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My new deck

foreman logo

Call Today for a Free Quote!                                                                                                        http://www.foremanspainting.com/

foremanspaint@windstream.net 704-844-0717

Be sure to ask for Derek, a master creative carpenter.

If you don’t know about my journey through H#LL to a new deck, check out this and this.

Thanks to Janis (See blog)  and the guys from Foreman’s, I am going to have a nice deck.  I am now able to sit outside in a rainstorm and listen to water hit the metal arbor roof. I don’t have mosquito problems because the ceiling fan blows them–and the heat–away.  There are new windows that actually fit the wall openings and the den is again filled with light.  The dogs have a nice exit that doesn’t include the human side of the deck.  Nothing leaks and nothing will rot.  In fact, some rotten wood has been replaced.  I only need some paint on the windows and wall and it is finished.

Here’s the story.

First we had to remove the abomination created by the first contractor and assess the damage he did.  That wasn’t cheap.

Flashing on original exterior, not on tyvek. Increases prep work.

Flashing on original exterior, not on tyvek. Increases prep work.

Cedar shakes removed carefully, one at a time, then sorted, wrapped, and stored.  Huge amount of nail holes to be filled.

Cedar shakes removed carefully, one at a time, then sorted, wrapped, and stored. Huge amount of nail holes to be filled.

Arbor rebuild deconstructed.  Must start from scratch.

Arbor rebuild deconstructed. Must start from scratch.

Leaky windows have to stay until new ones come in.  Carpenters are stunned at the amount of shimming and the leaks.  Just wait til them remove the exterior boards!

So far, the costs incurred were repair of damage from original construction.  Now to rebuild.

Foreman’s showed up with tools and materials.  A welcome change.

Three trucks like this arrived the first day with tools and materials.  Professional!

Three truck like this arrived the first day with tools and materials. Professional!

The rebuild of the arbor roof.

The rebuild of the arbor roof.

The two guys that built this and the palette were perfectionists.  They measured many times and then cut and then assessed, yet they were pretty fast.  They were also very polite.

The Palette BF designed for me to display my work.

The Palette BF designed for me to display my work.


A short rain chain to replace downspout.

A short rain chain to replace downspout.



A 12 foot rain chain of real copper.  Love it.

A 12 foot rain chain of real copper. Love it.

Finished. Didn’t like my first fan choice. Replaced it later.

And here it is stained.



The palette with prayer flags

The palette with prayer flags

The corner where you can really see the color.

The corner where you can really see the color.

The arbor where all kinds of things will go on under the fan.

The arbor where all kinds of things will go on under the fan.

Just need to repair the damage to the back wall and paint it and the new windows.

Oh, and find something that will allow two dogs and one adult to sit comfortably.

More later–


Meanwhile . . . Some finishing and learning.

Prayer flags hung

Finally hung some of the Prayer flags on the deck.

Fearless women

Layered paint and some collage. Like the white lettering outlined with black.


Glazed Teacup

Bought Chris Cozen’s video workshop on glazing with acrylics and tried it on this background. Found teacup design on Pinterest and -sorry-can’t find credit. I drew this and may make a stencil of it.

Dumb Luck

Collage of original drawings of mine. I just love the look on this bird’s face. It just happened.


Grand Challenge 2: Finding a Palette

First choices mostly new purchases

Now that I love the color of Erica’s jacket, I need to plan the fabric and do-dahs for embellishing it.

No problem. I bought some nice pieces in Athens and I own batik in many colorways. The piece at about 1:00 in this pic has great colors and Erica loved it. But it is shiny, silky. This is an unstructured linen jacket and the shiny, silky stuff I bought just don’t fit the rustic texture of the linen. The leftover turquoise gauze is nice, and she has fallen in love with turquoise. Ribbon and buttons are okay, but. . . None of the solid color batiks excite me, but the block printed batik is awesome. Turquoise yarn could be couched in some kind of pattern. Just need to play.

Best option so far--not good.

Best option so far–not good.

Cut—Fold—Pin. Try it forty ways. Looking for vertical effect and asymmetry. Just looks dumb. Too matchy-matchy.

some knit and crochet

some knit and crochet

I need to temper my wild side with Erica’s more traditional taste. (Think English country garden and dainty calico prints.) If it is too out there, she won’t feel comfortable wearing it.

BUT—it must be colorful. She looks so good with clear, intense color near her face.

Just the kind of problem I like. But this is not the right palette. Something is missing.

Off to the attic and closets.

Everything in the house that is possible--and some that isn't.

Everything in the house that is possible–and some that isn’t.

Threads, yarns, beads, buttons, ribbons and fabrics. Most of this pile has been pinned on or arranged in some way. Arr-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-gh. My design process is always so slow.

Nothing works. Time to walk away and work on another project for a while. Decided to work on the batik skirt I am adding to a knit vest.

lightning bolt


     SHAZAM!   Green!


 The skirt batik and a bit of turquoise cotton. I kinda like.
The skirt batik and a bit of turquoise cotton. I kinda like.
A different strip of the batik—love the mottled black stripe—and a touch of the first batik. Almost there.
A different strip of the batik—love the mottled black stripe—and a touch of the first batik. Almost there.
Add the block print batik from the first try and I am in love. This is the palette.
Add the block print batik from the first try and I am in love. This is the palette.

Now to decide on reshaping the jacket. I think I can make it hang better, and I know I don’t like the neckline. Also need to consider what she can wear with it.

More later–







The Grand Challenge

Spent time in Georgia last week with my lovely older daughter. She is starting a new phase in her life and I wanted to be there to cheerlead. We had a great time. The first night we, at my insistence, attacked her closet.

Erica greeted me that day wearing a really nice maxi skirt. She bought it sometime before 1994. The girl takes good care of her stuff—and hasn’t changed sizes. I can change sizes in a week, so this impresses me.

During the process, Libby of likemymamasays came by to check in and stayed to play. See this  blogpost for her review of the evening. She was blown away by the 1994 skirt.

I made piles.

  1. You look phenomenal in this.
  2. This died years ago.
  3. Brown! You can’t wear brown.
  4. To be fixed.
  5. Mom hates this but I’m keeping it anyway.
  6. A bit snug, but will fit soon.
  7. Just plain ugly.
  8. Give to someone else.

I’m sorry I didn’t photograph the closet before we started. It was two rows of a double closet jam packed. No one really knew what was in there.

When we finished, Erica could see what she really had that she wears. I made two rules.

  1. She can only buy skirts that flip and flounce because these make her happy.
  2. No more blouses. Too many fit issues and they are too stiff. Drape is everything.

Well, fit is really everything, but that is another blog.

To make a long story short—too late, I know—-Erica's original jacket

We found an unstructured linen jacket that is never worn. Mama doesn’t ever throw away linen—too great a fabric. It had two major problems: the shoulders drooped down the upper arms and it was a dull plum color. (We had a discussion about color theory and that plum is not purple and has a brown tone to it. At least this one did.)

Then Libby piped up with The Challenge. (I love Libby’s creative mind.) She challenged me to take the jacket and make it a statement piece for Erica. Embellish it and make it unique. I accepted readily. Then I gulped. My taste and Erica’s are so different. We talked and looked at pictures. I shopped and bought fabrics and trims to brighten the piece and bring light and color near her face.

My first thought was turquoise, a color she has become obsessed with since moving into her new home. A color I also love. I bought perle cotton threads and practiced some new stitches. I considered fabric paints. A major consideration is that it should be wearable with different colors, so that problem negated some ideas.

When I tried things, nothing worked. Nothing brightened it. It just refused to look like a happy jacket.

The wonky shoulder seam that I will handstitch later.

The wonky shoulder seam that I will handstitch later.

Fit is my passion so I attacked the shoulder. I didn’t really want to take it apart, and I don’t have her body her with which to work, so I abandoned proper techniques and just went with changing the armhole with the sleeve still attached. I basted the heck out of it and sewed the seam. (I wish it had been as easy as that sounds.) I did not trim and finish the seam. I’ll do that after I see that it fits. I felt pretty clever. A nice treat for me.

Wonky shoulder seam I will hand stitch later.

Wonky shoulder seam I will hand stitch later.

Back to the color problem.

After dyeing--

After dyeing–

I bought some Rit. Purple Rit. A synthrapol bath and Steve’s top loader in the basement (another blog–) and success.

Thread dyed purpleI even dyed some embroidery thread with it.

Now this is a palette I can work with. I may be on a roll.

I’ll keep you posted as it goes along. Feel free to weigh in with opinions. I want this to be special.

More later–

More stuff to make–Prayer Flags


Prayer flagThis is a Prayer Flag.  It is my understanding that prayer flags are a Tibetan thing.  You can Google it; I don’t have time.  I have to make more.  Anyway, the idea is to hang them outside and let the weather deteriorate them as it sends your prayers and good wishes out into the world.  If I am wrong about that, I don’t care.  I like the sentiment. 

Prayer flag UnderstandSome flags have words on them.

Prayer flag (2)Others don’t.

Notice that my flags are not hemmed or “finished” like you might some projects.  They are made with leftovers and found objects.  In a childish fit of pique, I threw away all my embroidery thread, so they are stitched with 4 thicknesses of sewing thread.  That was what I had.  Making them from stuff just lying around was important to me.  But I have truckloads of stuff just lying around waiting to become something.

Prayer flag joyThe best ingredient is the plain background on which my scraps and geegaws sit.  It is very fine cotton.  My friend Katherine came over as soon as my sewing machine was fixed–and she had waited on that longer than she felt was really necessary.  She had bought some lovely pillowcases, but they were larger than she liked and she wanted me to shorten them.  Obviously I did that by seaming across the closed end and cutting off the extra.

Here comes the best part–she tried to throw those pieces in the trash.  No!!! I yelled.  She was stunned that I wanted to save those scraps.  I don’t think she believed me when I said I would use them to make art.  ( A nice friend would not mention that she owns more scrapbook paper and supplies than Creative Memories, but I never claimed to be nice.)

Katherine’s pillow case scraps are the backing and hanging parts of my flags.Prayer flag (3)The flags are for a section on my back deck remodel.  A wonderful man designed what appears to be a doorway with no door.  It is a frame.  It carries a theme to the other side of the deck and it is the small privacy screen I wanted.  At least it will be when the space is filled with something.  He called it “Jane’s Palette” and I was blown away.  It will be a place to hang stuff I make, find, or just love.  It will change with time.  The first exhibit will be prayer flags.

Prayer flag follow blissThese are the first six.  I am working on more that are a bit different.  Just fiddling with things and having fun.  Why don’t you try this?  Or get your kids to make some.  Hang them on their walls or doors or trees.  There are no rules.  You can glue instead of sew.  Maybe you can use a glue gun without burning yourself.  I never have.  Write on them with Sharpies; paint them with leftover housepaint.  Or go buy some pretty cloth that just makes you happy.

Be happy–That’s my prayer for you and yours.

More later–

The Web is getting Meaner

Does this look like a mean person?

Does this look like a mean person?

I am a sweet woman–a grandmother, even. I write a blog to share stuff I know with readers who may not have as much time to research stuff as I do.  I am not important.  I am usually nice.  But if I had a gun and was in the room with whomever hacked my blog, someone would be missing kneecaps and fingers.  Just saying.

This morning I got a message from DD#1 about the email I sent to some folks about the Ice Bucket Challenge video.  She was very upset.  When she clicked on the link for my blog from her cellphone, it rerouted to a porn site.  PORN on my blog.  I investigated from my computer and found all was well.  I called her back and said so.

Long story short, she wasn’t convinced and when she took her computer in for a tuneup, she told the tech about it.  They both tried going to my site –from their respective phones–she got porn and he got a Russian site.  She called.  I tried from my phone.  PORN.

I immediately got in touch with HostDime who host my blog. Sent a repair ticket.  A few minutes later I tried my site from my computer and it was shut down.  They were already working on it.  The email report said malware had somehow gotten the password for my cpanel and had installed mean and vicious stuff in all the php folders.  If you don’t know what that means, well, I got lost myself after cpanel.  They cleaned files, changed passwords, and sent me a list of to-dos.  They also sent a list of trusted sites for programs to scan and remove spyware and malware from your computer.

I’m using a Surface Pro which is only a few months old.  I have already taken it to the Microsoft Store once and it was totally infected with spyware and malware.  (Yes, I am protected, but . . . )Now this!!

I tried to follow Hostdime’s direction to upgrade the WordPress software.  I was a disaster.  I worked on it for 3 hours, then sent them a pitiful note admitting I couldn’t do it, didn’t know how to do it, had downloaded the same update 4 times but had no idea how to launch it or where to put it and I needed to go to a neighborhood party where alcohol would be involved and I was giving up.

And I did.

When I came home, a tech had replied with one simple instruction and an apology for creating so much stress. He said they weren’t allowed to upgrade it for me, but that if I could not do it, he would.  Then he said the magic words.  Go to this place, a place I had been many times today, and look for the blue arrows.  To install updates, you click on the arrows.  It took 30 seconds.  BUT–the instruction to click on the blue arrows was not written anywhere on the screen.  A-r-r-r-r-gh!

Now — How did the malware get into my computer?  I am notoriously non-trusting of any site or message that comes from a source I don’t know.  I don’t install things I don’t know about. How???

It seems that reputable products that we have all used for years to get around the internet comfortably are now being used by hackers–and businesses–to get into our computers.  Java sends a message that you need to update.  This has been going on for years.  But now–it might not be Java calling.  Same for Adobe.  Are you told you don’t have Flash on your computer and you need to download it to view this website?  STOP.  Go to the website of the program to download updates.  Don’t be surprised when it tells you you already have the current version.

Run a scan of your computer to see if you innocently allowed malware to get through.  It’s easy.  Here are the sites Homedime sent me.

HouseCall: http://housecall.trendmicro.com/
MBAM: http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php
Microsoft Security Essentials: http://www.microsoft.com/Security_Essentials/
Spybot S&D: http://www.safer-networking.org/index2.html
SUPERAntiSpyware: http://www.superantispyware.com/superantispyware.html
No one single anti-malware application will catch 100% of all malware on-the-wild, so scans with two or more reputable malware scanners is recommended.

I changed the password for my blog stte.  You know I am not even sure where the other passwords that were changed are.  I’ll look for that another day.  Not tomorrow. Tomorrow I will be changing lots of other passwords.  And putting pins in the hacker doll I just made.

More later–


Here’s some stuff I did that you might want to do, too

Crayola art

Crayola art

My roachie bug copy

Look how fuzzy the black crayon on the legs look

This was just fun.  I did draw the bugs, but it was the coloring I really loved.  Since I started my art journey, several friends have confessed that they love to color.  And they don’t wait til grandkids come over.

Dover Publication has many Adult coloring books–not the x-rated kind.  I love the art deco designs.  They are  available at places like Barnes and Noble and big box craft stores.   Coloring is fun and relaxing and requires no special talent or skill.  You don’t even have to stay inside the lines.  Be a rebel.  Redraw the lines.

Now what I did not know was that there are many Fine Artists who work with crayons–the kind you buy at Michaels.  Well, the Crayola kind.  Don’t buy the cheap ones; they are just cheap.  Yes, my darling daughter, you can tell the difference.

Here are some links for you to see skilled artists at work–

Glen’s Crayon Art

Janet Vanderhoff

more if you Google “crayon fine artists”

For some fun coloring pages for the crafty type person, try


I like this one.mistakes

Tip:  If you would prefer colored pencils, try the Prismacolor ones that are a tad waxy.  Better color.  Watercolor markers are also great for this.  I like Tombow.  Heck, a ballpoint pen or two will also do just fine.

Now, go have some fun.

More later–



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