Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Special Package

A very special package arrived at our house yesterday.  It's the urn we got for our sweet baby girl. This is the 3rd urn we have commissioned from Alexandra Koiv at "Alex in Welderland", and we love them all.

And now the world seems a little more in balance, with Greta looking as if she is presiding over Schaffer and Bella,  while they, in turn,  ignore her - just as things were back in the good old days.  

Bella's urn was our first purchase, and it is one of Alex's standards.  I especially love the wings and the hook which holds Bella's old tag. For Schaffer's and Greta's urns, we opted for custom ears and tails, and a beard for Greta, which Alex made from photos we sent.  I think she captured their expressions perfectly.

Things will never be the same around here without our big, beautiful girl.  It's way quieter.  We miss her terribly.  But she will never, ever be forgotten, that is for sure. Thanks, Alex, for your beautiful work!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

KayKay's Tree

Hanging out with Mom this weekend, enjoying her beautiful red, white, and green tree. She's been doing this theme for awhile, adding more each year.  There are huge glass santas, santa candy canes, santa icicles, candy twisty strips, sparkly icy wreaths with red bows, big glass balls, her folette annual ornament collection, and lots of personal stuff made by her kids and grandkids and picked up on various trips.
It's her in a nutshell.  Crisp, clean, bright, and heavy on family and tradition.

It makes me smile.
 Big red bows, white snowballs, a teacher ornament given to her by a friend.
The best part of the tree (HA!) :
 I found this Santa for her on one of my trips to Italy.  (The Italy Pavilion at Epcot, that is....)

K.E.S (my niece) painted this one with her Aunt Sonni when she was 3.  I set out little tubs of paint and let her have at it.  The colors and design were 100% her choice.  I think they turned out awesome

Beautiful glass ornament from Mom's Alaskan cruise.

I haven't put my tree up yet, and maybe I won't.  We'll be here at Mom's anyway, and who's going to look at the tree but me?  Jason can take it or leave it, and we aren't likely to have people over any time soon because we are hermits.  Sad, but true.  But I can enjoy Mom's, and I will love seeing the nieces discover all the little fun things.

And if I only put my own tree up every other year (or every three...) that will just make it all the more special, right?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Home to Happy Flower Faces

Thanks to the love of my life, his chief assistant Jasmine, and their excellent watering regime, I arrived home after a two week work trip to happily growing, healthy flower faces.

It makes me smile.

Thanks, hun!!  :)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Gardening Mojo

I thought maybe I had lost my gardening mojo forever, but all of a sudden, I have inspiration and the desire to be out in my yard and to make something happen out there! FINALLY! And now that I think about it, it was about 5 years in @ Tulip Street before I started attempting a garden there, so I guess technically I am a year ahead.

In my defense, I have had bad luck with landscapers. I am Seriously overwhelmed by the Size of this yard. I had a garden designer come over the first year, and she immediately said she only works on small spaces. We wanted an overall design we could develop over years.

Then I found a landscape architect who owned a nursery. Jason and I met with him and really hit it off. Long story short, he got a divorce, sold the nursery and left the coast before drawing a plan for us.

Last year, I met the guy who owns the company that mows our lawn. He's also a landscape architect, and we also really hit it off.  Even knew some of the same people from Mississippi State. After several tries, I never got a response to emails or phone calls. His brother told me months later they got some big commercial contracts and are too busy.

UGH !!!

So for now, I have decided to GIVE UP and just start sticking stuff in the ground. I can't take it anymore!!

Of course there is a second problem with this plan. There are NO nurseries on the Coast to speak of. Well one, Pine Hills, which is Ok but still smaller than what I am used to in Baton Rouge.

Today Jason and I had to go check on our house in Baton Rouge, so while we were in town I went to Clegg's (one of my favorite nurseries EVER) and went nuts!!


Almost all of these plants are going in the completely neglected courtyard off our living room. The plan is to make this a mostly white garden. Usually we are only in that room at night, and I love how white glitters and glows in the dark.
If you need me tomorrow, I'll be out in the sunshine getting down and dirty and starting what I know will be just the thing to make my soul sing!

Buddleia 'Black Knight'
Colocasia 'Coffee Cups'
Colocasia 'Coffee Cups
Colocasia 'Coffee Cups
Clerodendrum 'Blue Butterfly'
Clocasia 'Electric Blue Gecko'
My fav! White, Red, and striped flowers all on the same tree!
Add caption

Friday, October 10, 2014

2014 Reading So Far

GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!  Technology is SO FREAKING FRUSTRATING!!!  Plus, I have a cold and I feel like crap, so I'm cranky and impatient.  (More than usual, I mean).  But a while back I bought myself a fancy new Samsung Note 10.1 2014 Edition (Fancyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy) and learning to really use it has been a CURVE.  Here's what I did, though.  I hand-wrote this list of stuff I have read so far this year, and it converted it to text.  Then after MUCH RESEARCH and GNASHING OF TEETH and WHINING, I figured out how to post it directly to this blog so WOOT for me!!!!!  

Here's the list in reverse chronological order.  No ratings, no comments.  If it's on the list, I liked it enough to finish it.  I'm too grumpy to make a comment on each one right now. 

I have a few favorites; One More Thing - Stories and Other Stories - B.J. Novak is AMAZING and I loved it all.  The Good Lord Bird may be a contender for my top 25 ever.  It was sweet and moving and FUNNY.  I actually completed an art journaling challenge page based on this one I loved it so much.  

When Women Were Birds also had some beautiful writing.  Rabid made me terrified to ever leave my house.   Traveling Sprinkler is typical Nicholson Baker and I loved it.  

And yes, I listened to the unabridged version of Infinite Jest.  All 56 hours and 14 minutes of it.  AND the footnotes; an additional 7 hours and 29 minutes.  Loved it just as much as I did when I read the hard copy a few years ago.

A lot of these are "fluff" reads.  I like mysteries/ suspense in the summer and I got on a Liane Moriarty kick. And earlier in the year, a Robert Aspirin kick.  It had been WAY too long since I read the myth adventure books, I needed a refresher. And a zombie kick.  Cut me some slack.  There is plenty of "literature" thrown in for good measure I think.  

1>  4th of July Creek- Smith Henderson 
2>  Three Wishes-Liane Moriarty 
3>  Heft- Liz Moore 
4>  Louisiana Longshot - Jana DeLeon
5>  This is the Water- Yannick Murphy 
6>  The Winter People - Jennifer McMahon 
7>  The Secret Place- Tana French 
8>  What Alice Forgot- Liane Moriarty 
9>  Big Little lies- Liane Moriarty 
10>  The Edge of Normal- Carla Norton 
11>  Rabid- Monica Murphy, Bill Wasik 
12>  The Husband's Secret- Liane Moriarty 
13>  Beautiful Lies- Lisa Unger 
14>  The Outsourcer's Apprentice- Tom Holt 
15>  Savage Harvest- Carl Hoffman 
16>  The Devil All the Time- Donald Pollock 
17>  600 Hours of Edward- Craig Lancaster 
18>  Watching You- Michael Robotham 
19>  Why I Left Goldman Sachs- Greg Smith 
20>  The Farm- Tom Smith 
21>  Eleanor & Park- Rainbow Rowell 
22>  Code Talker- Judith Avila, Chester Nez 
23>  The Wrath of the Just- Manuel Loureiro 
24>  The Wicked Girls- Alex Marwood 
25>  The One I Left Behind- Jennifer McMahon 
26>  Dark Days- Manuel Loureiro 
27>  One More Thing - Stories and Other Stories - B.J. Novak 
28>  You Should Have Known- Jean Korelitz 
29>  The Beginning of the End- Manuel Loureiro 
30>  Everything's Eventual- Stephen King 
31>  The Woman Upstairs- Claire Messud 
32>  The Interestings-Meg Wolitzer 
33>  When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice- Terry Tempest Williams 
34>  As I Lay Dying- William Faulkner 
35>  The Secret History- Donna Tartt 
36>  Wonder Boys- Michael Chabon 
37>  The Scar Boys-Len Vlahos 
38>  Divine Misfortune- A. Lee Martinez 
39>  The Talented Mr. Ripley- Patrica Highsmith 
40>  Myth-ion Improbable- Robert Aspirin 
41>  Myth-Alliances- Robert Aspirin 
42>  At Night we Walk in Circles- Daniel Alarcon 
43>  Myth-Taken Identity. Robert Aspirin 
44>  Class Dis-Mythed- Robert Aspirin 
45>  Myth-Gotten Gains- Robert Aspirin 
46>  Myth-Chief-Robert Aspirin 
47>  Myth-Fortunes- Robert Aspirin 
48>  In The Blood- Lisa Unger 
49>  Telegraph Avenue- Michael Chabon 
50>  10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in my Head...- Dan Harris 
51>  Siddhartha- Herman Hesse 
52>  Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation-"Great Courses" 
53>  Fangirl-Rainbow Rowell 
54>  The People in the Trees- Hanya Yanagihara 
55>  Blood Will Out- Walter Kirn 
56>  Steam-Terry Pratchett 
57>  The Good Lord Bird- James McBride 
58>  Traveling Sprinkler- Nicholson Baker 
59>  Fiend: A Novel- Peter Stenson 
60>  This is Where I Leave You- Jonathan Tropper 
61>  May We Be Forgiven- A.M. Homes 
62>  Serpent of Venice- Christopher Moore 
63>  This Book Will Save Your Life- A.M. Homes
64>  Missing You- Harlan Coben 
65>  Infinite Jest- DFW
66>  Broken Harbor- Tana French 
67>  Croak- Gina Damico 
68>  Monster: A Novel- A. Lee Martinez 
69>  Scorch- Gina Damico 
70>  David Foster Wallace: In His Own Words- DFW 
71>  Rogue-Gina Damico 
72>  The Book Of You: A Novel- Claire Kendal 
73>  The Boy Who Could See Demons - Carolyn Jess-Cooke 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Finished a doodley one

Home Playing!

I am off today, so I am playing around with a live oak tree mask that I hand cut last night out of a thin piece of plastic I saved from some package or another.

I have a whole container of sheets of plastic and cardboard packaging just for this purpose.  Sometimes I use a hot knife to cut plastic, but this one was thin enough to just fancy cut with scissors. 

The idea was to try to recreate the oak tree stencil I cut out of a piece of paper when I was gelli printing with my friend's kids up in Virginia.  Elizabeth, quite the artist herself, created this amazing gelli print using it and I doodled on it.  It is still one of my favorite pieces so far.

I am printing on top of some old gelli prints. I still haven't figured out exactly how Elizabeth achieved the original print, but I am LOVING my experiments so far!  I can't wait to doodle on some of these!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Beach at Sunset

Today we took Jasmine to the beach for a walk.  It was the first time since we lost Greta.  Now I hate to admit it, but we almost never took Greta and Jasmine to the beach.  Maybe twice in the 3 and a half years we have lived here.  A couple of reasons:

A> Greta was starting to get wobbly (spinal spondylosis) and the sand was really hard for her to walk in, and
B> SAND + FUR, and
C> Greta was the fun police and made it known to everyone in range that she was NOT HAPPY ABOUT ALL THE FUN, and,

But today was a really beautiful day.  Starting to cool off, no bugs, very nice breeze.  So we grabbed Jasmine's THUNDER HARNESS and two long leads and set off.

I have to say that it is sort of super weird to only have one dog - especially this one. Things are so QUIET.  Yes, she likes to be loved on and petted but she isn't vocal at all (with the exception of the DINO barks, which is another story).  We are having to adjust. In some ways I feel like I'm just now getting to KNOW Jasmine.  Believe me she has not been neglected in any way, shape or form for the last 4 years, but I guess she was just in the background behind the DOMINANT PRESENCE of Greta more than we realized.

Now is her turn to shine.

So we went to the beach, and it was ...........

Calm.  Peaceful, even.  She wandered around, checked things out, looked at all the kids playing...

She didn't bark.  She didn't charge forward.  She didn't whip out her ticket book and start issuing citations to every toddler for having too much FUN.  Jason and I were able to sit on the beach, talk, and watch the water.

PLEASE don't get me wrong, I miss my Greta desperately, loved her with all my heart, and wouldn't have traded her for anything.  And YES, I realize her behavior was a PARENTAL problem and we didn't train her properly and blah blah blah.  I know, I KNOW. (although I would like to note that some of her liter mates were on doggie anti-anxiety meds so maybe it wasn't ALL us...)


Jasmine just came to us like this. Calm.  Fully grown, we think she was 3 or 4, so 7 or 8 now, and she's just different than our Greta was.  More content.  More secure?

We got home and put her in the backyard to hose her down, and realized she wasn't even sandy!  The sand apparently doesn't cling to her like it did with Greta. Jasmine's coat is definitely softer, so that's interesting.

Jason and I have been married 16 years and we've never been a one-pet family.  We've had as many as three dogs at a time.  This is a big change for us, but I think we are going to enjoy it for awhile.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Pens, Pens, and more Pens

So...I have a lot of pens. Shocked? Likely not. The topic of pen storage came up in one of the facebook groups I'm in (Zentangle®) today, so I thought I'd jump in.

Since I really got into drawing about a year ago now (wow! a year?!), I have tried a few different storage ideas and found the following:

1> I hate not having all my pens with me at all times, (well not ALL my pens - I have backups and duplicates, but I don't carry more than one of the same thing unless I think something may run out, and not ALL the time, although my friends may argue about that...),  and
2> I DOUBLE HATE digging through multiple boxes/ bags to find the pen I want or to see all my choices.

Here's my current set-up.

This little bag (the zebra bag) holds tall pens, all my black and white pens, and all my metallic pens except Gelly Rolls. The plastic container in the middle holds my super-fancy itty bitty pens (or as Shannon Green says...."using these are like writin' with an eyelash!"), and I also have a few water brushes stuck in here.  I don't mind having the itty-bitties (mostly Pilot Hi-Tec C Maica 0.3) in their own container because I don't use them often and when I do, I am generally focused on final, very fine details.

The bag still has plenty room in it for more stuff...

(as does this paragragh....)

The zebra bag happens to fit perfectly inside this green bag, which is holding all my sharpies, my FC Pitt pens, Gelly Rolls, and "regular writing" pens - well that's what I call them anyway. I use them all the time for writing in my planner and anything else. They are mostly Pilot 07's, with a few Zebra Sarasa's thrown in.  There is a Sarasa limey-green color I especially love.  

This is what is looks like all put together.  This whole bag fits perfectly inside two other bags I have (one simple tote, and one big complicated backpack), in case I want to take them somewhere but want them fully contained.  In fact, on my recent 5 week trip to D.C. for work, I put the zebra bag inside the green bag inside the tote to contain any potential leaks (the tote is plastic), and then put the tote inside the backpack which I was carrying on the plane. Arrived with all pens intact and in their proper assigned location with no fallout or migration (I have no tolerance for pen migration.  Gelly Roll Stardusts should not be mingling with microns should not be mingling with pilots, know what I mean?).  I was quite pleased.  

When I'm actually working, I can see everything in front of me.  I like that.  I read and worried about the whole "store horizontal vs. store vertical" debate, but so far I haven't had any issues so I'm pretending I don't know any better.  
Just LOOKING at this pen bag makes me happy.  Oh, the potential it holds!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Gelli Addiction

I added the "ADDICTED TO GELLI" button to my blog (it's over on the right - check it out) because it's true.  I'm totally addicted and CANNOT STOP.  It is SO FUN.  Since I started mere months ago, I have taken to wearing nothing but worn out paint clothes around the house just so I can GELLI whenever the mood strikes.

I started with the 8x10 plate and a handful of awesome stencils and made things like:

Then I decided oooooh!  I can use other art I have made to cut my own stencils!  I cut one of my baby girl, Greta, and started making these:

Then my Mom got me the BIG Gelli Plate for my birthday and I discovered deli paper and OH MY!!!!

And NOW I have discovered that I can use up these STACKS of papers in collages!  

The addiction is bad.  Well I say bad, but I suppose it's way better than a crack addiction, right?  I have given away somewhere around 100 prints which makes me very happy, plus I'm single-handedly keeping the acrylic paint, stencil, pen, paper, and Gelli Arts industries in business.  (Did I mention I just bought myself a new 8x10 Gelli Plate and cut up my old one so I could make block printed backgrounds using the old pieces as stamps?)

If you want to see more Gellis, there are TONS on the interwebs, including TONS of awesome videos. Check out Patti Tolley Parrish on YouTube.  I LOVE her videos, plus she has her own line of stencils (many of which are featured in my own prints) at   Pretty much everything I know, I learned from her :)  Her website is

I posted a lot more of my prints on my new Facebook page (it's public, you don't have to have a facebook account to see it):  Sonyagraphsart  So check it out and let me know what you like!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Friends Crack Me Up, Episode #497


Andree's latest FACEBOOK post:
Things that will end badly: Ben is drilling a hole in the laptop to remove a stuck screw so I can replace the screen that Zachary cracked by closing the laptop on some earbuds.

Lisa:   Sounds like a Monty Python sketch

Jason G:   You should be filming this.

Andree: I don't remember there being so much cursing in Monty Python. Also, the drilling seems to have worked okayish. Also the part where I decided that where the manual said, "Remove" really meant "Pry apart with a butter knife."

Danny: "Hello Best Buy ? You are not going to believe this!"

Dale: Andree... make a footnote in the manual: "Keep butterknife handy to pry window facings off in case of stuck weights. Use fork to remove nails before hammering flush with roller skates."

Andree: That's one way to do it, Dale. We go with "Don't open windows."

Angelle: So glad I'm not the only one.

Dale: Andree... there was no choice. We no longer own a key to our own house and some maniac locked the door!

Andree: When I was little and we got locked out, my parents would pry one of the window panes in the front door and stick my sister through to go unlock the back door. The window panes are about 5" X 7". I'm not sure how she fit.

Sonya: Y'all are killing me LOLOOOL.

Andree: The drilling didn't hurt anything. But it turns out the lenovo manual was wrong - I didn't need to take the whole thing apart to get the screen off. Oh well, the fan's clean now and the laptop's a lot lighter since I have a few dozen screws left over.

Heartbroken Silence

Working at home for the first time since we lost our Blueberry Pancake (aka Greta). It's quiet. I pretty much hate it. This is what I SHOULD see when I look out my office door.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What Are This?

A friend of mine found a treasure trove of old ledgers and receipts  - some (maybe all?  not sure) from an old department store.  These "cash" cards were in the stash.  Anybody know what they actually are?  I'm SO CURIOUS!!!

P.S.  I know "What Are This?" is not proper grammar.  If you don't get the reference, watch:

THIS VIDEO (warning - f-bomb at the end)

Friday, August 15, 2014

This is the Shape of the Hole in my Heart

Today, we lost our girl. One day shy of her 15th birthday. One day, this hole in my heart will be filled with love and memories and funny stories, but today it is just empty. Don't worry, my sweet Greta. We will see you again. In the meantime, go find Schaffer and Bella and Grandpa Don and herd them up. Make sure they aren't having too much fun, and give them a stern talking to. Snuggle them for us, and make sure they give you dinner on time and understand that elevens'es is the most important nap of the day. We love you so much.