Monday, January 31, 2011

This is a Zentangle!

Friendly Plastic Butterfly Design Challenge

Happy Birthday, Mom and Jerry!

My mom and brother share a birthday, and so did my dad and I. Sisters Sally and Pam are rugged individualists with birthdays all their own. :)

Today, I'll be joining Mom and Jerry, and Jerry's lovely wife, Anna, for a birthday luncheon. It's been way too long since I've seen my mother--in fact, I'm ashamed to admit it, but I'll be bringing along her Christmas presents when I head out. Between snowstorms, flu and deadlines, I haven't been real mobile this winter.

Lately, we've had glimmers of sunshine, bright as spring. (I love it when that happens.) The wild turkeys are out and about, comical gobblers are they, and I've heard the geese, too. Seems they're already north-bound, and that's a real good sign.

I was working away yesterday afternoon when the computer suddenly ate more than a thousand words--I must have touched the wrong button or something--and I responded with remarkable equanimity--for me. I just made myself another cup of coffee (I love my Keurig machine), decided it was an omen--I must have been on the wrong track--and sat down to rewrite the lost words, and a few extra besides. And you know what? The new scene is MUCH better.

I think my guardian angel must have reached over my shoulder and hit 'delete'. :)

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Stay warm, stay safe, and stay kind. We're all riding the same trail.

Friday, January 28, 2011

My New Toy & Other Joys

I can't wait for that book-binder to arrive. (See video if you're curious.) :)

Today, I have a very important conference call, first thing, and then I'll be WRITING, WRITING, WRITING!! I just can't WAIT to sit down in front of my office computer, pick up the loose ends, and start weaving.

On a personal level, I've had some challenges lately, but my gratitude journal is practically bursting at the seams, too. I think it's when we're struggling in some way that we're closest to God.

The weather is downright spring-like this morning--we even have sunshine, and most of the snow is gone. Sunshine always lifts my spirits--I was born in June, after all, so I'm a summer girl.

Today's cooking experiment will be the Tamale Casserole, page 290, from the "Fix It and Forget It Big Cookbook" by Phyllis Pellman Good. Time to throw everything in the crockpot and get ready for my big call.

I'll report on the casserole later. :)

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Linda Peterson LIVE TV - Ken Oliver - Daily Inspiration Journal

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Watch This Space 3

Lots to do today, and the hurrier I go, the behinder I get. :)

I'll stop by again later if I have anything worthwhile to say.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011


The cold is almost gone, the book is rolling, and I've made some cool ATCs. Did you watch the video? :)

It's all good!!

Had a lovely note from my friend Debbie Macomber, wintering in Florida--it's always great to hear from my buddies. Macomber (she calls me Miller) and I go way, way back. We spent many a productive hour walking around and around the high school track, discussing plots and wondering if we'd ever make it in the business. :)

Gotta love it.

I downloaded "Red" yesterday, as I mentioned, but I don't know when I'll get around to watching it. (I do love Bruce Willis action movies. Go figure, because I avoid violence in books and movies like the plague.) I'm set on finishing "The Creed Legacy" and diving into "A Lawman's Christmas", a story about one of the early Texas McKettricks. Clay is Jeb and Chloe's youngest son, and out to prove himself. You are going to love Clay McKettrick.

Back to the art for a moment--I've been experimenting with using fabric for backgrounds, and I really love the look. I received the 'bitumen' I ordered and now I have to check with my local art supply store--Gary's process calls for 'white spirits'--he's very British--and I need to know if that's turpentine in Americanese, or if it's mineral spirits. :) My friend Mary Jo McGraw, who teaches classes at Spokane Art Supply, will definitely know the difference.

It's amazing what one can accomplish if they're not afraid of looking stupid.

:) Obviously, that's never been one of my big concerns.

And that's the news from my semi-cluttered kitchen table.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

True Grit

This fantastic remake of the John Wayne classic is up for Best Picture, Best Actor (yes! Jeff Bridges was amazing in the role of Rooster Coburn!) and Best Supporting Actress--and, for all I know, it's a contender in other categories, too. It's no secret--I sat down to watch this movie expecting to be disappointed--I mean, I LOVED the Duke's version--but instead, I was blown away. They got it so right!

I guess it's my day to talk about movies. I still want to see "Black Swan", "Rabbithole" and "The King's Speech", but I probably won't head to the theater. These days, I'm much more inclined to wait for the iTunes version and download it to watch at my leisure. Even as we speak, "Red", starring Bruce Willis, is feeding into this laptop. I may not watch it for weeks, but when I'm ready, it will be there, waiting.

Gotta love it.

The book is flowing, mostly because I'm finally getting to the other side of this wretched cold. It's been a long old pull.

Well, it's back to work for me.


Monday, January 24, 2011

How To Make Artist Trading Cards

What are Artist Trading Cards? (ATC)

The Artful Dodger

This is what my conscience calls me. :) You see, I intended to write this weekend.

I worked on art projects instead. I made oyster stew in my crock pot--delicious. I slept a lot, due to the lingering cold. My nephew Mike and his sweet Sara came by, bringing some of Mike's homemade summer sausage. I listened to the current book, "Clara and Mr. Tiffany", which is beautifully written, sure to delight anybody with a penchant for color and art.

The point is, while I was making ATCs (artist trading cards), I was able to work out some things that had been bothering me plot-wise. In fact, the whole rest of the book fell into place, and now I'm ready to roll again. This often happens when I'm playing with glue and glitter and all the rest--I get ideas.

Some people would tell you I get too many ideas. :) There it is again, the firefly syndrome.

Since so many of you have asked me about Artist Trading Cards, I will place a Youtube video on this blog sometime today.

In the meantime, I have work to do.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bored Yet?

I figure you're probably bored by the gorey details of my common cold--I know I am--so I posted a nifty Youtube video of one of my favorite diversions, making artist trading cards, just for a change of pace. There are some seriously cool things going on in the mixed media section, let me tell you. (I just did tell you that, you may say, as you well might.)

I have complained (okay, whined) before about the absence of arts and crafts shows on HGTV and DIY--darn it, I miss Carol Duvall. Youtube does fill the gap, though. There are countless tutorials on the site, under all sorts of headings, and the advantages are that you can watch only the segments that catch your interest, or view them over and over until you get the concept firmly anchored in your brain. While the quality of the videos is sometimes comical, well, we can all use a little more comedy in our lives, right? :)

I wrote almost a full chapter yesterday, despite the Plague. I've said it before and I'm going to say it again. I LOVE this book.

I made the chicken soup, and while it didn't cure me instantly, it did taste mighty good.

I'll be writing as much as I can this weekend, and resting, and reading.

Before I go, I have a book to recommend. Oprah beat me to it, but hey, for once I agree with the O, this is a terrific book! (Most of the books she touts are too darned depressing for words--as my daughter wryly remarked, they should come with a razor blade.) It's called "The Book of Awakening", written by Mark Nepo, and it's a series of inspiration readings that go straight to the heart and hold on. Nepo is also a very good poet--check out his "The Friend" if you're curious.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Collage ATC

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snowy,with a chance of chicken soup

That's the climate here, anyhow. This cold of mine is a bruiser. I was up for a couple of hours in the night--am hoping the thing has peaked. I'm writing, but not very fast.

Because of time/energy constraints, my art experiments are pretty limited these days. I'm sticking mostly to artist trading cards, and I'm doing a few zentangles, too. I'm getting the hang of that, finally--I'm pretty pleased with some of them. I've discovered some great how-to videos on Youtube--Gary Reef, Capricorn73, is a big favorite. Check him out. The man had me searching all over cyberspace for what he calls 'bitumin', which is actually some kind of automotive supply and looks like liquid tar. You use it like antiquing stuff, and it gives a great, weathered look. If you run a search titled "Zentangles", you'll find a whole slew of them out there.

I have been on a slow cooker kick lately, so I had my mind made up to make either porcupine meatballs or tamale pie today. As suggested above, though, I'm inclined to make chicken soup instead. :) The stuff really does make you feel better--although it could be psychological, I suppose. My mom used to dose us up with good old Campbell's Chicken Noodle or Lipton's Noodle Soup when we were sick as kids--in our outfit, those are comfort foods, along with macaroni and (take your pick) tomato juice, tomato sauce or canned tomatoes.

Speaking of Mom, I got a sweet note from her the other day, reminding me to use Vicks and get more rest. :) Thanks, Mom. I love you.

Being a little under the weather just makes me more aware of how blessed I am. I have warmth and light, furry friends, books and paint and a slow cooker.

Who could ask for anything more? :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


That's the score today, folks. I wrote a whole chapter yesterday, in spite of this darn plague, but the other side seems to be winning as of this morning.

Good thing I don't give up all that easily. :)

I'm drinking lots of Emergence-C, the Vitamin C drink, taking 222s, and slugging back a product called Mona Vie. In other words, I'm hanging in there.

Rather than bore you further, I'll just promise to come back and blog later on in the day, if something interesting happens.

Stay well.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Pam!

I'm back. I didn't go back to bed, but decided to muddle on through instead.

So I wrote, completing the draft of Chapter 9 of "The Creed Legacy", and I'm ready and eager to go on to Chapter 10.

Today is my sister Pam's birthday--hope you're having a very happy day, sweetie.

I'm enjoying my nightly glass of wine at this point, and I might do some art work. Or I might go to bed early, and listen to some of my favorite podcasts--"The Splendid Table", "Craftcast" and "The News from Lake Woebegone" all downloaded new episodes today. Wealth! PLUS, I'm still listening to Brad Meltzer's book--it's great.

To update you on the cooking experiments, the Chicken Enchiladas and the Slow-Cooker Lasagna both turned out to be delicous. I'm tackling tamale pie next. :)

We're getting a light snowfall tonight--it's been coming down most of the day. It's pretty, actually, and I was snug and grateful throughout.

Now, to write in my Gratitude Journal.

Where to start, though--?

Calling In Sick 2

This cold is a real pain, and I'm going back to bed.


If I have anything interesting to say later, I'll write an entry. Right now, I would just bore you with a lot of sniveling.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Feelin' Peaky...

But hangin' in there!

I think that cold that's been creeping across the Triple L--all thirty acres of it ;)--has finally thrown me. I'll be writing today, but on the couch, on this laptop.

I was sick all weekend, and didn't manage anything interesting, except for listening to most of Brad Meltzer's new book, "The Inner Circle",which is unturnoffable, on my iPod. Some of you may have seen Brad's TV show, "Decoded". What a talented guy! I once sat next to him at an autographing at a big gathering in New York, and he asked me to sign one of my books before the line started moving, probably because I'd just asked him to sign one of his for me. I said something, while rolling my eyes, on the order of, "Oh, Brad, come on." He didn't strike me as a romance fan, you see. And he replied earnestly, "My aunt Harriet (name has been changed because I forgot the real one) is a big fan!" So of course I signed. :)

That's one of the big perks of my job--sometimes, I get to be on a panel with, or sit next to, some ultra successful authors. And here's what I've noticed about every last one of them:

They're friendly, receptive and (mostly) modest.

And that's the news.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ups and Downs

Yesterday was a really productive writing day--I was rollin', ladies and gentlemen. I love it when that happens!

The whole crew here on the Triple L has been fighting off colds--one ranch hand is still confined to the bunkhouse (I don't really have a bunkhouse; it's an apartment on the property :))with some kind of nasty bug antibiotics can't touch. The rest of us are holding our own--I'm not exactly chipper, but I'm not sick, either.

Figure that one out. :)

What a week this has been. My heart breaks for all those folks in Tucson, and my prayers go out to and for all. To lose that bright and beautiful child is a blow to all of us, and of course to her parents, extended family, and many friends.

I am a person of faith, but abundantly human as well. And I can't help wondering why.

Last night I listened to a podcast called "Being", conducted by Krista Tippett, an interview with theologian/physicist John Polkinghorne (now THERE'S a name!), called "Quarks and Creation". I found it fascinating and profoundly comforting, and plan to listen to it at least once more, because it is pretty deep and very substantial. I mention it here in case you would like to track it down. Visit being. if you're interested.

Have a safe and happy weekend.

I'll see you Monday.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

When I'm Not Writing...

Which isn't very often, here are the things I like to do:

Read or listen to books on my iPod. I just finished "Left Neglected", a novel by Lisa Genova, who wrote, "Still Alice", another book I really liked.

Play with my art supplies. Right now, I'm making ATCs (artist trading cards--someone always asks) for a swap requiring the use of ordinary brown paper bags. I cut up a grocery sack, soaked it in water, and then crumpled it and let it dry, and I got a great texture effect. Then I painted the paper to look like copper--my favorite metal--and I'll be adding a patina later. As I've said before, for me, art is all about experimenting with different materials.

Trying new recipes. Cooking, like art, is an experimental process for me--I always have to alter the ingredient list, more of this, less of that. :) You get the picture. I must admit that my what-the-heck-I-might-as-well-try-it technique works better with the art than it does with the cooking. My slow-cooker cherry cobbler was a bust--too much cake topping and not enough cherries. I'm tackling enchiladas next. Maybe I'll just follow instructions this time.

What a concept.

Yesterday, I worked on my laptop here at the kitchen table, after I got rid of that glitch I told you about, and I had the TV on. This is not my usual M.O., but I was coping with eight tons of snow. I'm cruising through the channel guide, looking for something that isn't about true crime, and lo and behold, Lifetime was replaying the movie made from my book, "The Last Chance Cafe". It gave me a real lift, and I can't help thinking it wasn't a coincidence. My daughter texted that she'd stumbled across it, too, so we were shooting a running commentary back and forth and having a great time.

I think every day includes little gifts. We just need to notice them.

That's the news.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Clog in the Blog Cog

I can't help it, I like to play with words. :) I especially love alliteration, as you may have guessed from the title of today's entry.

I had some trouble getting to the correct page this morning--some glitch in the system. Few things make me crazier than computers running amok. Alas, the reality is that they sometimes do.

We got the snow I mentioned, but like most things we dread, it's not all that bad. Kind of cozy, in fact. Yet another day for me to be grateful that I work at home. Even the intrepid Sadie skipped her exercise program today, and that rarely happens.

Plans are the usual--writing and, later, some cooking and some art. These days, I'm into slow cookers--I'm trying some new recipes.

Since I got a late start, for various reasons, I'm sure folks in Lonesome Bend are watching the road for the dust rolling behind my pickup truck.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Here It Comes...

Big storm rolling in tonight, according to the weather man.

Making a quick run to the doctor today, which is why this blog is both short and late, :) and then I'll be battening down the hatches, as my mother says. Digging in for the duration, which is only supposed to be about 24 hours, so I'm actually looking forward to it. As long as the electricity holds out, my computer will be humming away.

Much of the country seems to be in the same situation, including Atlanta--Atlanta???--where all kinds of flights are grounded.

It makes an ole cowgirl glad to be right here at home.

Until tomorrow.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Lull Before the Storm

The weather people are predicting another big snow. 8-10 inches are possible, so we're getting prepared around here, as best we can. The other day, Buck took a tumble on the ice--he wasn't hurt, thank heaven--and couldn't get up. The Canadian Wrangler spread salt and gravel around him, and he finally got some traction and gained his feet again. Buck is one tough old Arizona horse, walking around the pasture in his bright green winter coat, and we're all deeply attached to him.

I have been fighting a cold, and that kept me from writing over the weekend, as I'd intended to do. It's ironic, because I'm loving this story and these characters so much. I forge slowly onward.

There's an elevator in my house--nothing fancy, but it works--and Sadie-beagle and I take it down to the basement at night, when she needs to go outside. My studio/craft room is on that floor, so I usually get distracted by some toy while she's doing her thing. Last night, I must have been real distracted, because Sadie came back in without my noticing. I looked toward the elevator and there she was, already aboard, waiting for me to join her. Since I'm the one with the opposable thumbs, button pushing is my responsibility. :)

Back to the approaching storm and getting ready. The grub has been laid in--can a person live for a week on Snickerdoodles and nachos? :) and the horses have plenty of shavings and hay.

It's all good.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Buckling Down

That's what I'm doing, here on the Triple L. Buckling down to some hard work and crazy hours to meet my deadline.

Busy as I am, I make time for my art, because for me it's a necessity.

I didn't make that trip to buy the art magazines, though. The roads are pretty iffy these days--rain, to be followed by a freeze equals ICE. Lest you think I'm complaining, I'm not. My life gets to the white-water stage now and then, but that's okay with me. Gets the adrenalin flowing. :)
Since I have no intention of taking up sky diving or riding bulls (yes, women do ride bulls), the hectic pace will have to suffice.

I'm sleeping much better these days, and that helps. Also longer. I'm assured by the ranch crew that this is a good thing. (With me, tired=cranky.)

Sadie is off to her exercise program and Bernice is digesting the treat she always gets after her sister leaves the house. :) The cats are doing whatever it is cats do--very mysterious business indeed.

As for me, I'm going to have breakfast and head for Lonesome Bend.

Make it a good day and a good weekend.

I'll be here on Monday with another report from my kitchen table.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Slow But Steady

That's the way things are going around here.

Not much time for art right now, as I'm in the thick of writing "The Creed Legacy".

One member of the crew is down with a case of the flu, and I'm doing my level best to avoid catching it.

Here's something for my gratitude list: my daughter's cat, Claudia, was desperately ill earlier in the week, and had to stay at the vet clinic, with an IV going. It was tense, but I'm happy to report that the kitty is home again, and feeling better every day. We figure she must have nibbled on a poinsettia leaf. I knew poinsettias were dangerous to pets and small children, but since the former never seemed to even notice the plants and there aren't any of the latter around here most of the time, I'd put them everywhere, enjoying the festive color. From now on, though, my Christmases with be poinsettia free. (The silk ones at Hobby Lobby are plenty beautiful, and nonpoisonous.)

I've been getting boxes of art supplies in the mail (our secret, okay?) and I'm gearing up to try encaustics, painting with wax. Too amazing--the colors are so rich and vibrant. I have a couple of collages in progress, too, on the wonderful, heavyweight water color paper I picked up while visiting Wendy and Jeremy in Santa Monica. Collage lends itself to my current situation, because things need to dry before a new layer can be added, and that lets me work on it in fifteen minute sessions.

There are a couple of new magazines out from Stampington & Company, my favorites, so I may have to buzz out to the book store to get them, if the roads are better later in the day. We'll see. :)

In the meantime, I've got some people waiting for me in Lonesome Bend, Colorado, so I'd better get this show on the road.

And that, such as it is, is the news from my kitchen table.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

I LOVE Snow...

Really, I do. :) And it's a good thing, because we have a lot of it.

I'm basically snowed in, in fact, but that's okay, because I'm concentrating on the book. And I'm loving the process. With me, being snowed in is not so much about not going out as knowing I can't go out even if I want to. (There are reasons why certain close family members would tell you I can be contrary about some things.)

The horses seem to be enjoying the weather, roaming their ten acres all day and playing their distinctly equine games. At night, though, they head into their stalls willingly--Old Buck sometimes puts himself away. The Canadian wrangler leaves one stall door open, in case Buck decides he's had enough of the cold--too much for old bones like his. And mine.

Sadie and Bernice are puzzled by the white stuff, but wade through it when necessary. The cats, on the other hand, won't go any further than the edge of the downstairs patio. Since they love to roam the yard--Cha Cha especially--I sometimes feel sorry for them.

As for the people on the Triple L, well, most of them are working too hard. The Canadian Wrangler not only takes care of the horses, he plows the roads. Jen drives Sadie back and forth to training three times a week and runs errands for me on the other two. Mary Ann, the Trail Boss, oversees everything and usually has to be told to quit working and go home. Chris, intermittent dog nanny, computer geek and housekeeper's helper, is a good hand as well.

And the book awaits, so I'm out of here.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Happy 2011

My question is, what the heck happened to 2010????? :) It's just plain crazy how fast time seems to pass.

I still haven't made any resolutions, and I don't intend to at this point. I just want to be grateful this year, and enjoy my life, which is good and getting better all the time.

Sadie-beagle goes back to school today. She needs the exercise, after a long holiday vacation, during which she mostly slept. :) The same could be said of me, the exercise, not the sleep, but I don't have a trainer. Or an acupuncturist....

What's wrong with this picture? :)

Today, I'm working. And it will be a joy.

That's the story from my kitchen table, and I'm sticking to it.