Saturday, December 25, 2010

Santa Ornaments with Dangling Legs...Finished!

Here are a few of my finished Santa ornaments; waiting to go live their new lives with my family members. Each one is a little different from the next; some fatter, some have bigger beards, hands in different positions, etc.  I was in such a hurry on Christmas morning, I didn't get a chance to take many pictures of them.   I thought they turned out pretty cute and my family loved them.  I'll try to post more on them later.

**You can see Santa's humble beings here or brief instructions for these ornaments here.
Blessings, Tracy

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Is that you Mr. French???

Last year, I decided that I should try to make Christmas ornaments each year for my family members.  I was inspired by the snowman ornaments that I saw on "Michelle my Belle's" blog.  This woman is SO creative!  I just love her blog.  Since it was my first attempt at making ornaments, I decided to follow the instructions she posted for her snowman ornaments.  I thought they turned out really adorable and my family loved them.  This year, I came up with an idea to make Santa ornaments with dangling legs .  I am way behind with making these, since I just finished forming the main body of...OMG (sweating and wringing my hands)....the FIRST ornament last night.  Oh yes, did I forget to mention....I have to make 6 of these guys!!!  I seriously think my brain has been in denial that Christmas is only a week away!  While making my first Santa last night, I thought he looked familiar, but couldn't put my finger on who I thought he looked like.  The first thing this morning, I looked and him and thought, "Oh my gosh...Mr. French!"  Not sure any of you are old enough to remember the television show Family Affairs; which aired possibly in the late 60's, early 70's? One of the characters was a very proper gentlemen's butler named Mr. French; played by the actor Sebastian Cabot.  I faintly remember the show, since I was pretty young at the time, but I do remember the characters.  Don't you agree that my Santa looks like Mr. French?
Left to right - Mr. French, Uncle Bill, Jody, Sissy, and Buffy. Not pictured, but also a popular character on the show, is Mrs. Beasley, Buffy's doll.

Here are the snowman ornaments I made last year. I will try to post more on them later. 
**You can see the completed Santa Ornaments here.

Blessings, Tracy

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


We had to go remove some 4+ foot snow drifts from my mom's roof yesterday.  She was in the 20 inch range from the snow storm last weekend.  After blowing and drifting, her house and roof were buried. The bad thing about removing snow from a roof, is that when it falls to the ground, it packs really hard.  This make shoveling miserable.  First, you almost have a heart attack struggling to get the snow off the roof, then shoveling the (packed) snow from the driveway and sidewalk almost killed us.  It doesn't look it, but the snow bank on the right side of the sidewalk is just shy of 5 feet high, at the tallest point.  I'm 5'8", so it was up to my shoulders.

I ache so badly this morning, that it almost hurts to take a deep breath. GOD FORBID I have to cough...ouch.

Blessings, Tracy

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Our brother-in-law returned from his second tour in Afghanistan on Wednesday.  Since his return, he has been at a base in Florida and was supposed to arrive home today.  BUT, as luck would have it, we are having a good old fashioned blizzard today (ahem, 2 feet of the dreaded white stuff), so the poor guy is stuck in an airport in Florida.  Even though he is safe, I know we will all feel better when he steps off his plane in Minnesota and is truly home.
He has been gone for so long and we have all been very worried about him.  For me, this type of anxiety/worry almost feels, at times, like it takes my breath away. I know it is odd (and proves I need some type of therapy), but I have been almost afraid to say his name out loud while he was gone; worried it would jinx him in some strange way.  If I utter his name or my worries out loud, it makes them real.  Strange and dysfunctional....yep, but that's how I dealt with the craziness that swirls around in my head each day.  I am now also feeling guilty for being relieved that he is home, when so many soldier remain in harms way.  I know....I am a lost cause. I may as well just start blocking out weeks at a time for therapy.
After he returns home, he will have some time off then return to his other "not so safe" career doing police work.

Blessings, Tracy

Amazing Stained Glass Window!

Last weekend, I saw a story on CBS Sunday Morning, showcasing the completely refurbished Eldridge Street Synagogue and Museum.  This synagogue was originally built in 1887 and is located in lower Manhattan; in the heart of New York's Chinatown. Due to a shrinking congregation, who were unable to maintain it, the worship area was closed in the 1950s and soon fell into disrepair.  It has taken 20 years to refurbish the synagogue to how it looks today.  As part of the renovations, they had a magnificent stained glass window designed by avant-garde artisit Kiki Smith and architect Deborah Gans. The story on CBS Sunday Morning, highlights the design, construction and installation of this stained glass window and how the design is carried out on to the surrounding wall.  The pictures below don't really capture the true beauty of this piece, so if you have a few minutes, I highly suggest you watch this short video on the process.  

The Synagogue is a National Historic Landmark and after watching this story, I understand why.  
So beautiful!  If I ever get to visit New York, this will be a "must see" for me.  
Photos via The L Magazine & CBS News 

Blessings, Tracy

Friday, December 10, 2010

Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow!

I used the Picnik website to edit this photo of my mom's house.  I like the Picnik site for the days I'm not into dealing with the complexities of my  photo editing programs. The site is so quick and easy to use! 

To edit this photo, I converted it to black and white, then popped just the colors of the house and, last but not least, added the effect of falling snow. I think it looks so pretty. 

Blessings, Tracy

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Stroll Down Memory Lane...Funny Commercials.

I haven't seen this commercial for a few years, but it still kills me.
Nissan "Doggie Mind Control" commercial (Dogs Driving SUV) w/ Clint Culp...

Blessings, Tracy

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Henry is so thankful that he picked us to go home with from the Humane Society last spring....AND (apparently) for his beautiful teeth. He is such a goof.  Our boy has a can do attitude & thinks every encounter is an opportunity to play; as demonstrated in the picture below.  
"One minute I'm sleeping, the next she's approaching me with a camera, so I give her this look.  OK, she's maybe I can get her to come a little closer, so I can bite her."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Damn You Old Man Winter!!!

The old SOB arrived at our house in the middle of the night, so we woke up to THIS!
This isn't bad, but it is still snowing heavily at this point and it is going to continue until tomorrow morning!

Excuse me, while I weep gently for a moment...

We are on track to get 7 to 12 inches; most likely in the 10 inch range. It is really heavy wet snow, so the poor trees are just hanging from the weight of the snow. I love the 4 seasons and all, but I like to ease into winter gently, not be thrown in full force!
Our poor birch tree is leaning from the weight of the snow.

It is really BEAUTIFUL...
...if you don't have to DRIVE in it!

OH YES!  I am one of the lucky few that has to work this weekend.  The drive alone will make for an exciting day.  Fingers crossed!  Wish me luck!

Blessings, Tracy

Friday, November 12, 2010

Do You Hear The Angels Singing?

I have to admit that we occasionally waste money on things that are not that important, but when it comes to the items that makes every day life easier...we are tight fisted with the cash.  Not sure what that says about us, but I know it probably means we have some deep seated issues that I'm not sure I want to know about.  We generally keep things FOREVER!!  We have a hard time replacing something if the one we have works perfectly fine or at least is serving the purpose. So, making a new purchase is a big fat hair deal for us!   
We finally got tired of playing the mismatched food storage container game.  This game has two parts.  The first part of this challenge is to try to get ONE food storage container out of the cupboard without every single piece popping out.  Note - you can earn extra points for actually retrieving the exact size you need.  The second part, is to try and find a matching lid to this container.  OK, you have five minutes to complete this task...GO!  
After years of discussing us getting some new food storage containers, we finally took the plunge (a.k.a. - I had an unstable moment in Target).  I purchased the new Rubbermaid "Easy Find Lids" food storage system.  The beauty of this set, is the lids snap on to the bottom of the container and each other, so they STACK and NEST neatly.  I checked out the box sets and settled on the 20 piece set (10 containers with matching tops), which came with a bonus 11th "Produce Saver" container and lid.  Be careful when purchasing box sets.  Take note what size containers and how many of each size are included in the different sets.  I found the larger set (at Target) just gave you additional ultra tiny containers that most people rarely use.  To supplement the set I purchased, I bought a mix of 4 commonly used larger sized container (7, 9 & 14 cup).  The total was about $30 for 15 pieces.  You can find these cheaper if you shop around...which I did not, since I lost my ever living mind in isle 32 at Target.  
I can't believe how nice our cabinet looks.  It created room for us to move some items around, thus freeing up storage space in other cabinets.

Believe me, the items on the bottom two shelves are CRAMMED in there tightly. One wrong move and they will all spring out of like one of those joke cans filled with snakes. You know, the ones that scare the hell out of you when you take the lid off and they all pop out! Does anyone else remember this practical joke back from days of yore?


Yep, I hear those angels singing too.

Blessings, Tracy

Monday, November 8, 2010

OMG!! When I say him...I nearly had an "Art Attack"!

I attended the "Art Attack" open studio event at the Northrup King Building yesterday.  The Northrup King Building is home to over 200 tenants including a creative center to over 190 artist as well as various small business and nonprofit organizations.  I go there several times a year for their open studios events.  I always walk out feeling inspired by all of the beautiful art.  I also love seeing the artist's work spaces, including the tools they use and seeing the works they have in progress.  Most of the artist are very nice and willing to discuss their work, their educational backgrounds and the processes they use to create their pieces.  Some occasionally have demos during these open studio events and a few regularly teach classes at their studio.  There are many wonderful artist in this building, but two studios that I always make a point of seeing are SoMi Tileworks and Sharra Frank Fine Art Mosaics.  Kirsten Walstead is the artist behind SoMi Tileworks.  She makes these beautiful, chunky tiles and tile collages, that I am in so love with.  I do think her website could use some updating to show a better representation of her beautiful collages, including many of her newer pieces.  I also think it is hard to grasp from the pictures how beautiful these pieces are in person.  Sharra Frank's studio is like a magical wonderland for me.  I swear I feel energized by her creativity.  It's like a drug for me.  She makes spectacular mosaic pieces and her studio is filled to the brim with beads, gems and interesting objects she uses in her art.  Unlike my work space, her supplies are all artfully arranged like a Macy's Christmas display.

While nearing the end of my tour, I noticed a tall gentleman walking in front of me.  He was wearing black jeans, red converse style high top tennis shoes, a black leather coat and he had a great looking dark faux hawk (not everyone can pull off this look well).  As he turned his head to talk to one of his friends, I saw the side of his face and my heart nearly stopped!  I remained calm, but in my head I was screaming, " that Christopher Straub from Project Runway?!"  I am a huge Project Runway fan, so this was a surreal moment for me.  I am also one of those (stupid) people who always thinks I should leave celebrities alone while they are enjoying their leisure time, so I didn't say anything to him.  HELLO...CHRISTOPHER STRAUB....I'm not sure what the hell I was thinking when I made that crazy decision.  Yes, in the end, I left the poor man alone.  But 
on the inside, I was seriously jumping up and down, clapping my hands and screaming, "I love you Christopher Straub!! I love you!!"  We were in the last few studios together and while he was enjoying the art, I was struggling to keep myself from staring at him.  I got all excited a second time when a crazy thought crossed my mind that Christopher knows Tim Gunn, one of the regulars/host on Project Runway, whom I also ADORE (cue the internal screaming and jumping up and down).  I hope he didn't notice the goofy looks I was giving him.  I was pitiful! 

Here are a few pictures of Christopher recreating some of the looks I may have given him while we were enjoying the studio tours. OK, I may have been stalking him. 

Well, I enjoyed a beautiful fall day, looked at some wonderful art and was lucky enough to run into...OMG, Christopher Straub!!  Most importantly, I escaped the day without any restraining orders.

Blessings, Tracy

Friday, November 5, 2010

Now that's cute!

I saw this "Perfect Roast Turkey Timer" at Patina the other day.  I thought it was funny that the legs pop up when your turkey is done. It made me chuckle.

Blessings, Tracy

Monday, November 1, 2010

Oh, Dexter!!!

Masuka had the best scene on Dexter last night.  Love his crazy "Two Words" theory, as to what (he thinks) happened at this crime scene.  The gestures of Masuka and facial expressions of Debra & Dexter are priceless.  Maybe it's one of those times that you have to understand or watch the show to get the full humor it??  I don't know, I just thought it was really funny. You can see the clip from last night's Dexter here.  I love this show!
**Warning - Clip NOT appropriate for children!**

Blessings, Tracy


Blessings, Tracy

Sunday, October 31, 2010


We had 3 extra 26mm doll eyes (1 single & 1 pair) left over from other projects, so we decided to give Mr. Bones and his front porch friend some new peepers.  We were also lucky to have an eye patch lying around (don't ask me why), so that made up for the missing fourth eye. We attached the eyes in the skeleton's eye sockets with poster putty, since we may eventually need to remove them to use in new projects.  
Now, Mr. Bones and his front porch friend can keep a closer eye on those sneaky Trick or Treaters.

Love Jimmy Fallon's October Set Design!

I caught a little of Jimmy Fallon's show the other night. Although I don't catch it that often, his show has really grown on me.  I think he has some pretty good interviews, they have some funny regular bits/skits and I think it is funny how he always seems to be on the verge of cracking up.  One criticism, I do think he does take a few of his skits a little too far at times. Overall though, I think he does a good job.
BUT, the reason I am posting is.....I really love the Halloween-ish backdrop (behind his desk) and the ripped up curtains they are using on his set this month.  I'm thinking about trying to make the desk backdrop (tree with bird silhouette) for Halloween next year.  Now, if I just had a window to put it in....

You can get a better or full view of this silhouette, by watching some of his recent interviews on his show's website.

Blessing, Tracy

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Window Silhouettes

Our Halloween Silhouettes lit up and shot from outside.  You can see another close up view of these silhouettes here and here.   You can also see our large "Witch on Broom" and "Fading Ghost" silhouettes here.
  **See below for updates & a brief "How To".

**Update - Several people have asked me where we purchased these Halloween silhouettes & if the were vinyl.  All of our silhouettes were painted on cheap white fabric.
For these silhouettes - 
  1. We cut cheap white fabric into long panels.
  2. We traced the design onto fabric.
  3. We painted the silhouettes using "dark gray paint" (Martha Stewart tip). The gray paint will appear black when lit.  Make sure you paint the silhouette on the side of the fabric that faces towards the outside. Also, make sure you protect the surface that you are painting on, since the paint can bleed through the fabric.
  4. We hung the silhouettes in our windows like curtains, using a small/thin peice of dowel at the top. Our windows are vinyl & just happened to have a small pocket at the top that works perfectly for hanging these.  To hang, we just slightly flex the thin piece of dowel & feed the ends in these pockets.
  5. I usually light my silhouettes with either clip on work lights or table lamps. The window silhouettes in this post were lit using table lamps. I placed the lamps on the floor & centered at the base of each silhouette. I removed the lamp shades & replaced the regular bulb with colored spotlight bulbs. You can purchase these bulbs at places like Home Depot. I use two lamps for the witch and caldron silhouette, since these windows are really large & one lamp did not light it well enough. 
    ** Be careful that your lamps are not placed too close to curtains & that they do not get tipped over! These spotlight bulbs tend to run pretty hot. I close the bedroom doors when these silhouettes are lit. Even though I use sturdy lamps, I wouldn't want to risk our cats accidentally tipping one over or burning them selves on the open *hot* bulb.
I get a lot of people on my site looking at our Halloween window silhouettes.  If you would like additional silhouette ideas, I stumbled upon a great DIY site with some awesome Haunted House Silhouette ideas.  Take a minute & go check them out.

Blessings, Tracy

UNCLE...UNCLE...I give up!

I have failed.  I took on a little more than I could chew this year regarding Halloween projects.  My "normal" life has been much busier than expected, and I just didn't have the time to devote to working on Halloween projects as I would have liked.  I just ran out of time.  Here are just some of the projects that are being pushed to the back burning and will not be gracing our Halloween display this year.

Mosaic Skull -
Finished him about half way.  Had to order Millefiori and this created delays with finishing this project.  You can see his humble beginnings here.  

2. Large Psycho Garden Bunny with Glowing Eyes -

"Eek...I don't have arms!"  This guy still needs a lot of work before I can even start the painting process.  I saw some smaller bunnies similar to this in the Magazine, Cloth Paper Scissor.  The bunnies in the magazine where made by an artist named, Debb George.  Hers were dressed in formal wear and were really adorable.  I wanted a simple "crazy looking" bunny (with creepy glowing eyes) poking around our large front garden as the kids arrived to Trick or Treat.  This guy is actually turning out a lot "tamer" looking than I had hoped.  I may make a few more nuttier looking bunnies over the next year. Yep, a family of Psycho Bunnies!

Wasn't able to get a good shot of his glowing eyes, since it is so bright outside.

3. Don't even ask what this was going to be.

4. & 5. Didn't even get a chance to buy the supplies for these projects.

Blessings, Tracy