant to celebrate. So, I thought I would do an art journal to help me slow down and focus on each day in December. Not every day will be specifically Christmas related, but I thought if I had to document the 25 days of December, it would help me focus. And I've always loved the Twelve Days of Christmas as a Christmas theme, and this journal reminds me of that.

The first principal is to build the foundation of your journal now, before the rush of December is on you. Then all you have to do is take your photo or jot down your memory and finish off each of the pages. I made a start on that this weekend.

I bought an acrylic cover from Etsy much like the one at the blog I linked to above. It helped me visualize (now that I've done this and made some pages, I can see what I'd like to do next time). Once I find some letters I like, I will add 2009 and possibly some more...I'm looking for some metal letters and numbers. The contrast with acrylic and chipboard will be nice I think.

The idea for me is to make mostly simple pages with some more labor intensive ones. You can see a brown craft paper edge on the lower has no design on it yet. I'm waiting for a package of Christmas ephemera to arrive from Etsy (I'm excited, it's vintage). The Joy page was made with card stock, photoshop and an HP printer. I'll add a small photo and journaling above. One page I think will cover traditions that I look forward to: nativity scenes, the caroler figures I put out, things like that.

This is some paper in the soft aqua color I'm in love with right now. There's a vintage combination of red and aqua that is my all time favorite - do you remember seeing it?

And below are two pages: one is a recipe card that I thought would be a cute way to note holiday baking that I can recall. My grandmother used to make fruitcake cookies every year, even though I can't think of anyone who liked fruitcake (besides me - I liked hers). And her favorite cake was a Lane cake - it only appeared a few times and always at Christmas. Then there was ambrosia (orange + coconut only) and my mother's fruit salad.

Behind the recipe card is a baseball trading card page that has been cut down to fit. It will let me put 4 2.25" x 3.25" photos in the sleeves on both sides. That one would be good for holiday decorations at home, or perhaps city decorations.

This last page is a canvas. I've painted it with sky blue acrylic paint and while the paint was still wet, stuck on a piece of acrylic. On top of that I sprayed something called Glimmer Mist which gives it a faintly pearlized appearance. There's a little drop of it on the bird, at the end of the wing. I will likely journal on some cardstock and then attach it to the upper front, and attach a corresponding photo to the unsightly back of the canvas.

Above are bits and pieces I have in a stash to use with the ephemera I ordered. The cardboard pieces I will probably paint white and then go from there. I loved the shape of the piece and cut in half to have two pages for this book.

Working on this book just this little bit this weekend has had the effect of making me look forward to the holidays more. And the art is a nice balance to the hustle and stress at work.

Already it's doing what I hoped. I'll share more with you when I make the rest of the pages.

Is there anything you do to help you slow down and focus on important occasions or holidays?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

October Color

This was last Saturday on the way to Moe's to get a salad. I stopped on a neighborhood street and took about 5 shots...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dear Dr. Vet

Dear Dr. Vet,

Just a quick note to let you know that Management has cut back on my food as you instructed.

Yea. About that: ttthhhpppptttt!

Management has shown no empathy, so I have taken matters into my own hands paws snout.

Tuesday night, I supplemented the lame amount of kibble you recommended with a stick of butter, wrapper and all (One merely has to keep one's eyes open around here for counter opportunities). Roughage is good, yes? Management then called the emergency clinic who said not to worry, that things might be a little loose but should be okay. Whatever.

Wednesday night, when Management showed no signs of learning from experience, I took an avocado off the counter when Management went to answer the phone - avocados are the good fat, and it was tasty. Except for the seed. I spit that out, but not until after crunching it into bits so that Management could worry about potential toxicity. Management googled avocados, avocado seeds and something about @#$%! golden retrievers but didn't call the emergency clinic.

Last night was slim pickings, until Management produced a chew that kept me occupied for an hour or so. That's what I'm talking about. Toss a dog a bone, why don't you?

I'll keep you posted, but my money's on me.

Your pal,


P.S. Cotton goes by the rules. But only because she can't reach the counter.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I really like pumpkin pie. So I've been casting around for other pumpkin recipes. Last year I made a pumpkin and sausage pasta dish. Tasty ~ though with sausage as a key ingredient, how could it not be?

This year I came across a blog that featured Pumpkin Cookies. And they had lots and lots of comments raving about the cookies.

And I had all but two of the ingredients, and had to go to the grocery for soup ingredients anyway, so...voila! The first pan only had six. Just in case.

But after I tasted one, I was sold. They have butterscotch morsels. And cinnamon. If I changed anything, it would be to add a bit more cinnamon, like half a teaspoon more.

The dough is dense, not thin. And they bake up big and cakey. They remind me of teacakes, which my brother really likes. Excuse me a moment, we are under attach by squirrels armed with hickory nuts. They throw them at the windows, and the dogs are understandably indignant.

Definitely a keeper. I may take some to work tomorrow for taste testing. If there are any left.


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