Thursday, January 8, 2015


I am so, so glad that I went to the trouble to dig up several of my best succulents from the Cantina Garden this fall, and bring them inside for the winter.

For one thing, I'm just lovin' the way they look in my house.

Plus they go so well with the artificial succulent arrangement on the dining room table, which sweet Lexi gifted me with a few years back.

I don't really know what I'm doing, but I'm guessing they like to go semi-dormant in winter, so I potted them up using a cacti soil mix, and put them in some cheap plastic containers with built in reservoirs, so they will never sit in water. I've been giving them just a quick drizzle of water about once a week, but if any of you have experience with this and know better, please advise!

On the down side, the house sure is going to look sad and empty when I move them back out to the garden come spring.

On the plus side, each of those big mommas has several babies nestled beneath her leaves. So, instead of having to start completely from scratch each spring, as I always do when I leave them outside to die in a hard freeze, I could be starting out with double, if not triple, the number of plants I had last year.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Have you ever had a Toblerone candy bar? I hadn't had one since we lived overseas, but our niece Megan tucked a giant one into our Christmas box this year, and yum! I had forgotten how good they were. They are the Euro-version of a Nestle's Crunch, but the crispy bits are both crunchy and chewy.

Know what I liked even more than the taste? The package...

which doesn't seem to be the same one I remember from back in the day.

I'm not sure whether it's the clever graphics, the vintage look, the color combo, or what, but there is just something about that box!

All I know for sure is that every time I walk through the kitchen and see it perched up there near my teapot, it gives me a little thrill, and I just can't seem to throw it away. Well, there's also the fact that we still haven't managed to finish eating it all, even with two of us working on it. It's BIG, I tell you!

Hmmm, perhaps I could use the package in my art journaling somewhere...

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


In case you are wondering what the most surprising gift I received from Santa this year was, well, it was this...

a tool kit containing everything I could possibly need to do some encaustic, or hot wax, painting. Which is kind of interesting, seeing as how I never put that on any Christmas list, or even mentioned it to Santa. Oh, it's not that I'm not interested in encaustics. I think it's a fascinating technique -- one that's been around since the early Egyptians. And I love the smell of beeswax. No, it's just that it's, well, dangerous, and I'm a great big ol' ninny! The first three things on the supply list were "ventilation fan, burn kit, and fire extinguisher", and I remember all too well that time Mom and I decided to make candles on the kitchen stove.

That kit might well have spent its days hidden away in a closet, were it not for muse Artsy Woman, who went absolutely bonkers when she heard what I got. Apparently she's been dying to give encaustics a try. When I suggested that we all get together for a play-date, to see if we can figure out how to do this without burning my house down, she insisted that we do it at her studio, which is separate from her home, and has proper ventilation. I feel much better knowing that at least one of us has experience dealing with toxic vapors!

In addition to everything in the kit -- the heated palette, surface thermometer, brushes, carving tools, heat gun, soy wax for cleaning brushes, encaustic medium and a variety of paint sticks -- he also brought me a bunch of books about encaustic...

and a variety of boards and panels for us to paint on.

Now, if only he weren't feeling quite so smug about managing to knock my socks off, yet again!


Monday, January 5, 2015


There is something about putting away the holiday decor that always sets off a chain-reaction for me. When we first set up the tree and get out all the gee-gaws, I just love, love, love them! But once Christmas is over, and you've added in all the new loot, the boxes and bags, the leftover food and candy and cookies? Well, all that clutter starts givin' me a major case of the heebie-jeebies!

So this week I worked on whipping my house back into shape, and it got me to thinkin' -- about which decorations I truly loved, and which were just adding to the clutter. That, in turn, started me thinking about how best to store them. Originally they all went up into the attic, and it required two people to get them down. Well, I don't like waiting around for my hubby to get in the mood for that, so I made room for them all in a downstairs storage closet. This year I decided to go one step further. I thought, what if all the Christmas teapots that I usually display on this kitchen hutch...

got stored in one of the cabinets right below?

And, what if all the snow babies and such that usually get displayed on this Chinese medicine cabinet...

could be stored in that center cabinet just below?

Simple enough task, to clear a little space here and there, right?  

WRONG! Next thing you know, the dominoes are falling, and you find yourself doing a major purge on every closet and cabinet in the house!

Next up is the bedroodio.

I was gifted with lots and lots of artful goodness this Christmas, including everything one needs to experiment with a whole new medium (more about that later). But, as you can plainly see, the cupboards are anything but bare! So where shall I put it all?

Guess I could start by moving the rest of my gardening books down to the Man Cave, since the gardener's mantle has now been shifted firmly back onto Hubby's shoulders, where it rested for the first 20 years of our marriage -- until I stole it away, temporarily, in my desperate search for a creative outlet.

Then perhaps I can figure out how to make better use of this lower shelf.

If worse comes to worse, I suppose I could get rid of a few cowboy hats and purses, to make some room in my miniscule closet.

Let's hope it doesn't come to that.