Showing posts from 2011

Goodbye, 2011.

It was a very good year. Lots of things happened that we prayed for, some things were gifts from God that we didn't even know we needed and some prayers were wisely denied by God. He certainly knows His stuff!

We will ring in the New Year with a jam session at the home of Dianna Ford, musician and singer extraordinaire, with a lot of our Bluegrass friends. Usually, Larry is booked for New Year's Eve, and we haven't been able to spend the time with friends as much as we would like. That will change this year, and we're really looking forward to it.

Reflecting on 2011, we had some ups:
I finally was published in one of my fave magazines, Cloth, Paper, Scissors and shipped off my book to the publisher;
and downs: Phil Cox, singer/songwriter/guitarists for Sorghum Hill was working in Nebraska, a far cry from Tennessee. He's home now, and Sorghum Hill and Andi Nash and the Ramblers will continue to entertain their fans, only a lot more often!

Here's wishing you a …

Just a little more Christmas...

I am not ready for Christmas to end, even though I will begin removing the decorations today. I love the spirit of Christmas, the gathering of friends and families, the fun of selecting, wrapping and opening gifts and the soft glow of Christmas evening when it's all over. Even the hustle and bustle of last-minute shopping is different from any other time of the year. The Christmas spirit that pervades the atmosphere, especially around 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve, an hour before all the stores close, is magical. You hear strangers wishing each other a Merry Christmas and everyone smiles at everyone and there is a peace in the air that can hardly be described. I just love it.
This particular December has been the best we have enjoyed in many years. There were parties every weekend, six in the last week alone, and lots of visiting with old friends, especially my BFFF (Best Family of Friends Forever), Linda, Ronnie, Charlotte, Debbie and Judy Gordon, whose home was the center of my teena…

A Blast from the Past

Do you remember the macaroni necklaces we all made at Vacation Bible School and summer camp? I sure do. We carefully colored all the little curved pieces and then strung them on a string. I would take mine home to my mother, who would wear it proudly to church the following Sunday.

Pasta as a decoration has come full circle. With all the fabulous, fun shapes available now, there's no limit to what you can create. That's why the Second Annual Holiday Noodle Party is hitting the 'net.

This little addition was not my creation, although I wish it had been. My cousin, the extremely talented Linda McCaskill, made these years ago, and I had a set of six. This is the only one remaining, and I have cared for it lovingly, storing it in a cotton-filled tin to protect the sweet little bow-tie pasta wings. Every year it has a place of honor at eye-level on my tree.

So here's to you, Linda! I love your work and I love you.

To see more pasta creations, see the list of links on Eileen Hul…

Do, do, do lookin' out my back door

There was a mention of a "wintery mix" in the forecast for this morning. Wintery Mix translation in the South: rain and maybe, just maybe, a little sleet. Imagine my surprise when I awoke to find close to 2" of snow on the ground. It was a perfect snow, however: Beautiful on the lawns, fields, trees and rooftops, but not a trace on the roads. That's my kind o'snow!

It had already started blowing off the trees and rooftops when I snapped this pic from my studio, although it was a nice wet snow with great packability.

Hubby had to go to the recording studio today, so I'm all alone, and you know what that means: I'm going to turn on my tiny space heater that keeps my tootsies warm, crank up the Christmas music, bake some yummy yeast bread and be highly creative today, even if I'm just doing a little artful re-arranging in my studio!

Here's a nice shot I made of Sam, the Wonder Lab as well. I think he's trying to figure out why I keep pointing this…

Steampunk, the Sock Monk

Caution: This is NOT a toy!

It's time for another Designer Crafts Connection Challenge, and this month, I am out of my comfort zone. I never had a sock monkey as a child, never created one for my child, and the only fact I knew about them is that they were made from Red Heel socks. However, I do love a challenge.

This challenge was conceived and sponsored by Ana Araujo of When Creativity Knocks. Ana has a new DVD, Sock Monkeys Go BanAnas, a wonderful instructional video which walks you right through the steps to create this icon of American crafting.

Our monkey kits included a pair of Original Rockford Red Heel socks, Ana's DVD, Rit® Brand Dye and a precious little sock monkey stamp from Judikins.

Be sure to see all the sock monkeys by clicking on the Designer Craft Connections button at left to hop forward or backward.
You can enter to win your own Sock Monkey prize package valued at over $40!

Here's what one lucky reader will receive:

• Sock Monkeys Go BanAnas WCK VideoBook

I Love Autumn!

I just walked outside and realized that this may be the perfect autumn day. There's a little nip in the air and a little breeze, but the sun is warm and everything is so full of color. We're expecting thunderstorms this week, so most of the color may be gone by the end of the week. That's why I love having my digital camera to record these moments without worrying about the number of photos I take or number of prints I need to store. Plus, there's that whole instant gratification thing.

I also love the new Fall Digital Scrapbook Kit from Duetica Lettering Arts Studio which is being unveiled this week. It has several papers and textures, plus ribbons, buttons and a really cute scarecrow. I used it to create this two-page layout documenting a recent trip we made to the wine country of Missouri.

Be sure click the Designer Crafts Connection button on the left to hop over the entire Designer Crafts Connection bloghop which features autumn-inspired projects, and be sure to g…

Being Thankful

One of the things we overlook in this country is just how awesome we have it. We don't have religious persecution (except by the nut cases who are against any sort of religion and don't shut up until someone notices them), most of us are well-fed and we set up food and shelter for those who aren't, we can pursue our own dreams without being told what to do with our lives and can come and go as we please. This is a far cry from the people in our world who are under a dictators' thumb and have to scramble to find the least morsel of food; those who are afraid to speak for fear of death; women oppressed by a society that doesn't even recognize that they are of more value than being baby machines; and societies where girl-children are unwanted.

Good grief! How did I open my post with such depressing thoughts? Those of you who know me also know that the topics of the first paragraph are not something you normally hear out of my mouth.

That being said, I want to introduce …

Halloween or Mardi Gras?

Welcome to another Sizzix Blog Hop, featuring the fabulous designs of Eileen Hull. This week's Scoreboard die is a vase with an enclosed bottom. You know I can't just make a vase. I have to have something over the top and I think this mask fits the occasion.

There are lots of other bloggers in this hop, so be sure to click on the Fresh Vintage Blog Hop button on the left to see some amazing creations.

I ran across this mask last week at Dollar Tree. It was originally deep red with gold glitter along the eyes and cheeks. A coat of Krylon Black Matte paint made it perfect for my project.

Here's how I made this:


Sizzix ScoreBoards XL Die - Vase, 3-D (657125)

Sizzix Texture Plate


Viva Décor Inka Gold, Gold

Viva Décor Precious Metal Color, Silver

Viva Décor Glitter Liners, Red, Gold, Silver

Viva Décor Pearl pen, Ice White

Beaded Trim, 10"

Swarovski Crystal Beads and Pendant

Beading Wire

Sookwang Crafters' Double Side Tape

Red feathers

Face Mask (Dollar Tree)

Krylon M…

It's Blog Hopping Time Again!

It's time for another Designer Crafts Connection Blog Hop and this one uses three of my favorite products: Westcott Brand ® Cutting Tools, Duck Brand® Duct Tape and Velcro® Brand Hook and Loop Fasteners.

Westcott is sponsoring a giveaway: To win a fantastic Deluxe Assortment of Westcott Cutting Tools, go to and leave a comment to win prior to November 1st (actual prize package may vary slghtly, US residents only please). You can also get an extra chance to win by leaving a comment about the hop on the Westcott Facebook Fan Page.

I once knew a photographer who said he could build anything if he had matboard, masking tape and an Xacto knife. Well, I'm here to tell you that by adding the products I received from these three companies, I could easily rule the universe. Seriously. Well, maybe not rule the universe, but I could certainly decorate it.

Don't forget to click on the Designer Crafts…

Better late than never...

I remembered to post that there was Sizzix Blog Hop beginning today, but I thought I was not supposed to post until next week. Boy, do I have egg on my face!

Anyway, the featured die this week is Eileen Hull's versatile Sizzix ScoreBoards XL Die - Album,one of my all-time favorite dies. This album has a cover, a pretty scalloped edge binding and a very nice nameplate. You need to make two cuts to get both covers, but this turned out to be my pushing the envelope idea.I am usually very frugal with my mat board scraps, but was in such a hurry today that I mistakenly cut the entire plate twice rather than the entire plate plus the back cover once more. The two binding edges were laying with one overlapping the other and -Bingo!- I realized I could make a wider width album just by inverting and adding the second binding.

I have been preparing class kits for some classes I will be teaching for Viva Décor at the Collins Group Fall Education and Trade Show in Houston in October, so Viva pr…

Another Sizzix Blog Hop!

Our good friends at Sizzix have organized a new Blog Hop to feature the Fresh Vintage Designs by Eileen Hull. Over the next six weeks, we'll be posting designs made with her mat board-cutting dies.
Have I mentioned how much I love these dies? I will have a post here next week with a tutorial, so be sure to check back.
In the meantime, be sure to click on the Fresh Vintage button on the left to hop to another blog in this great adventure!

Well, it's about time.....

"I'll report tomorrow."

Famous last words. I didn't report tomorrow, or the next day or the next. I have been frantically searching for my camera since Sept. 10, so I could post photos and report on the Fork and Talk event by Craft Gossip in Little Rock. It finally appeared this morning, hiding in the black hole that is my travel purse. I had only looked there about ten times, so black hole is the only possible explanation.

Melony Bradley and I left Memphis around 9 a.m. and headed west. It was a gorgeous day and with all our jibber-jabbering, the two-hour trip seemed like 15 minutes.

When we arrived in Little Rock, we were 30 minutes ahead of schedule. That's when we got out our Mapquest directions. Mistake. Big Mistake.

While we were trying to figure out where we were in regards to our exit, we saw the name of the street we were looking for on a big green interstate sign, congratulated ourselves on our savvy navigation and headed off on an adventure. That's wha…

Little Riock, here we come!

Melony Bradley and I are off on a road trip to the first ever Craft Gossip Bloggers' meet-up, where we'll meet four of the editors from Craft Gossip, have lunch at Trios and participate in a group project. I have no idea what to expect, but know that with this group, it will be fun.
I'll report tomorrow....

It's that time again....

...Time for the Designer Crafts Connection Blog Hop, that is!
Our theme for September is Celebrations. If you have a celebration coming soon in your life, you can probably grab the perfect idea from this hop and make either copy it or atler it to make it your own. The design professionals on this blog hop are some of the best in the business. To see more, just press the Designer Crafts Connection button to the left and hop forward or backward to the next blog.
Be sure to go to Julie McGuffee's Blog to see how you can win A DVD set of the new TV show, Scrapbook Soup, Series 100.

! went to the Creating Keepsakes event in Nashville a few weeks ago and came home with much more than I left with...or needed, but the sight of beautiful papers and gorgeous embellishments gets me every time. It didn't help that I was with my enabler buddy Barbara Rankin. We are a disaster waiting to happen when we attend these events. If she doesn't find something unique that I must have, I find it an…

Charity Auction on ebay

Back in July I created this piece for the Summer Craft and Hobby Association show using Westcott scissors and trimmers, Duck Brand X-Factor Duck Tape and Velcro fasteners. One thing that made it so easy for me was the new Duck Tape sheets (These are available at Target) which make covering a larger area pretty simple. The frame contains a quote about animals, and there is an additional removable frame on the band, which wraps around the larger piece. You can replace either image very quickly, and the larger opening holds an 8" x 10" photo. The smaller is approximately 3" x 4", although I can't imagine why you would want to replace the small photo. That is my pup Pete, The Speckle-butted Monster, who is now 13, one year older than the life expectancy for a Dalmation. Pete had a stroke last week that affected his gait and balance, but he is much better now and bouncing around with his buddy Sam, the Wonder Lab.

You can own this one-of-a-kind frame and make a diffe…

Elegant but Easy!

Here is my entry for the Designer Crafts Connection August Blog Hop featuring one of my favorite techniques,embossing.

The card base is a Sizzix die, Card A2 with Decorative Edge, designed by Brenda Pinnick. I just love this die. It is perfect for cards, of course, but wouldn't this make a pretty banner?

Be sure to hop over to Julie McGuffee's blog and leave a comment on which technique you liked the best,
which one one are going to try and, which one was the most unique for a chance to win a set of punches( see my earlier post on this). They will be given away on August 15, so don't fool around and forget.

Here's how I made this:
Sizzix die and Big Shot (Card A2 with Decorative Edge designed by Brenda Pinnick)
Sizzix Big Shot
Cuttlebug embossing template and machine (
Viva Décor Violet paper Soft Color (
Viva Décor Inka Gold, Old Silver
Cardstock, one sheet, Violet
Thick Mulberry paper, white 5" X 6"
Offray ribbon, 18"
Sponge Dau…

Designer Crafts Connection Hop

Well, it's the first Monday of the month and that means it's time for another blog hop with a great group of designers.

Click on the button on the left of the screen to hop from blog to blog to see the amazing designs.

I will be posting a new project today as soon as my camera battery gets a full charge. I left it charging last night (I thought), but didn't have the battery pushed completely into the unit. Oh, the joys of technology!

Be sure to leave a comment on Julie McGuffee's blog for a chance to win a selection of punches. Just let Julie know:
• which technique you liked the best,
• which one you are going to try and
• which one was the most unique.

The winner will be announced on August 15th.

I hope you have a wonderful week and get lots of time to make art.

Now, go hug someone you love. I've already hugged my hubby this morning, so I think I will pay a visit to the backyard to hug Pete, the Speckle-butted Monster, and Sam, the Wonder Lab.

Morning at Windham Acres

I woke up at 6 a.m., which is rare for a retiree, but Larry was supposed to play golf at 7. His buddies called at 6 to cancel because of the storms. I couldn't go back to sleep, and now I'm glad I didn't.

I was making breakfast when I glanced out the kitchen window and saw this beautiful hawk sitting on our fence. There was a little bit of sun shining on his feathers when I first saw him that made him look like copper. By the time I got the camera and set it, the sun had gone back behind the clouds. I eased into my studio, which has sliding glass doors so I wouldn't have to shoot through a window screen. I barely got this shot when the mockingbird you can barely see at left of the hawk, attacked and chased him away. She must have had a nest nearby and was protecting her babies. The birdhouse on the left has three baby bluebirds, and mama bluebird was watching as well.

Our property goes back into the woods visible in the photo for about 250 yards. We usually mow the past…

My First Gardenia

I have loved Gardenias since I was a child. My Granny had a big Gardenia bush in her front yard, and my sister and would wait impatiently every summer for the waxy blooms to appear. I thought that bush was six feet tall, but know now that it was because I was less than four feet tall at the time.

The scent of Gardenias is a heavy, heady aroma, and just a tiny whiff transports me back to the '50s to 291 Oklahoma in South Memphis.

I have tried to grow Gardenias several times with no luck. I planted this bush last spring, watered patiently, watched incessantly, but no blooms.

This bush is planted just outside our fence in the side yard. I have always watered it from the backside of the fence, which is the reason I didn't even see the bud for this bloom. I was so happily surprised to discover it yesterday!

Of course I had to make a digital page about it for my Summer of 2011 book. Here's how I did it:

Duetica Lettering Arts Studio Software, Font: Mandolyn (www.duetica.…

God Bless America!

I am so thankful to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, and to be a descendant of men who loved their country enough to risk their lives. My father, Jack Cofer, and his brothers, James, Mitchell, Frank and Earl, were all in the military. Earl, the youngest, paid the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam. He was a career soldier and loved the military life. They are all descendants of a Revolutionary War soldier.

Larry's Aunt Wille was also a soldier, packing parachutes at Ft. Oglethorp during WWII.

Today, I salute all the men and women who serve our country in the military. Many of them are far from home this Independence day, but you know they are thinking of the wonderful celebration we are having here in the USA.

Every time I see a man or woman in military clothing, I make sure to thank them for their service. It's not much, but their sacrifice makes my freedom possible, and I am eternally grateful.

Now, go hug a soldier!

Designer Crafts Connection

Although I'm not participating in this blog hop for July, be sure to hop forward or backward using the Designer Crafts Connection button at left. You can see some gorgeous creations by a really talented group of designers and register to win a great prize package.
Good Luck!

Presto, Pesto!

Several weeks ago, I started some Basil seeds indoors, thinking that they probably wouldn't germinate since they were packed for 2007. Boy, was I wrong! I had Basil running out my ears. I gave away a lot of it, but still have six pots on my deck, with four plants in each pot.

My problem was that I knew I could flavor vinegar with it and use it in salads, but I had waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much. My dear friend Jan Stone suggested I make pesto. I had never had pesto but searched the internet for a quick and easy recipe. This is the one I used:

Fresh Basil Pesto
Prep time: 10 minutes

• 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
• 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
• 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
• 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• Special equipment needed: A food processor

NOTE: I found another recipe that said to chop everything by hand to really be able to separate all the wonderful flavo…

Good Morning, Sunshine!

This beautiful Day Lily greeted me Tuesday morning when I walked out the front door to water my plants. I immediately snapped a photo and headed to the computer. I posted it on Facebook, then decided that wasn't enough to do justice to this glorious bloom. It was begging for a digital scrapbook page of it's own, so I obliged.

Here's how I made my page:
Duetica Lettering Arts Studio Software, Saxi Font (
Adobe Photoshop and InDesign Software (
Digital camera

1. Set headline type in DT Saxi font. Save as a png file.

2. Open a 12” X 12” layout in Photoshop and the file of your photo.

3. Select a 3” x 4” portion of your photo. Copy and paste repeatedly into the 12" x 12" layout to fill the layer. Flatten the entire image. Don’t worry if the edges are a little off.

4. Select the entire pattern portion of your layout. Go to Filters, emboss and adjust the pattern to your liking. Crop to a 10” x 10” image, centering the images, and save as…

Is it Copying?

I ran across a great article by Rice Freeman-Zachary entitled You Already Know the Answer today that talks about what I have been thinking for a long time. The article is clear and concise and points out a lot of ideas that have come to be accepted as common practice.

When I first started writing this blog entry, I went off on a tangent about someone who was taking classes at one scrapbook store, then teaching the same class at another.I got a little heated up, so decided to delete all that and ask you to read this wonderful article.

I hope you're having a wonderful Friday, that you stay cool and have the best weekend ever!

Now, go hug someone you love.

Designer Craft Connection-June Edition

Welcome to another monthly edition of the Designer Craft Connection. If you click on the DC logo to the left, you can hop from blog to blog and see all the wonderful patriotic-themed projects from this talented group of designers. Be sure to check out Julie McGuffee's blog for info on registering to win the great prize that will be given away later this month, The Big Book of Scrapbook Pages and Cherish by Jeanette R. Lynton. You only have to leave a comment on Julie's blog telling her which project you liked best and why as well as which technique you liked the best.

Note: I have been experiencing some problems this morning with my links, so you may have to copy and paste the websites into your browser to get to them.

I come from a long line of patriots, dating back to the Revolutionary War. I love using red, white and blue in my work, but you will rarely see pure colors. I prefer the aged look of Navy blue, burgundy and cream colors, all mixed up with a lot of brown.

This ta…

An Unexpected Visitor

Isn't it funny how things happen that you never expect? After much rattling of paper (Translation: destroying half of a parent sheet), I found this guy in my studio one morning. He was wedged between the wall and a file cabinet where I store large pieces of paper and mat board. I have no idea how he got in. He had to come through a door opening in my studio or else he managed to disguise himself and walk straight through the living, kitchen and dining room, then hop down two steps to get to his destination. I can't imagine that I left a sliding glass door open long enough for him to crawl in then hide. None the less, he managed it somehow.

I wish I had snapped a photo when I first found him, rather than in the flower bed that I placed him in at the front of our house. He was very big, probably 5-6" wide and 7-8" long. If I had placed him in the back yard, the dogs would have had a field day with their new "toy".

Here's how I made this digital scrapbook p…