Saturday, December 9, 2017

the wonder of grandchildren... and the magic of Christmas

painted  fingernails!

We spent yesterday evening with our 5 year old grand daughter so her parents could have a little time to themselves (to either have a quiet dinner or ... perhaps  to do a little Christmas shopping). Whatever the reason, it gave DH and I some alone time with this adorable precocious child.

painted toenails!

5 years old is such a great age... just on the cusp of understanding what things are all about. She works things out so well in her little mind that it amazes me. We may be talking about something and she will explain the concept to me.... and for the most part has it down pretty well.

I was reading to her at bedtime. She loves books and has tons. We were reading one I had given her recently called "The Kissing Hand"... and another called, "How to Babysit a Grandma". Well, she asked me if my grandma ever read to me... and I had to say that I never knew any of my grandmas. They all passed away before I was born. She looked all forlorn and said "That's so sad".... and I agreed it was. I would have liked to have known them.

Anyway, it was an interesting evening and although we probably spent too long laying in bed talking after reading... so much so that she wasn't asleep yet when her mom & dad came home (but she was in bed!). But since we don't get a lot of one on one quiet time to talk, it was nice.

She also taught me how to say "I love you" in sign language. 

Now we have 3 other grandchildren, ages 19, 16, and 10 and we love them all dearly, but  I now remember how much I enjoyed the older ones at this age. And IMO, although infants are precious and toddlers are adorable, 5 year olds... when they are becoming 'little people' who ask questions and come up with wonderful original answers are the most fun!

Hope all of you readers have a wonderful safe fun filled weekend!  As for myself, I intend to put on Christmas music, get a fire going in the fireplace, light my favorite scented candle (Marshmallow Fireside by Bath & Body Shop), and start on my Christmas cookie baking. The cats of course will help me... either by lying on my lap  by the fire or just plain supervising (they are very good at that).  

Thank you again for stopping by... to share a little of my life with me. I certainly enjoy sharing yours. 



Monday, December 4, 2017

Christmas tree Poinsettia story... and some finished pottery

There is a story behind our Christmas Tree Poinsettia.  DH's mom passed away at 98 years of age in Louisiana 2 Christmases ago.  The Poinsettias that were used at the Service on the River Road were given to her 4 sons.  Each Christmas since we have added ours to the Christmas tree in her memory. 

This Christmas when I was adding it to the tree, I felt like she was telling me to 'add Mardi Gras beads' to the tree. Although we have drawers full of Mardi Gras beads, I had never thought to do this. So-oo I thought, 'sure, why not?' and I have to say that our tree has never looked so good.

tree not lit
tree lit

and here's a picture of the cats helping with the tree...

Tux and Julie helping with the trimming

Small wildlife tree in Hall (with Julie supervising)

 and last of all, here are a few finished pottery pieces...

my cup kitties (which you may notice look like Tux and Julie)

... and I sold a few more of my Cheeky Chickens this past week. A lady came up to me in the studio and said that she needed more chickens. I was surprised and said, "You have some of my chickens?" To which she replied, "Yes, bought them at last year's clay sale... and I'd like to have a few more".  So... luckily I had some there at the studio. But I have to admit, my stock is getting low and I have 2 more people that want them. Guess I know what I'll be doing over the holidays and next semester.




Hand-Made & One of a Kind

Lovable little critters that will sit on your shelf

and bring joy to your day!

Be Happy!


Also threw a few over-sized mugs:

done with 'spectacular' clay...

and a few new mama chickens...

It's only Monday and yet there's so much to do in the next few weeks; Christmas gift shopping, ordering, mailing, Christmas cards to write, decorating, cleaning, baking Christmas cookies, wrapping gifts, getting the house ready for guests, planning and cooking for Christmas dinner, etc.

And if you are like us... trying to get all those last minute doctors appointments in before the end of the year. It's a bit over-whelming, but I try to remember to just take it day by day.  I do love Christmas... 

and wish a wonderful Christmas season to all of you! 

Monday, November 27, 2017

post Thanksgiving post...

I had planned to put up a Thanksgiving post before we left... but alas, it didn't happen. So... this will be a post-Thanksgiving post.

Thanksgiving dinner

Our family get-together at my daughter's house was minus the boys and their families. Oldest son and his family celebrated Thanksgiving in Hawaii due to distance and youngest son and his celebrated at home due to an unexpected turn of events in his wife's family. 

But still, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner (with lots and lots of leftovers due to the shortage of expected mouths).  But between us, we put a pretty good dent in the Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn bread, cranberry sauce, etc... not to mention desserts. 

Our daughter graduated with an Interior Design degree and worked as  a designer for a few years after college.  But after moving from Dallas, she started working as a Closer for Title companies and has continued to do this. However... she is obviously a designer at heart as she is constantly changing things in her home. It is always a work in progress... painting and repainting, redoing the decor, etc. 

From Thursday's Thanksgiving decor with pumpkins and Fall leaves, etc. we moved on to Christmas decor by Friday night.

Thursday's Thanksgiving pumpkins

Christmas is infiltrating the room by Friday evening

By Friday evening, we had 4 woodland Christmas trees... 2 owl trees, one a dove tree, and one with the possibility of being an acorn and squirrel tree...

But the weather was beautiful... and one can't stay inside when the outdoors beacons.

pond in back of house

daughter and I in hammock by pond
front porch 
scenery in front of porch with dog, chickens, and horse
(hazy - have to look closely)

Later we watched grand daughter working one of the horses...


Then there's  Willow (who is getting up in age) as well as Coco - cat in picture below that is our Tux and Julie's sibling.

some chickens following us around

All in all, it was a very nice visit and even though the boys and their families weren't there with us, we did call, text, and send pictures to share. So thanks to the marvel of technology, we did get to visit virtually.

Needless to say, Tux, Julie, and Ghost were not happy to be left home alone for those few days, and although they were well taken care of by our neighbor, they were very happy to have us return. To make up for it, we went out and bought their Christmas tree Sunday afternoon. Our cats love having a real tree in the house and spend a good bit of the Christmas season under it, climbing it, etc. 
Hoping you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving too! Now that we're back home, I will catch up on reading the blogs I missed... 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday before Thanksgiving...

I've been seeing a lot of Black Friday ads lately. Don't know why they're starting so early in the holiday season, but not surprised. I hardly every participate in any of the shopping hype... but since we are going to our daughter's place in the hill country of Texas sometime soon and since she has horses, chickens, dogs, cats, etc. I thought I could use some boots.

Nothing fancy... my wellingtons would do if they hadn't already fallen apart. But I found these on a Penney's Black Friday site and with the sale they would be reduced from $80 to $35. Now that's a pretty good bargain. So I ordered them. Here's a picture:

I haven't had boots since my Animal Science days at LSUBR. (except for my wellies). But these look like they will fit my current need: rounded toe, low heel, and not too high up on my leg.... should protect against copperheads as well as other things one may step on while walking around acreage.

And I don't own that many shoes... not a shoe person. I own tennis shoes (white Reeboks) and some fur lined boots for winter. I do have some shoes left over from my work days, but never wear them anymore... probably need to pass them on.

At the moment I'm cooking a pot roast for our Sunday dinner. I've over-stuffed it with garlic, seasoned it with salt, pepper, parsley, and bay leaves, and cooking it along with carrots, onions, and potatoes. Later this evening  I'll make a gravy and serve all of it over brown rice. 

Oh, I don't know if you remember, but we have had a tiny little possum come by almost daily for several months now. Well, he is rounding out and looking really cute these days. I took this picture this morning as he drank out of the large red feral cats' bowl.

he's filling out nicely

older pic (when he was smaller)

Also we bought our inside cats (Tux, Julie, and Ghost) one of those canvas cubes... it's sort of an add-on type structure (like they have for gerbils). You can get another cube and add a long tube between them. Right now we just bought the cube and the 3 of them have been taking turns in it. Tux can be a bit of a bully when he wants to be. He will sit there and stare at either of the girls until they leave. 

Julie in cube

They will tire of it eventually and then the outside cats will inherit it. This is usually what happens with things we buy for them. But at least the purchases get double use.

Better close this for today. Tonight is the Durrells in Corfu and Poldark on PBS!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

a quick trip home...

Cousins at Mr. Ed's in New Orleans

Just spent a week down in New Orleans visiting family and friends.  I had a wonderful time with my cousins (we are the older generation now).

I basically ate my way through the week. Fantastic food! The two things I miss most about my home-town: family and the food. Let's see - while I was there, I had a fried catfish po-boy,  a roast beef po-boy, red beans and rice, blackened catfish with angel hair pasta and garlic cream sauce, cafe au'lait, beignets, and brought home Angelo Brocato's authentic sesame seed cookies! DH and I love these cookies!

Italian seed cookies

One of my cousins picked me up at the airport and three of us went out to lunch together the next day at a local restaurant that is very New Orleans... in a little neighborhood right off Canal St. and Carrollton Ave. The name of the restaurant is Katie's.... and the food was fantastic. This is where I had my fried catfish po-boy. 


From there we went down the street a bit to Angelo Brocato's Italian Bakery (which is also an icon - think that's the right word) in New Orleans. There we had delicious fresh cafe au'lait. I had an Italian sesame seed cookie with mine while my cousins had spumoni ice-cream. Perfect! 

Cousins Darnell and Barbara

The blackened catfish with angel hair pasta was at New Orleans Food and Spirits on the old Hammond Hwy close to the Lakefront. We've been there before and it's always good. Good gumbo too. And the roast beef po-boy and red beans was at Mr. Ed's - another local neighborhood find.... (which I will definitely return to). It was in Bucktown.

S-I-L and Cousin at New Orleans Food and Spirits on Old Hammond Hwy

DH loves real authentic roast beef po-boys. I'd never had one. I always go for oyster po-boy or fried catfish po-boys. So I thought I'd try one. It was great!! Messy, but great! Wonderful juicy tender roast beef with gravy and crispy delicious french bread. I will get it again. And of course I had to have red beans and rice. However, it's not easy to find red beans and rice in New Orleans unless it's a Monday. Tradition again. But if you google it, it will tell you where it's served only on Monday, and where you can get it on other days.

My college room-mate (at LSUBR 1964) and I spend Friday together... reminiscing... first at Angelo Brocata's for cafe au'lait, then off to City Park to walk. I love City Park... with it's old oak trees, moss, and lagoons. We walked and talked.

City park

Then we went to sit by the lakefront... (lake Ponchatrain)

my friend and the seagulls on the lakefront

We lived very close to the lakefront when I was growing up, so I miss the water... and love to drive or stop by whenever I'm in town.

So that was my week... family, food, and reminiscing!  Now I'm home again in Texas thinking that Thanksgiving and Christmas are both just around the corner. Am I ready? No... but I will be.

The cats were glad to see me. DH says that Tux walked around the house the first few days crying and looking for me. But I'm back 

and he's fine. 

sad Tux

I will also mention that when I fly, I only take an carry-on bag that goes on top and a large quilted bag that fits under the seat. I've always done this as I don't like to check bags. Anyway, what I've noticed lately (now that I'm getting 'up in age') is that picking up that carry-on bag and hoisting it over my head to the overhead luggage compartment is getting a little difficult. If there's a man around, I can always ask for help... but this trip... no one was around but the flight attendant and she was not young herself... and informed me that she had a bad shoulder. I was able to do it, but I know as time moves on, this might not be the case. Oh well, just one of those moments that give one pause...

Have a wonderful week and as always, thanks for visiting!


Monday, November 6, 2017

an after Halloween post...

Feral cats out front on Halloween

This will be a short post as I will be 'out of pocket' until next weekend. Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween! We had about 2 dozen kids come by for candy... not a lot, but better than last year. The weatherman predicted colder weather and rain... but we had none of it by our house. 

We removed the cat bed (and wind buffer) before the kids came, but the cats weren't too affected by the Halloween activity. They would move off as the kids ran for the door, then return in between trick or treating (we told the cats that they should go around to the backyard to stay safe, but they didn't seem too worried).

Oh, I did make some 'tea cakes' for Halloween that looked a bit like bats. But since I couldn't force myself to make cookies black, I called them my exotic white snow bats!

... Snowbats on left without powdered sugar. 

... Snowbats on right with powdered sugar


I also missed 2 Saturdays at the Studio due to a stomach bug, so I'm a bit behind on getting things glazed. But I did try spray glazing this past Saturday. It seemed to work well. My plan is to spray glaze some mugs one color, and then use a detail sprayer and very lightly spray glaze around the rim in another color. We'll see how that turns out. Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and the Studio will be closed that weekend, there aren't many workable classes left. It may be that I'll have to finish up next semester... which is fine with me.

Well, have a good week... Happy Veterans Day! and as always thanks for visiting! 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

the week before Halloween...

finished pumpkins and stretching cat

These are the finished pieces that I just picked up from the Studio. I think they came out fine... all in one piece too!

Have been playing with the idea of using a spray glaze for the over-sized mugs. I haven't used this technique before, but have seen others do it. I hope to spray the mugs one color and then perhaps due a light detail spray on top in another color. We'll see...

Also... today is my oldest son's birthday!

happy and content... at One Year!

He and his family moved to Hawaii this past summer. I love this next picture... to me it shows how much he likes it there.

happy and content... Now!

Just went outside to check on my small container garden.

parsley and remaining red pepper

I believe that the red bell pepper plant has produced it's last pepper... and it's almost ready to pick. But our curly parsley is enjoying the cooler weather and is looking good. You can't see the basil on the far right, but it has pretty much gone to seed. 

We also have a huge bay leaf tree in the back. It produces enough bay leaves to keep us, family, and friends in a constant supply for cooking, as well as a bug deterrent.

I keep branches of it hanging from my kitchen ceiling as well as in the pantry... it deters bugs.

Well, that's the news here. Weather is definitely cooler here in North Texas and supposedly we're in for some possible rough weather and rain later tonight. We could use the rain... but don't need any more 'rough weather'. 

Leaving you with 3 pics... one of Julie and Tux cuddled together in a basket. Julie has been a bit needy lately (wanting to be be played with more than usual and snuggling in with Tux whenever she can??)

Julie is in front cuddling... Tux is tolerating

Ghost on lying on old quilt... 

not exactly a happy face...

and one of a black feral lying in the pumpkin on our front porch.

feral in pumpkin

It's a large pumpkin...

front porch

Have a wonderful weekend! 
And as always, thanks for dropping by!

Oh... forgot to mention that I just updated one of my other blogs, "Cats, Coffee, and Chocolate" if anyone's interested.  My other blogs are listed to the right at the top here. I've neglected them pretty much in favor of this all inclusive one, but did update just recently...

Friday, October 13, 2017

paraprosdokians... and finished pieces

Have you ever heard of "paraprosdokians"? I hadn't. My cousin sent me a few in an email. Apparently they are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected and frequently humorous. (Supposedly Winston Churchill loved them)

Here are a few:

1. Where there's a will... I want to be in it.
2. If I agreed with you... then we'd both be wrong.
3. We never really grow up...we only learn how to act in public.
4. War is not to determine who is right... only who is left.
5. You do not need a parachute to skydive... you only need a parachute to skydive twice.

I thought these were pretty good.

Now... I finished my gray kitty (based on our Ghost) and my red fox. Here are pictures of the finished pieces.

gray kitty

red fox

Today I'm working on underglazing mama chicken with her chicks... and a few others. Stretching kitty and lounging kitty are still in kiln.  Hopefully they will emerge without incident. Small pieces with thin extremities tend to get broken easily during firing. And I've a new piece (kitty hanging over cup) that is awaiting kiln time.

This next is a new greenware piece I'm working on... not sure what I'm going to do with it (just put mama chicken's chicks inside until I decide). May put a seagull on it... and/or some fishing gear?


Oh! Exciting news! Just got a round trip flight to New Orleans for $87!!  How about that? Southwest has these specials off and on all year round, but few get under $100. I keep an eye out for them... and try to scoop them up when they become available. That way I can afford to visit family there and get my N.O. cafe au'lait and beignet fix. Usually almost all seats are sold out on the first day, but luckily I found one. Let's just hope that hurricane season is over (it's not officially over... but gesh, it should be).

And look! My red peppers are turning...


and we got this picture yesterday of our pretty black feral that stays in the front of our house... (he's starting to get his winter coat)

Have a great weekend! And as always, thanks for dropping by...