Saturday, November 6, 2010

Am I Moving Over To The Dark Side????

Six months ago my world changed...I found the amazing women of the wonderful world of mixed media art. Prior to this my creative bent had pretty much centered around fine needlework, lacemaking, ribbonwork and painting. But when I hit Paper Cowgirl last June, "art" turned 180 degrees for me...and the bonus I received came in the form of the individuals who created all this fantastic "stuff". Saturday I spent the day with one of them...Cami Dilsaver...a real loopy lou...who promised me an interesting day. Hmmmmmmm

First up was the Funky Finds Experience in Fort Worth. I'd never been to this "craft fair" before...and it was interesting. As we strolled down the aisles it became obvious that there were true artists among the crafters exhibiting their wares. We discovered several ideas we could "lift" for projects in our own workshops...even greater items to purchase...and then items that left us with the thought "what CAN she be thinking?!!??" For me that item was fashioned by "the wreath lady"......oh lordy folks......Cami's comment: "Well, maybe you could change it up with a little bling or something." Hmmmmmm.....yeah.....bling in the form of a blow torch.....Cami is just too sweet.....that wreath was ugleeee no matter what astral plane you occupy! LOL As we paid for our purchase at the last booth on the last aisle, I thought we were headed to lunch.....Cami had other ideas!

"Have you ever been to the Cow Barns?" she queried. Ummmmmm.....NOPE!!!! She started to laugh and claimed she was going to change my world. GAWD!!!!!!!!!! We strolled across the street and headed into some type of flea market dealio that apparently has been around since God was a child....and looked like it. Now, I'm a PURGER from waaaayyyyyy back....I don't save crappola....two steps into this place my comment was "Well! I think I know where all my stuff has ended up!" Cami was howling but immediately exclaimed "THIS is where we get the stuff to make our stuff Jan!!!" my world really opening up further? Will I be bringing home crappola from this place??? How in blazes are we even gonna FIND anything worthwhile in here? Stuff was piled on top of stuff. An anal retentive's nightmare....I was beginning to get the shakes!!!

I think Cami spied the look of bewilderment (and fear) on my face and expertly guided me down the first aisle, all the while cooing about which vendor to approach and which one to ignore...who had the best prices...who thought he/she was a Rockefeller etc. Within minutes I calmed down and said "Sheesh! You and Jan Vermillion-Thomason (another artist I adore) are bound and determined to drag me to the dark side!!" By the center of that first aisle I WAS crossing over! We had hit the area of "the jewelry lady".

These mixed media women work a lot of "bling" into their creations. Now, I've been huntin' down bling at my local antique $15 to $25 a pop I ain't usin' a whole lotta bling pins etc. in my creations! Well...the "jewelry lady" at the cow barns had great stuff for $3 and $4 and I was grabbing like a madman possessed! While Cami continued to howl, and cull her own treasures, I babbled incoherently about all the great crappola I was finding. Then Cami said "OH! There's a woman at the end of this row who has old clothing and fashion labels!" BANG! I was closer to the dark side! I've loved this kind of thing BEFORE I even knew about mixed media. So we dash off to the label lady.

Unfortunately the label lady had forgotten to bring her labels with her but promised to have them for the next time 'round. No matter...there were more treasures to be had.....I was gettin' into the hands were dirty!!!!

Midway through the next aisle we met a charming fellow selling tiny personal bank ledgers. Cami was yakking it up with him about prices. Note...NOTHING (or very little) is marked at this place...people make up prices on the fly. The beginning price started at $3 each (I think). When I became interested he said he'd make us a deal...$1 each if we took them all. So we started looking at them. I was only interested in one. After inspection Cami decided against them and passed. Once again I asked the price because by that time I was totally confused. Ummmmm....he charged me $1!!!!! ROFLOL Ya gotta love this place!!! I was DEFINITELY movin' closer to the dark side!!!

Then came the dapper gent with the books and the crystal pepper shaker. What a guy!! I picked up a beautifully shaped crystal pepper shaker, no mate, that had a $5 sticker on it. I was so excited I practically wet my panties. I store glitters in them so didn't need a mate. I pulled out $5...he gave me back $3...WHAT??? He explained the sticker really didn't mean anything. HUH? The dark side is lookin' good...REAL good!

Cami made a purchase from him I just can't matter how long I hang with these women I'll never understand it. I can't say that ALL of them are infected, but a lot of them have a sickness for plastic/rubber baby doll heads. GAWD It's totally creepy to me...I don't get it. Oh, they may buy the entire doll, but they'll rip the head off and slap it on heaven only knows whatever in the name of art. I have to admit some of it is interesting...but I look at it and I STILL see a mutilated baby doll. I refused to even glance at Cami's purchase...knowing the fate of the pitiful thing.

This was followed by an old gentleman with a stash of gorgeous prisms for $3 still my heart! The dark side was beckoning louder!!!!

Then came the little lady selling depression era pressed glassware. BANG! I store my tools in this stuff. I thought I was gettin' pretty good prices at the local antique mall...HOLY CRAPPOLA BATMAN!!! The cow barns is the place to go for pressed glassware. won't find a whole lot of it...but I got a great piece to store my rulers in for....wait for it.....$3!!!! It would have cost me at least $20 to $25 at the antique mall. Yes...with that purchase I had finally crossed over to the dark side. I was sold on these junkin' exercises. I believe I can learn to dig with the best of them. I can't wait to discover the next treasure trove these women haunt. I won't be huntin' down baby doll heads mind you...but I'll be kickin' and scratchin' for my piece of the haul!

For those of you who haven't crossed over to the dark side yet...well...the anal retentive purger in me says "kudos to you"...but the new me says "taken in moderation, the dark side isn't such a bad place...where else can you get $3 bling?"

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Present for Presleigh.....

Recently I attended an art retreat in Waxahachie, Texas. I spent three wonderful days meeting the most interesting women, all interested in furthering their knowledge of various art forms.
However, the most fun I experienced was meeting the two children who attended the event...eleven year old Landon and nine year old Presleigh. Landon happened to be the grandson of a classmate and Presleigh the daughter of one of my instructors.

I came to "know" these youngsters on a Saturday evening while most attendees were shopping for "that perfect bauble" at the vendor show. I adore yammering with young never knows what will pop out of their mouths during an extended conversation...and these two didn't disappoint! I soon realized that Presleigh reminded me soooo much of myself in my younger days...constantly on the move...never at a loss for words...and supremely at home in the company of boys. Not far into our conversation she imparted that her sole purchase at the vendor show had been a book that dealt with the Orient. I soon came to realize this same book had been held up as a "sample" in one of my classes..."oh to be able to purchase such a book!" I thought at the time. My head had been literally swimming with ideas of what I would do if the book belonged to me...LOL

Little did I know that the instructor would eventually put it up for sale with her other wares, and that out of all the people scavenging the vast array of trinkets, ephemera, glitter, jewels, hardware, you name was there....that a nine year old girl would manage to uncover the one book I found fascinating....I was gobsmacked by her choice.

Sooooo...not wanting to be a sore loser...I decided to embrace my new found friend's wise purchase and reward her with a little gift from my heart and hands. This "new" tag book is for you, Presleigh...I've no idea what in blazes you'll do with your "old" book, but I'm confident it will be simply amazing.
, Whether you choose to alter it, create pockets amongst its pages, fill it up with tags or simply leave it as the author intended...a tome to be read and enjoyed...I know you'll make the right choice little one!
just me...having felt like a nine year old again, if only for an evening...jan

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tour de France

Yup! The guys are back's that time of year...the cyclists are roaring through the French countryside on yet another epic adventure of sweat, pain, joy, name it...they'll experience it.

I've been a fan of the Tour de France for quite a number of years now. Number one son got me mad for the sport back when Armstrong was riding for The Discovery Channel. Since then cycling has exploded in this country...nice to know since many of us have become so sedentary. But today, as Lance and the boys from Radio Shack begin to hit the first of the mountain climbs, I'm thinking back to just how a male dominated sporting event can "move" a middle aged housewife off the couch and "onto" a bicycle.......well.......kind of!

Erick (#1 son) had set up Josh's bike (#2 son) in a "trainer" contraption in the game room so the two of them could "ride" in air conditioned comfort and still get their miles in......I vacuumed around the set up......yes I AM a saint! Anyhoo, so the morning rolled in....all the guys headed out for work and I dragged my tea cup to the game room and prepared to watch fresh faced bikers kill themselves in a fierce battle with The Alps. As I sat sipping and watching men flying past tiny villages and vast fields, I kept glancing at "the bike". After twenty minutes I thought "what the heck...why not ride with Lance and the boys one but me will know!" So I hopped on and began peddling away...enjoying the back roads of France with the rest of my international competitors!

Ten minutes later, with sweat rolling down my arm pits and feet continually falling off the freakin' pedals, I determined adjustments needed to be made if I was going to make it through even half of the day's journey. I hopped off, stripped down to t-shirt and panties (I was'd do it too!), hit the AC to 66, cranked the ceiling fan to full blast and shoved my tootsies into Josh's cycling shoes (we're the same size). Whew! NOW I was ready for France!
Ummmm.....perhaps. I began my ride with an easy pace, keeping an eye on the rest of "the field", happy that a ceiling fan was whirring above my head instead of some free wheeling birdie the rest of the bikers had to contend with. But then THEY weren't bothered by pesky irritations like ringing telephones! Oh well....I'd just continue my ride after the phone call. WRONG! Upon attempting to get off the bike I hit a major in my feet were LOCKED in the pedals and they WEREN'T coming out anytime soon! No matter what I did I was unable to remove my cycle shoed feet from the pedals....twist, turn, yank, pull, push....nothing!

The phone had long since stopped ringing when, like a lightening bolt from above, genius struck....remove my feet from the shoes! So I grabbed the ratchet thingee that closed the shoe and began to attempt to undo the shoe...GAWD...what in blazes is wrong with good old fashioned shoe laces? The only thing the ratchet thingee did was to hermetically seal my foot into the shoe AND stab my thumb so badly that I was bleeding profusely down my arm. Not wanting to stain the game room carpet, I did what any woman would do....I shoved my thumb into my mouth....and in answer to the obvious question: NO I'M NOT A FAN OF THOSE VAMPIRE MOVIES!

I have no idea how much blood I sucked down....enough to make me VERY naucious though. As I laid across the top of the bike in a sweat soaked heap, choking back vomit and trying not to bleed on the carpet, the phone began ringing again. Sheesh! When it rains it pours! At that point my life began flashing before me...the only real regret I had was the fact that my family would find me six or seven hours later...braless, in panties, t-shirt and ratchet shoes clamped to a ten speed bicycle on a journey to nowhere. With tears rolling down my cheeks I glanced at the television screen....the cyclists were hitting the midpoint of the last mountain climb for the that moment we shared a kinship....I knew their pain, I felt their sweat, the battle of the day had truly humbled me....please God I need a little help! And, like each of my international competitors, God answered that left foot miraculously fell off the pedal!

I had just enough strength to haul my aching buttocks off the bike to wrench my foot out of the OTHER pedal. I crawled on hands and knees to the telephone to attempt to contact Erick concerning instructions about shoe removal. Once his uncontrolled laughing ceased....I ruminated on nature's mothers who eat their young....I was finally able to completely free myself from the dreaded shoes. I collapsed on the couch as some of the last cyclists of the day crossed the finish line.

While I hadn't battled The Alps as Lance and the other guys did that day, I have to say I believe mine was an epic struggle that rates right up there....and NO I haven't been back on the bike....I leave such matters to those who know what they're doing.

just me...watchin' from the sidelines...jan

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I suppose this is my weekend for checking things off my "Bucket List". After years of reading dozens of blogs by others, I've FINALLY taken the leap and am sitting here at 5:45 a.m. attempting to set up my own. Hmmmmm...we'll see what I end up with! LOL

It's raining here in North Texas...but that only aids in the splendor one can see blooming along just about any road (rustic or paved) throughout the state...yes...the wildflowers are out in full force! My husband and I decided to take a mini road trip yesterday to discover just what "Antique Alley" was all about. Another check mark I could make on my Bucket List! If it was a bust at least the wildflowers would provide a show worth the trip.

According to the information I had, Antique Alley is a 25 mile stretch of road winding through back roads connecting three small Texas towns...supposedly an antique junkie's dream come true. First town up was Cleburn...Ralph actually dragged himself into an antique shop without groaning and was ready to purchase the $300 chandelier I had my eyes on with no questions asked. Hmmmmm...too ready to buy...I saw us headed back home and towards a new restaurant he wanted to try...was he workin' on his own Bucket List? I looked at him and said, "What are you...nuts? One NEVER buys at the first stop! There's ALWAYS somethin' better down the road!" Ummmmm...I should have grabbed that chandelier like a thief in the night and told him to floor the gas pedal all the way to the restaurant! ROFLOL Antique Alley turned out to be a bit of a bust for me...guess I'm not much of a "junker"...either that or I need my sister to drag me around on some of her little jaunts..."shit shopping" is what she calls it. Well...I walked through some "shit" yesterday when we attempted to shop!

Somewhere between Cleburne and Granbury we pulled off the road to seek treasures with dozens of other hunters. Unfortunately we were forced to park our vehicle amongst horses and goats and one lone roaming mother dog scavenging scraps from the ground. It was here that the "shit shopping" became a reality. I soon realized "treasures" weren't going to be uncovered at this least not by me...virtually everything these people were selling were items my purging soul (did I mention I'm anal retentive?) would have tossed into the nearest trash bin with lightening speed. Back into the Buick Ralph!! From that point onward we spent our time enjoying the scenery and attempting to identify the wildflower blooms in the fields we passed as we headed on towards Maypearl.

I was born a Yankee, but I've lived in the South for well over 30 years much as I love the changing colors of tree leaves in the fall...there is NOTHING that can compare to a vast field of Texas wildflowers! Be they bluebonnets or indian paintbrushes...the colors just burst forth and grab your heart. While the bluebonnets are amazing in our neck of the woods, the paintbrushes and spiney daisies were dominent along the roads of Antique Alley. Lady Bird Johnson certainly left one incredible legacy...because, during this time of year, one knows when they've reached the borders of this great state...the flowers abruptly's something so uniquely Texan.