Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sorry, haven't blogged in awhile....but couldn't resist this.

'nuff said, don't ya think?

Some other recommended blogs:

Something that Really Happened


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Thursday, September 21, 2006

So You Think You Can Dance? - Gosh, It's been so long since I've blogged so have to catch up on some things I've been doing. When tickets for SYTYCD became available I was able to snare one pit ticket and one in row 6. To get two together would have put us way back in the theatre. So, my daughter in law and I didn't sit together and we exchanged seats at intermission so we both could have the treat of the pit ticket - but we had a great time and the show was great.

I got a lot of pictures....don't know what was wrong with me, I do know how to take pictures, but I was so entranced by the dancing I just couldn't distance myself enough to set the camera for sports mode so I just took pictures in still mode. LOL.

Ivan was one of my favorites during the show. I love his personality!!!

Travis and Heidi.

Benji and Donyelle

Benji and Travis made a great team and did their dance from the show!!

Ivan again!!! He was very entertaining !!!

Not terribly sharp, but I kind of like it !!

Benji was great as an announcer and, of course, as a dancer. Such a goofus sometimes, ya gotta love him.

I like this one of Travis.

It was a very energetic and fun show. The crowd had a good time and it was over much too quickly.

A little slide show of all my pictures.

RockYou slideshow | View | Add Favorite

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New Clay Pictures !!!!!

Well, of course I couldn't help it. With these beauties in hand I decided to do a 100% picture scrapbook page. Wish I had the high res pictures, but these will do.

Don't forget to check out Clay's new single, Without You.

Clay's My Space

or, some prefer Fanscape as the audio is even better -


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Saturday, September 02, 2006

My first Northern Cardinal pictures
I was raised in California where Cardinals do NOT visit and so, when I moved to Arizona, I was excited to discover Cardinals frequent the SE part of the state. Now, I'm kind of in the central part of the state, but I had my fingers crossed.

I saw my first one in a restaurant where they had a bunch of bird feeders outside the window. Then, one day a few months ago I heard a different bird call and went to investigate what it was. I'm not good at identifying which bird call is which, but I knew this was not one of my usual woodpeckers, cactus wrens, etc.

There was a cardinal sitting on my hanging bird feeder. I almost tripped over myself getting the camera and catching a couple of so-so pictures. I only saw him twice and he was gone.

One of the pic's is kind of nice after I PS'd it a little.

Today's scrapbooking challenge was colors again. This is the color pallet.

Hmm. Wanted to do something with a bird pic today but these colors didn't seem to go so I used the blur feature in PS filters to get a random blurred background and went from there. Not sure if it really works, but I kind of like the effect. And, I used all the colors from the challenge. They're there. Honest.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

My first from scratch scrapbook project. Awhile back I enrolled in "Photoshop Elements Techniques". It's a website that has lots of information, tutorials, downloads, etc. for Photoshop Elements. The scrapbooking pages I have done so far are from kits and/or some creativity on my part. After doing a couple of tutorials on this new site, I have come to realize the power behind Photoshop products. I don't know how deep I will get into it as I am basically not artistic, but I have committed myself to wading through all the tutorials, etc. and hopefully some of will stick.

The tutorial I did today was to create a cutout, basically for a picture frame. Frankly, the instructions were not good, either in the tutorial or in the instructions for using Photoshop Elements located within the product. Point in fact, the tutorial called for using a shape for the cutout. Now, I knew what a shape was, there is a pull down where you can pick generic shapes to use as a cutout or frame or whatnot. But, I needed to go get a shape from an Adobe site. The instructions said to download it and install it by going to Edit, Preset Manager and loading it in through there. There WAS no shapes in the pulldown - brushes, patterns, etc. but no shapes. I clicked here and I clicked there to no avail. So I went into the forum and sent a note. Good thing I mentioned I was a blond, because when I got back to my project low and behold the new shapes were there in the pulldown. But they went away when I went back to my default shapes. What had I done to get them there in the first place? After some experimentation, this time I paid attention, it seems you click on the shape file and it temporarily puts the shapes in your pulldown. Now, this makes complete sense as there are probably lots of shapes I might want to download and use, but they would clog up my pulldown menu and probably affect computer performance if they stayed permanently. (Sort of like having 10 gazillion fonts installed - who?? me??) But, boy....you'd think they'd tell a person this. Once I had this licked I was back to the project and the next wall I ran into was a problem in the tutorial....the author was assuming I knew things I do not and that I would know I had to create a new layer for my "shape". LOL. It took me hours to complete the following, which I don't even care for particularly, but I did it ALL from scratch, including the pattern on the background. What you see here is what some digital scrapbooking sites call a Plopper - all you need to do is insert a picture between the parchment layer and the background and add some journalling and/or embellishment.

Oh, the shape, of course, is the peacock. Yah know, I don't even think I have a picture that goes with the frame. ROTFL....

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Jasmine, my adopted Siamese cat is a pretty good subject for photographing. She seems to like to pose. So, I was playing around today and made this page for her. Blue is definately her color.

Jazzy has all the typical Siamese characteristics....loves to talk. She never lowers herself to play with Baby Kitty's toys, but if you are careful she doesn't see you, you might catch her swat carelessly at a catnip toy...her head held high. Some more pictures in a little slide show.

RockYou slideshow | View | Add Favorite

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Clay comments on a scrapbooking site - I often post about the digital scrapbooking challenges I participate in and my last one I uploaded was Clay (as are most of them). When you upload the scrapbooking pages they are then available for view by other members and they often comment. The last one drew 7 comments, 5 of which went like this:

Nicely done. While not a huge fan of his (I'm more into country music), he is such a cutie, and the pics you've chosen to showcase are adorable!

I have heard of him but thats it , he is a cutie i will say that and great LO.

Great LO. While I've not heard any music from him in awhile, I still like him (and still think he should have won!).

This is a great layout ... could be a great promo for him! (Maybe you need to send him a copy!)

Great job with Clay's photos! I TOTALLY agree! He SHOULD have won but in the end he is the winner....he;s doing better...lol...

So, heck.....todays challenge was a simple layout with a main pic, three small ones, some journaling....so I uploaded this:

Well, I figure....if only one of them decides to go out and buy it I've done my part!!!

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

We have snippets!!!! My jukebox is now updated with snippets of all 14 songs on A Thousand Different Ways which will be for sale on Sept 19, 2006. In addition, the album cover has been confirmed and although I posted it in my previous blog, it's so gorgeous I just have to post it again.

Enjoy the snippets. I cannot pick a favorite at this point and desperately want to hear the complete versions!!! Broken Wings and Lonely No More are especially screaming at me...

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Gah. Last week we thought we had the album cover picture.

Love the picture, Love the bold typeface...... I am getting very excited about this album, I think it will surprise some people, fascinate some people, and entertain us all enormously. And, I certainly hope the "actual" album cover is even more striking than this one....cuz I like this one very much....

Although I have added a link to Clay's myspace account to the sidebar on the right, I want to put the link here Clay Aiken MySpace and I recommend going to listen to what is reported to be his first single off the new album. Notice I didn't say it IS the single off his next album as we haven't heard it from either he or RCA. I wasn't too sure about "covers" because of the negative value placed on the WORD covers. I have purchased cover albums and have always enjoyed hearing a favorite artist singing songs I have loved in the past. After hearing this song I can't wait to hear the rest of the songs, because "Without You" is stunning.

Hopefully, this album will be embraced by the fans as well as the general public. I think it will, the heavy promotion at Walmart in their SoundCheck series should be huge in first week sales. A few television promo's and appearances and we should be good to go. I get to see him in Hollywood at the Jimmy Kimmel show on 9/26!!!!

Check out my new counter for days, hours and minutes until the release of the new album.

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Baby Kitty & the Lizard. The other day my (formerly) sweet and innocent kitten brought me a present, which she dropped right at my bare feet while I was sitting at my desk. The present immediately started to scurry around and I launched myself onto the top of my desk, getting those bare feet out of the way. As my camera was on the desk, I got a few pictures before I felt it was time to intercede and rescue the critter. Baby had to be locked in the laundry room as she was beside herself with the joy of the hunt and I was able to sweep the lizard back out onto the patio. I loathe the things, mostly because they can move so fast. Anyway, here is a little slide show of Baby Kitty's day.

RockYou slideshow | View | Add Favorite

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Clay's New Album. Finally, last week we got a press release and a song list for the new album, "A Thousand Differant Ways". And, then we got some pictures and a promo on ET with some more stellar pictures and images. Wow. Still, we haven't heard him speak. There are those who are wondering when the new hair will speak. Hah, maybe it won't. A sorta 2006 sexy male version of the Greta Garbo " I vant to be alone" personna. Nah, just joking, but there is a sort of mystery forming around Clay that is enticing and romantic.

Naturally, I had to do a scrapbook page......

As one DJ has been reported to have said, Hubba Hubba

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Monday, July 31, 2006

Yesterday I tackled cleaning out a closet that had my camera equipment. I never throw anything out if I can help it, but in anticipation of an upcoming move.....no, not to Charleston as previously stated - but that's another blog, I have been doing some discarding. My original "serious" camera was a Minolta Rangefinder that I dropped in the surf in Hawaii and ruined. I did keep it for many years, thinking I would cough up the money to have it fixed, but I finally (cries) discarded it. Now, I see I have my second camera, an Olympus OM1 that took all the great pictures of my son growing up and my Canon Rebel EOS, which I truly loved, my original digital camera, an Olympus was stolen and I replaced it with a Sony, which was ok...and, of course today I have the Canon Powershot. I guess that's not a lot of camera for a lifetime, and I did have the instamatics and the polaroid, but I haven't bothered keeping any of those, just the ones that mean something to me. I would love to have the new Canon Rebel Digital, but the price is prohibitive at this point and I would not be able to take it into a concert...so, I'll stick with what I currently have for the time being.

At any rate, and the point of all this, while going through the various camera bags and organizing everything, I found several Sony memory sticks I had put away when I got the new Canon....and surprise, found some pictures I had taken on a vacation to Southern Arizona about 5 years ago. Not very many but I had obviously forgotten about these as most of the pictures I took on that trip were with the Canon EOS.

Since I was thrilled with putting the Concord Hall pictures in a video format I tried it again. This time I used Roxio instead of Photoshop Elements Organizer. With Roxio I don't see a way to add captions to the pictures, which I might want to do with bird pics. I also found Roxio a little more unwieldy for getting the pics into the project and organizing them. It's a tossup.

These pics aren't great, but there are a couple of sunsets on here that I remember well. it was like the mountains were on fire. Most of the bird pics were taken near Tucson, but the sunsets were from a B&B I stayed at in Hereford, Az (not far from Bisbee). Great birding area. If I can find some of the SLR pics perhaps I will blog on the B&B and trip - it was a lot of fun.

So, here is the video, if interested. It's short, and again the music is by William Joseph. Go to the sidebar on the right and turn Clay off by hitting the two bars.

Just trying to distract myself while we are awaiting a PR for Clay's new "Highly Anticipated" album.

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

I've mentioned before that I'm trying to digitalize my family pictures and documents for posterity. Yesterday I completed scanning of one small photo album (of many). I was glad to get the pictures scanned but then I thought about putting them into a slide show and sure enough Photoshop Elements 4 Organizer does just that and allows you to make a video of the whole thing. So, I did it and uploaded it into Youtube and feel very proud of myself. I see all the wonderful montages everyone does with Clay pictures and this is not anywhere as nice as those, but it's my first attempt. I will work on it a little more and maybe make DVD's for my siblings for Christmas.

I call this particular album Concord Hall because most of the pictures were taken there. Concord Hall is a house in Lancaster, Ohio and is now on the Heritage Tour in the area. My great grandmother bought the house in 1903 and my father sold it in 1949 (for a pittance, almost exactly what Mary paid for it) when we moved to California. I visited the house in the 1970's and have some pictures I took at that time and it looks just the same, except some of the big elm trees have come down over the years in storms.

Anyway, here is the video if you are interested in genealogy or history you might enjoy some of these pictures. The clothes were beautiful...the young boy in the pictures is my father and man, he had some wild outfits. Before you play the video, go to the jukebox on the side bar to the right and turn Clay off by clicking the two little bars ". Thanks. 


The house was built in 1831 and on it's 150th anniversary, the following story was written by Ruth Drinkle and published in the 1981 Fall edition of the Fairfield Heritage Quarterly.

Happy 150th Birthday

Concord Hall

It was in the summer of 1831 that Augustus Witte moved his family from the log cabin, which had been their temporary home, into their newly built fine brick home three miles west of the village of Lancaster. If the walls of this venerable home could talk, it could tell a story something like the following:

"Yes, it has been 150 years that I have provided homes for several families, and in the course of those years I've experienced many joys and sorrows, many fond hopes and dashed expectations but I've always been loved and most people think I'm more beautiful than ever, which of course comes from sturdy and well planned construction and tender loving care over the years and I've had three different names. But let me start at the beginning.

I was conceived in Hanover, Germany, shortly following Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. Young Captain Augustus Witte, who had distinguished himself with gallant conduct during that battle had received a medal from the government for his service, and had married the niece of his commanding officer, General Bliicher. She died quite young and a little later he married Agatha Von Roden. Having heard much of the wonders of the new world, they must have decided to build a new life for themselves, there, and so on May 15, 1829 he embarked from Bremen and six weeks later he landed in Baltimore, Md. He came directly to Ohio and to Lancaster, where there was already a sizeable German settlement. He brought with him plans for a fine house, drawn by his brother who was an architect for the royal family of Hanover.

He soon located a suitable tract of land just west of Lancaster on Zane's Trace. This land had a very fine spring of water, and a former owner had established a small tread mill for grinding grain and a small distillery. That fall (1829) Witte returned to Germany leaving his friend Charles Schur who along with a few other craftsmen had accompanied him from Hanover, to superintend the construction of the house, barn, steam flour mill and distillery. Bricks for the house were made in the brick yard across Boving Road (then Zane's Trace).

In the spring of 1830 Witte returned from Germany bringing his wife and family consisting of 5 year old Cecilia and four younger sons, furniture for the new home, a trunk full of silver, and 4 millers, 2 distillers, 1 carpenter, 2 farm hands, 1 cooper, 1 boy, 4 maids and 1 housekeeper. Since the new house was not ready for occupancy the family moved into the log cabin; the others had to live in the barn. Unfortunately in November of that year the log cabin and most of its contents were destroyed by fire. A lovely little painting on copper of Agatha Von Roden and her daughter Cecilia, which had been painted in Germany, survived this catastrophe. Soon after this, Agatha died. She was never to live in this house for which she had planned, for it was not until the following summer (1831) that the family could move in. The steam mill and distillery were in full operation, so they named me "The Steam Mill Farm."

Captain Witte soon organized the German Guards, a very fine military company - the first such company here to have good uniforms and drill in a precise military fashion for Captain Witte was a German gentleman of fine manners and martial bearing, who had greatly disliked the "rag-tag cornstalk" militia which he at first encountered here. The German Guards, who often drilled on my grounds, were well uniformed, had a band for music, and a cannon, and were invited to participate in the laying of the cornerstone of the new State Capitol building in Columbus where they made a fine display.

In 1838 Capt. Witte married Miss Anna Schloman and to this union were born five children. Capt. Witte had also brought with him from Germany a habit of hospitality which he dispensed with a lavish hand. Having built a ballroom on the second floor of his home, there v.,Pre many fine occasions when his house was full of guests. But, like many liberal men, he was imposed upon. Then he had another disastrous loss, for two canal boat loads of whiskey which he had sold were confiscated by a dishonest boat captain and sold in Detroit. So, in 1845, with many debts and not enough money, Witte was forced to sell the property to his friend John Gromme. For thirteen years Gromme tried to develop a dairy farm, but since he was primarily in the tanning business, in 1858 he sold the farm to John T. Brasee, a prominent lawyer and State Senator at the time. He became very intersted in farming. He had a family of eight children, who undoubtedly enjoyed riding over the hills and through the woods where Johnny Appleseed once planted apple trees along Zane's Trace (A gnarled survivor may still be seen).

Their nearby neighbors and friends, the Darius Tallmadge family were given, for the sum of one dollar, all the water they could use from the marvelous spring on this property and the right to lay wooden pipes to conduct water from said spring through Brasee's farm to the lands of Tallmadge adjacent to the east.

All of his eight children were talented and lively. His eldest daughter Ellen married Darius Tailmadge's son, Theodore, who became a well known attorney in Washington, D.C. His son John became a prominent member of the Lancaster bar, but the most colorful story is told of his youngest daughter Alice who had a romance with the son of my builder Augustus Witte. Young George Witte, who had gone to the Mexican War and afterwards settled in New Orleans, came to Lancaster to visit his oldest sister Cecilia Witte Mithoff (Augustus Mithoff in the meantime had purchased the neighboring Darius Tallmadge place) and met the beautiful and spirited Alice Brasee. They fell in love and he promised to come back and claim her for his bride. With the ring he gave her, she etched her name and the date - on the window of the widow's walk (where it can still be seen). When the day came for him to arrive by train for the wedding, young Alice went up to the widow's walk again and waved a large Confederate flag as the train passed nearby. Since this was just prior to the Civil War, this incident caused much consternation in the countryside. However, the wedding went on and soon the young couple departed for New Orleans to make their home. Unhappily, cluring the War, young Alice became ill and died. After the war, a trunk full of her beautiful clothes and mementos was sent back to her family.

During the Brasee's ownership of this house my name was changed to Concordia, the name of a Roman goddess denoting harmony.

In 1903 the property was sold to Mrs. Lucien B. Martin, whose grandson and heir is the great, great, great, grandson of Ebenezer Zane. Mrs. Martin had a portrait of Zane which hung in the parlor of the house as long as the Martins lived there. The Martins had come to Lancaster from their home in Martins Ferry to found a glass factory (later merged with Anchor Hocking). Before coming to Lancaster, Mr. Martin had been president of Fostoria Glass Company. The Martins were well educated, well traveled and affluent citizens. It has been alleged that a friend, who was a southern architect, had suggested to them that in the South such a fine residence was usually called a hall, and so they decided to change my name from Concordia to Concord Hall, and as such it has remained.

In some of her travels Mrs. Martin had been so fascinated with the Swiss custom of attaching bells to the collars of their cows, and the musical tinkling the various sized bells made as the dairy herds were grazing or coming down from the mountains, that she purchased a group of Swiss bells - one for each cow in their herd near Lancaster. For many years they were heard on my grounds, evoking pleasant memories and more practically, making it easier for the herdsman to round up the cows.

Mrs. Martin also was a great gardener. There was a rose garden bordered by huge snowball bushes which extended on both sides of a wide walk-way from the house back to a garden pergola at the edge of the woods. Many a festive dinner party was served at tables along this beautiful pathway.

But Philip Martin's sudden and tragic death changed all that. In 1948 Jack Martin, who had inherited Concord Hall from his grandmother decided to give up farming and move to California, so he sold it to Henry Peters, who two years later sold to Dr. and Mrs. Andrew Jamison. The Jamisons restored the house and lived there until 1954, when they sold it to the present owners, Dr. Robert and Dorothy Fox. Dr. Jamison was a native of South Carolina, and once again the house had some Confederate overtones, as Dr. Jamison hung a large portrait of General Robert E. Lee in the entrance hall.

While I have had kindly treatment from all of my owners, none have lavished more tender, loving care than the present ones. They have preserved all my historic features, repaired my fascinating barn (where many a square dance has been held) developed fine gardens, built riding trails around the acreage and through the woods. Oh, yes, I almost forgot to tell you that they also discovered a tunnel leading from the cellar of the house to a spot near the barn where it is presumed that prior to the Civil War run-away slaves were assisted in their way along the Underground Railroad. But best of all is the way the present owners share the beauty of their home with their many friends, associates, and organizations. Twice I have been on the Fairfield Heritage Pilgrimages. The first time, in 1965, young ladies in beautiful appropriate riding costumes rode side saddle around the grounds; and in 1975, the Rocky Fork Hunt Club staged a very exciting fox hunt. All seemed right at home.

I had one big fright when the Rt. 33 Bypass was first scheduled to go exactly in front of me which would have meant my demise, but thanks to being on the National Register of Historic Places, that tragedy was averted. Now I look forward to my next 150 years, for I am now as sound and certainly more beautiful than I've ever been!"

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Concord Hall

Friday, July 28, 2006

Clay Aiken and some more scrapbooking...... I wandered around some scrapbooking sites this morning and found some beautiful kits to download and downloaded one called "The Impossible Dream". The kit made me think of Clay and what has happened to him the past three years and what the future holds in store. It is "An Impossible Dream" and I am so happy to be along on the adventure with him. Here is a link to this great scrapbooking website:

Scrapbook Elements

Yesterday, Clay blogged about the tragedy of the displaced children of Lebanon affected by the current conflict. As an Ambassador for Unicef, Clay requested his fans consider donating to Unicef for the needs of these children. Check it out here.

Unicef Front Page with News of the Plight of Lebanonese Children

If, after consideration, you wish to contribute, here is a link to do so:

Donate to Unicef Specifically for Lebanon Children

As of this morning, Clay fans alone have contributed over $47,000 to this charity. This is a stupendous accomplishment in less than 24 hours and I am proud of everyone for stepping up to the plate. WTG, Claymates.

OK, enough of that....here are the two pages I did this morning.

The pictures were from a Joyful Noise 2005 concert I attended in Columbia, South Carolina last Christmas. The Christmas tours and Christmas music seem to bring a special joy to Clay's life, so I used them in the scrapbook pages.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Clay Photoshoots. Someone on my board posted some pic's from a photoshoot that I have always liked so I decided to used them in a scrapbooking challenge that utilized a quickframe. It's unbelievably easy to do these as you get a template and just add your pictures and embellishments. The gal setting up the challenge gives you a little kit that has the pieces and you can arrange them to suit yourself, changing colors and adding bits and pieces if you want. Here's what the pieces looked like before I got "creative". (delusional)
I then made the ribbon and the embellishment blue like Clay's shirt and borrowed a little piece of net from a beach scrapbooking kit. The color on the font was also borrowed from his shirt and curved a little to blend with the curve of the picture frame. So here is the final page.

I can't wait to see the new pictures from the photoshoot for the new album.....we should have the new "Hair".....hee.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Just wanted to add a new song to the jukebox. Don't know where it came from or how it got out on the internet. But it is. So, enjoy!!!!! Oh, and a picture to enjoy while you listen:

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Musing on Craft Projects - Someone on the message board I belong to made a joke about "going back to her knitting". It made me grin because the last couple of days I have been working on reducing my personal property for this move coming up and as I used to knit, her comment reminded me of my ordeal. I used to knit, but as of yesterday all I have left is an enormous collection of knitting needles and crochet hooks, etc. All of the misc. yarn was thrown out, except for one ball for the kitten who is in heaven.
My button making stuff went into a box, I might make more Clay buttons someday, my stamps I have been collecting because someday I want to learn how to use them in scrapbooking went into a box. (Psst....let's not forget I just discovered digital scrapbooking) 22 bottles of acrylic paint I bought at Michaels on sale cuz I liked the colors and they still are, after all, never opened...went into a box. Glue gun, jar of buttons, etc. all went in a box. This is all important stuff.

Then I pull out the boxes labeled "counted cross stitch". My sister was the cross stitcher in the family, she could produce fully completed works of art, framed and ready to hang on the wall in a weeks time. I guess it was a competition, or something, because I kept buying kits and "trying" to get something finished. I have never hung a piece of work on the wall, nor completed anything useful other than a couple of bookmarks. I have every color of thread imaginable, all sorted and saved in little plastic baggies on a ring. So, I decide to go through all the bags of stuff. See, my MO was to buy a kit or pattern & yarn and keep the project in the original bag from the store. I have bags that are crumbling from age. There are several bags from a wonderful little cross stitching store I found in NJ when I lived there. Bags and bags of unfinished potential "art"....and I mean REALLY unfinished, like I did 25 cross stitches and put it back in the "bag".

What to do with all this?? Why do I keep it? I can't throw it out, I just can't. So, I grab one clean box and start to go through the various layers. Hmmm, my grandson's first bedroom decoration was Winnie the Pooh and I actually did one whole corner of this one. He's now six and into Dinosaurs and skateboards. Out with Winnie. Kept all the needles, hoops (yes, a lot of the bags had a hoop, when I was done I kept 10 different sizes and shapes of hoops and one set of stretcher bars) unopened cross stitch material, pattern books. And, I think about 15 unfinished kits and/or projects ended up in my clean, fresh, box. There were several (very small) finished "works of art" which also ended up in the keeper box.

I came upon my mom's counted cross stitch materials. Why this debris ended up in my car instead of the garage sale is a complete mystery to me. Kept the great magnifying glass, tossed all the old yarns, etc. The only project I kept was this enormous bell pull she had completed but never hung on the bars. I never will finish it either, it is olive and gold...and yes, it was probably stitched in the 70's!! But she worked at it for a long, long, long time. She hardly ever finished any of her cross stitching projects, either. It's a good thing I have a son, I would hate for this neurosis to affect a third generation.

All done, marked the box "Counted Cross Stitch" and put it back in the closet. Hey, I went from three boxes to one. It's progress....of a sort.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

I've been kind of taking a break from the message boards and blogging the last couple of weeks. In addition, my internet has been up and down for a week and I just know I will lose something once I get started. Plus, I don't have much to say, which is unusual for me. I can usually be counted on to have an opinion on just about anything.

Did do a couple of scrapbooking challenges. The first one was to do one about a nature subject so I put together this one about the Black Chinned Hummingbirds that frequent my feeders.

I learned a new technique the other day that I incorporated in the hummer picture. A site called Photoshopelementsuser.com has some tutorials that are useful. In fact, although it is kind of pricy at $49 a year, I think I might join for the premium version as they have a scrapbooking section. Anyway, I had a picture of my DIL and GD. One had a purple dress and the other a turquoise blouse. I looked for a paper that worked with the clothing and couldn't come up with anything I liked. So I tried to change the colors of the clothes to match a paper and that worked for the blouse, but the dress was a mess. Then I wandered into the aforementioned site and discovered how to motion blur and radial blur a picture so that you got an abstract "paper" that you could use as a background. It worked great.

That is what I did on the hummer picture, as well. The background is just the big picture of the hummer blurred. Kinda cool, Huh?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Since Clay and Ruben attended Kelly's concert in Raleigh the other night, I thought I would do my monthly color challenge to commemorate the event. I love that Clay, Kelly and Ruben have remained friends - I suspect having AI as their common bond will keep them friends.....they alone understand what the experience and aftermath have been like. It is a shame their fan bases can't just give up the battle....it certainly has not affected Clay, Kelly and Ruben's friendship so just give it up already. OK, rant over.

The colors we were to use:

I managed to get all the colors in my layout, but disregarded the pinkish one. The picture of Kelly and Clay in my scrapbook page was taken at Sea World and the one of Clay and Ruben was an AP picture. The large picture of Clay was taken by FanofAiken who was in attendance at the concert. Clay and Ruben are usually referred to as the Cluben by fans on message boards and those of us who like the idea of Clay and Kelly as a couple often refer to them as the Clelly.

Click twice to make scrapbook page larger

Edited to Add:
Here is a link to a great video of Clay and Ruben from the AI2 concert.

And this clip is Clay and Kelly on ET just before the Independent Tour started up. Very funny video.

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Monday, July 03, 2006

My scrapbooking challenge for the day was to create a top ten list with one picture and a list, so here's what I came up with:

Click to enlarge picture.
I always do the challenges without looking at what other people post....then I go and look at the others and slap myself silly wondering "Why I didn't think of doing that". I'm really NOT creative at all. But, it's fun to play around and I am wondering what all the scrapbookers are thinking of my Clay Aiken scrapbook pages. I HAVE gotten the most comments on the Clay pages, now that I think about it. Positive comments about Clay. It's not just us, LOL.

Most of the digital scrapbooking sites have these little challenges, but I have been spending the most time at Gotta Pixel See the link in my sidebar for access to a bunch of sites you can visit. Look for the "freebies", it's a good way to get started

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

My Clay offering for the day is another album page for my scrapbook. This one was made with a template kit I downloaded. For the life of me, I could not make templates work the way they did the last time I tried this....but I finally figured it out by doing something completely different. The striped paper is called "dad's old shirt", that sure fits, I think dad DID have one like that. The picture in the center is by one very talented "Permaswooned". Thanks!!!

So I made my prediction of news this week by a hair...Friday afternoon, I was sweating it. It's a contest, to guess the acronym for the album title for Clay's new album and if you read between the lines.....it seems we'll have some news in the next couple of weeks. It should go fast now....as the song says -

Could it be? Yes, it could.
Something's coming, something good,
If I can wait!
Something's coming, I don't know what it is,
But it is
Gonna be great!

I'm sure I've said it before, but I'll chance repeating myself - Clay Aiken is a consumate risk taker...whatever is coming our way is indeed going to be "different" and as such, very Clay. So far every thing he has done has been part of the evolution of Clay Aiken. Which is the theme of the scrapbook page, I suppose....perhaps I should put the word "Evolution" on the page. What do you think?

Off to do some more scrapbooking. I'm in the mood today and I have another set of templates to try out.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

How about a Clay project while we wait? Come on in, kids - it's Arts and Crafts time. As background, I used to have a space in an antique mall - just 8X14, it was a hobby store, I never made any money but it allowed me to go to garage sales and purchase items without guilt....cuz they were for the "store". LOL. I picked up some vintage sheet music from time to time and using old frames I found, framed the sheet music AND actually sold them! I did quite of few of these with old frames I had picked up.

A year or so ago I discovered there was such a thing as sheet music for Clay's music....with great pictures, so I bought a couple and framed them in a more contemporary fashion - it's easy to do and not expensive.

First of all, get your sheet music online. You may find it locally in a music store, as well. If you google sheet music Clay Aiken you will get a lot of hits. I have used - www.sheetmusicplus.com with good results, but there are lots of others out there. The music will cost $3-$6 based on where you get it.

Now, to frame it yourself, you can just plop it into a ready made 9X12 frame...if you can find one. This is the hard part. When I was doing the vintage ones, my frames were all different sizes and the sheet music is usually 9X12, so I mounted the music on top of various mats I then cut to fit the frame. I discovered Michael's has a pre-cut mat to go over the music(only in black)that has an opening of 9X12 which fits a frame 12X16 - again, a frame size hard to find...but Michaels has one that works well. It's black metal with clips to hold the picture in. The great thing about Michael's is that if you wait.....it will eventually be on sale for 50% off. I bought a couple of extras for when the next album comes out I am sure there will be sheet music for the songs. And my frames will match.

Here's a couple of (bad) pics of the two I currently have hanging. The pic's are bad because the room is dark and I had to use flash. LOL. Anyway, should give you an idea. Each of these, with the frames and mat being on sale and including the sheet music cost about $15.00 to put together. Of course, you can always clip the Michael's coupon for 50% off framing and have them do it for you, with unique matting and frames, but it will cost a whole lot more. And, this is arts and crafts 101, LOL.

Michael's, for those of you who don't have one is an arts and crafts store that has lots and lots of frames for DIY as well as professional framing available.


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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Some Clay memories and other musings.....I've taken a few days away from posting on the boards and doing blogs but today I am feeling an anticipation that news will finally be forthcoming. I think this is the week we will hear something about the new album and possibly some appearance dates or tour information. I can't wait to see this guy on my TV again....

and in concert, where he absolutely glows.

Perhaps after the news hits I can go back to my home board where some members, with no new hairdos to discuss, have been picking on other musical artists. Oh, they couch the rhetoric in line with the rules of the board, ie, "It is my opinion that Taylor Hicks is full of himself." Well, he may very well be, but I found him entertaining on the show and he did win, so I cut him a lot of slack. The proof will be in the pudding...err, the sales. You know, it's fine not to like other artists, but I'm confused why it seems to be so common to repeat over and over how irratated other artists make you feel - as in, "OMG, I just saw that Taylor Hicks Ford commercial for the third time tonight". Then 10 minutes later, "OMG, I just saw that Taylor Hicks Ford commercial for the fourth time tonight, when will this ever end????"

LOL, good for Taylor. By the time I saw the commercial I was predisposed to dislike it intensely, but I thought it was cute and found my self totally baffled by the dislike. Well, whatever. Taylor will be successful, or not...it depends on how hard he works, how much his fans and record label support him and in the end it has nothing to do with Clay's career, so I'm not bothering to angst over every little Taylor appearance.

Sure, we are all fans of Clay Aiken, but I think we are allowed to like other musical artists. And, I would prefer to talk about those I like, not those I don't particularly care for. For example, I'm a huge Keith Urban fan - didn't he look yummy at his wedding?

I discovered Keith because of Clay, I've written about this before. I was doing Rate the Music and they sent me a special poll on this guy I had never heard of. I listened to "You'll Think of Me", googled Keith Urban and that was that. I've been to a couple of Keith's concerts here in Phoenix, one in Indianapolis last summer in conjunction with The Jukebox Tour and then I saw him in Boise and Missoula, Mt last fall. Here is a picture I took in Boise.

Keith's concerts are extremely energetic, not country at all, in my opinion. Keith is now working on his next album.....well, I expect to hear some great love songs, don't ya think???

Another one of my favorite artists for years and years is Harry Connick, Jr.

Gee, that hairdo looks familiar, doesn't it??

I have quite a few of his albums and need to go pick up his latest, which is a double album including the cast album for The Pajama Game, which is Harry's first broadway musical role and a second disc with songs from Thou Shalt Not - Harry's first attempt at writing for the stage. Since I am a fan of both Harry and Broadway musicals, I'm sure I will enjoy the album.

Nor do I want to leave out someone I found on Promosquad, again...all the fault of one Mr. Aiken. Jared Lee has no album out to date, but I think his music is wonderful, he is wonderful on the eyes and I think and hope we will hear this young man someday soon. Check him out here:

Jared also has a my space account where you can hear several of his songs:

So, those are my thoughts today as I, along with thousands of other Clay fans, await news.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I'm my own sixth cousin. Yes, it's true. I have to come clean and admit it. And, I guess while I am fessing up......the ancestors who caused this relationship ..... me to myself, that is.......came from West Virginia. As today is West Virginia Day, I thought I would share my WV roots.

Now, most of us know that cousins are children of siblings. Second cousins would then be the offspring of the 1st set of cousins. And third cousins the offspring of second cousins, etc. So, in order to be my OWN cousin, somewhere up the line cousins (of some degree) would have had to have gotten married.

Yes, my great great grandfather, Ebenezer Martin married his second cousin. Now, it was a long time ago and there weren't too many people in West Virginia and Ohio in 1832 when they were married....well, heck, Minerva Zane was actually Ebenezer's 2nd wife....he married his 1st wife in 1811 and she was his 1st cousin (and Minerva's aunt), once removed....a sorta cousin and a half, LOL. I know, I know, the removed muddies the water a bit, what the heck is removed. The "removed" just means how many generations removed from the cousinship. So, if Joe and Pete are second cousins, Joe's children are second cousins once removed to Pete. Got it?

Come to think of it, Ebenezer Martin's mother was a Zane....oh, grief...I think I am my own grandpa, or something.

It was a long time ago and hopefully the gene pool has been diluted by Ebenezer's children marrying people from Wales and England and Germany....I think I'm ok, really. Honestly, I am.

I have been collecting family history information for years and the Zane/Martin connection is the most interesting as it is part of the history of West Virginia and Ohio. To keep all my information for posterity I have started a website and while it is under construction and I don't want to share it all yet, I can offer up a link to my page on the family of Zanes where two of the brothers (Ebenezer & Jonathan)were my direct ancestors. I am proud to be descended from these West Virginian's as well as old Ebenezer Martin across the river in Martins Ferry Ohio, whose mother was Ebenezer Zane's eldest daughter. I'm sure you have it all straight now. Good.

There are lots of internet links in the web page to take you to source documents and/or articles if you are so inclined.
Martin Family History - the Zanes

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day!!! My dad passed away in 1983 and I miss him very much. He was a quiet man and all my brothers seem to have acquired that trait, as well as some of the grandsons. We women are all chatterboxes. Dad was an only child (of an only child) and as a result, probably spoiled a little, well probably a lot! He had a great childhood, went to Culver Military Academy as a teenager and was headed off to Annapolis (I still have his appointment letter) when his grandfather died, his father died and then his grandmother. One after another. Annapolis never happened and dad became a "gentleman" farmer. The house I was born in, in Lancaster, Ohio actually had a name - "Concord Hall". My great-grandparents purchased the house in 1903 and my folks sold it for a pittance in 1949 as they had decided to relocate to California. One day I will blog about the house as it has an interesting history.

Once we finally settled in Crescent City, California (See an earlier blog about my parents first trip before I was born) my dad bought the Western Auto Store and while my elder three siblings were raised to dress for dinner and speak when spoken to, my life was a lot easier. Dad had been married to what my mom called a "society girl" before he married my mom. However, mom was one of 12 farm kids born in a real working farm. Living at Concord Hall with my grandmother, who had some rigid "rules" on behavior must have been difficult for her.

My folks bought a nice house on 20 acres in the country and when not running the store dad could be found riding his John Deere tractor around, cutting grass, plowing, etc. Still, and always, the gentleman farmer.

I've been scanning old pictures for posterity and added a couple of scrapbooking pages to my collection. In Dad's memory:

Click (twice) to increase to full size

I'll be doing more pages as I go along with the scanning and improve my scrapbooking and photoshop skills.

Hope everyone has a nice Fathers Day.

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