Monday, October 31, 2011

A Trick Or Treat Message From Me...

(getting up onto my soapbox)

Halloween is a fun holiday for me.  I can't wait for it to get dark each October 31 so that I can switch on my outside light and wait for all the cute ghosts and goblins to knock on my door and yell "trick or treat", "guess what I am", "hi", or whatever comes into their tiny little heads at that moment.

However, please note:  if you are in middle school, you are TOO DAMN OLD to be trick or treating.  You may think you are being funny and cute, but you're not.  Trick or treat, in my opinion, is for the little ones.  It is a rite of passage just like you had once.

I've got nothing against you dressing in a costume and having a good time.  Why don't you stay home and help your mom pass out Halloween treats?  Or, better yet, have a costume party with your friends.  Just leave the actual door to door trick or treating to the little ones who will someday follow in your footsteps and will need a good example to follow.

It's awkward and it's hard to leave that part of your life behind; I certainly understand that.  But it's also the right thing to do.

(stepping off my soapbox now)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Great Songs With a Halloween Theme: "Thriller"

"Thriller" by Michael Jackson

Well, it's the mother of all Halloween songs.  How can you go wrong with zombies, incredible dancing, and Vincent Price all in the same song?  Of course, Michael Jackson, too.

The creaking door and footsteps that go from ear to ear when you listen to it--so very cool.  And hearing Vincent Price say the words "the funk of 40,000 years" just cracks me up!

Listen, remember, dance, sing along, and enjoy!

"The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom

And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller..."

10/27/11--Raised Side Market Basket With Braided Rim

In the two pictures below this post are my completed project from basket making class last night 10/27/11.  The pattern is a Raised Side Market Basket with Braided Rim.  It was the first time I had ever done a braided rim, and it really takes some concentration.  I would like to do another braided rim basket just to "confirm" what I learned making this basket.

Detail view of rim

Wow, look at that messy office!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Be a Light In a Child's Life This Christmas

I used to send these adorable cards for my Christmas cards every year.  The cards are created by children who are or have been patients at James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, a place filled with angels who work very hard to save lives and make futures for very ill children.  This is a place where, truly, miracles happen. We are lucky to have such a place in our wonderful state.

Each card comes (on the back of the card) with a short biography of the child who created it. And at a price of 10 cards for $8.00, these holiday greetings are very affordable.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Just In That Kind of a Mood Today...

Christopher Robin and I walked along
under branches lit up by the moon.
Posing our questions to Owl and Eeyore
as our days disappeared all too soon.
But I've wandered much further today than I should
and I can't seem to find my way back to the wood.

So, help me if you can I've got to get
back to the House at Pooh Corner by one.
You'd be surprised there's so much to be done,
count all the bees in the hive,
chase all the clouds from the sky.
Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh.

Winnie the Pooh doesn't know what to do,
got a honey jar stuck on his nose.
He came to me asking help and advice
and from here no one knows where he goes.

So I sent him to ask of the Owl if he's there,
how to loosen a jar from the nose of a bear

So, help me if you can I've got to get
back to the House at Pooh Corner by one
You'd be surprised there's so much to be done,
count all the bees in the hive,
chase all the clouds from the sky .
Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh,
back to the days of Christopher Robin,
back to the ways of Pooh.

Lyrics to Return To Pooh Corner / Kenny Loggins, 1970

Monday, October 24, 2011

This Is What I'll Be Doing April 14, 2012...

I did this for the first time last year (thanks, Kelly and Kris, for talking me into it!).  There is no better way to wake up on a spring Saturday morning and walk in honor of those who have lost their valiant battle with this horrible disease, and to celebrate those who have persevered over this evil enemy.  All have fought the good fight and the Challenge is a great way to show your appreciation and respect.

Hoping the weather is a bit nicer in 2012(!), but I'll be there just the same.  The blisters, that blasted slight incline on McCormick Road, crossing the finish line--it's all worth it.  Join me next April 14.

More Halloween Artwork As We Get Closer To the Big Day

Some more Halloween artwork to brighten your day and get you ready for the big holiday, which is one week from today!  Susan Winget is another wonderful artist with a flair for whimsy that I enjoy so much.  Again, she is very diversified with many products available with her wonderful pieces of art.  As a matter of fact, the photo above is a panel of her licensed fabric designs.  If you find a Lang Christmas card display, chances are you will be looking at many of her charming designs.

I hope you enjoy the artwork I post here as much as I enjoy finding it for you!

Great Songs With a Halloween Theme: Theme From "The Munsters"

Theme From "The Munsters"

More Halloween fun from television world came in the form of the sitcom "The Munsters", which, according to, ran at the same time on CBS at the same time "The Addams Family" ran on ABC.

More from Wikipedia:  "The family, while decidedly odd, consider themselves fairly typical working-class Americans of the era. Herman, like many husbands of the 1960s, is the sole wage-earner in the family, though Lily and Grandpa make (short-lived) attempts to earn a little money from time to time. While Herman is the titular "head of household," Lily actually makes most of the decisions."

The Munsters starred the great Fred Wynne and the very lovely, IMO, Yvonne DeCarlo.  Never quite could figure out what Marilyn had to do with everything, but hey, it's TV, right?

Believe it or not, there were actually lyrics to the theme song, part of which were:

"If you should meet this strange family
Just forget what some people have said,
The Munsters may shake your hand clammily
But they're not necessarily dead."

What I Did Sunday...

The first leaf haul of Fall 2011 on Maple Street

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thoughts About The Internet...

"The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it’s difficult to determine whether or not they are genuine."

Abraham Lincoln

(Thanks to Mike Pinto for providing the above quote in his Morning Message e-mail today!)

HORRORS! Remember This Guy?

If you grew up in Indiana during the 1960's and 1970's, you sure do.  I present to you Sammy Terry, the undisputed king of campy late night horror!

From the website link posted above:  "In the early 1960's, WTTV's Bob Carter and producers developed the character of "Sammy Terry" as an on-air personality. A cloaked, pale-faced ghoul who rose from his coffin on Friday nights, laughed ominously and introduced Horror films as well as provide commercial-break entertainment. Renamed Nightmare Theater and with the banter mostly ad-libbed, the show and Carter's portrayal of "Sammy Terry" won him a large-scale following in the region, which allowed him to be ranked with other horror hosts of the era who operated out of much larger broadcast markets."

Remember his spider named George?  I recall staying up late to watch Sammy Terry on Channel 4 out of Indianapolis; good, funny memories of my teenage years.  Sammy Terry was a staple of slumber parties, too, as I remember.  Sammy's alter ego, Bob Carter, still makes public appearances and draws huge crowds wherever he goes, although he must be at least in his 80's by now. 

Long live Sammy Terry!

Great Songs With a Halloween Theme: "Abracadabra"

"Abracadabra" by the Steve Miller Band

Man, do I have a fascination with witches/black magic or what? :-) 

An interesting fact I dug up while researching this song; according to, "Abracadabra" was written by Steve Miller and inspired by Diana Ross (yes, the singer), whom the band had met on numerous TV appearances in the 1960's.  Wow!

More great instrumental work on this song.  Oh, and just go ahead and sing along already :-)  Enjoy!

"I see magic in your eyes
I hear the magic in your sighs
Just when I think I'm gonna get away
I hear those words that you always say..."

Behold the Power of Grilled Cheese

I have written in my blog a number of times this fall about the Chamber of Commerce weather we have been having in Lafayette, Indiana, this autumn season.  Yesterday, October 19, 2011 was NOT one of those days.  Low to mid-40's temps all day, rain that was light or heavy, sideways or straight up and down, a constant cold breeze.

I had just filled up my gas tank in the inclement weather, and gotten chilled clear through in the process, when the thought hit me--grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup would ABSOLUTELY hit the spot for dinner that night.  I went immediately to the grocery store and bought all the fixin's, and when I got home I made myself two grilled cheeses for dinner.

I ate slowly, savoring each melty, cheesy, drippy, warm bite.  What is it about grilled cheese that just warms you to the bone on a cold, unforgiving day?  It might be one of the most perfect comfort foods ever invented.  Add the tomato soup (I am definitely recommending that you all try Progresso Hearty Italian tomato soup--OMG!) and some pickles on the side (I am a pickle connoisseur, after all!) and I was a happy little camper for the rest of the evening.

Grilled cheese was also a staple of my childhood.  It would have been easy, and relatively cheap, for my mom to fix quickly with three little girls underfoot.  Maybe that accounts for some of the comfort factor that a good grilled cheese sandwich brings me.

Whatever the reason, I was one warm and happy girl last evening after eating my sandwich in my warm little house in the midst of the wind and rain and cold outside.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Great Songs With a Halloween Theme: "Witchy Woman"

Were The Eagles just the best band ever?  And this song is one of their best!  Great guitar work and great song that fits the Halloween bill.

"Raven hair and ruby lips
sparks fly from her finger tips
Echoed voices in the night
she's a restless spirit on an endless flight "

More Halloween Artwork To Share

Another of my favorite artists is Pat Richter.  No, not the former University of Wisconsin football player; this is a female (trust me, if you try to look her up on the Internet, you will find everything you ever wanted to know about Pat Richter the football player)!  I LOVE her artwork; as a matter of fact, I make it a point to send Pat Richter Christmas cards every year.

My favorite shop in the whole world, Calico Plus in Delphi, IN, will very soon be stocking up on their Pat Richter paper products (Christmas cards, note cards, various types of note pads) and I very soon will be there with bells on to find something new to add to my already admittedly huge stash.  I try to keep Pat Richter notepads in my desk at work year-round as well; I think that people like to see them when their interoffice mail from me arrives!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Favorite Words..."Haven"

haven      noun
Definition of haven
2  :  a place of safety; REFUGE
3  :  a place offering favorable opportunities or conditions

HAVEN--one of my very favorite words in the whole dictionary.  Safety, security, comfort, love, family, peace, restfulness and renewal of mind, body, and spirit--all described by that one lovely five-letter word.

I think of my home as my haven.  I can come to my home from a stressful day at work, open the door to welcome guests into my home, hide from the big, bad world in my home, bake and/or cook up a storm in my home, lose myself in a mindless TV show in the family room of my home, snuggle under blankets for a long winter's nap in the bedroom of my home, paint walls and hang wallpaper and sew curtains to beautify my home, create wonderful handcrafted items for myself and others with my hands in my home, and feel safe and secure in my home.  Someday, I hope I get the chance again to cultivate a loving relationship with a special person in OUR home.

My "home haven" is indoors and outdoors at my place.  I have a space in my backyard where I can dig my hands into the dirt in the springtime, watch my garden grow in the summer, and harvest the bounty in the fall.  Birds flock to the birdfeeders that I really, really try to keep full for them all year long.  Mowing the grass gives me a feeling of satisfaction with a job well done.  Having friends and loved ones help you with your yardwork also creates an atmosphere of love, welcome and acceptance into your haven.

We all need a haven; a place to escape to, unwind, relax, and live our true lives and love those we share them with.

Thanks to Original Country Clip Art by Lisa for the adorable house graphic!

Halloween...Still MORE Cute Artwork To Share...

Debbie Mumm is another of my favorite artists.  Just like the previous artists I have profiled on these pages, she is quite prolific, having branched out into fabrics, housewares, pottery, quilt patterns, scrapbooking, and many, many more areas.  She's everywhere you look!

Great Songs With a Halloween Theme: Theme From "The Addams Family"

Theme From "The Addams Family"

Television put on its Halloween costume in 1964 with the debut of the comedy "The Addams Family".  We all followed the antics of Gomez and Morticia Addams, their children Pugsley and Wednesday, Uncle Fester, Cousin It, The Thing, and the creepy butler Lurch until 1966.  Not a very long run for a show, but it spawned movies and many other products.

Probably the most-remembered thing about the series, though, was the very catchy theme song, complete with appropriate finger-snapping sequences.  The words to the song are pretty cool as well.

(snap, snap--you know you want to do it!)

"They're creepy and they're kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They're all together ooky,
The Addams Family."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Great Songs With a Halloween Theme: "Spooky"

Third in the series:  "Spooky" by the Classics IV.  I was amazed when looking for the lyrics to this song that it has also been covered by Dusty Springfield and one of my all-time favorites, the Atlanta Rhythm Section.

Not really a Halloween song, but lots of Halloween-type references; so many that I had to include it.

"Just like a ghost, you've been a-hauntin' my dreams,
So I'll propose... on Halloween.
Love is kinda crazy with a spooky little girl like you."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Halloween...More Too Cute Artwork To Share

Two more adorable pieces of Halloween artwork by another of my favorite artists, Mary Engelbreit!  Shopping in stores, catalogs, and online will show you that Mary has all kinds of products all over the place.  Visit her website and prepare to have a great time browsing! 

Coleslaw, Four Ways and Quickly

We all know what a struggle it is to plan meals, even for one person like I do it.  It has to be fairly quick to prepare, nutritious, not break the bank, and, in my case, easy on the fat and calorie content.  I found these four cole slaw variations that totally fit each requirement.

Start with one 16-oz bag of coleslaw blend (14-oz bags will do as well).

Then--go for it!

1 C classic Caesar dressing
1/2 C grape tomatoes, halved

4 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
1/2 C ranch dressing

1/4 C chopped cocktail peanuts
1/2 C Asian toasted sesame dressing

1 small red pepper, cut into short, thin strips
1/2 C Tuscan-style Italian dressing

For all variations:  mix ingredients; refrigerate until ready to serve.

Of course, I expect you all to be creative and add ingredients that you think would enhance the flavor of each recipe.  The grape tomatoes in the Ranch-Style Coleslaw, for instance, would approach a BLT flavor.  Or, use the bagged broccoli slaw instead of the traditional coleslaw blend.  Yum!

I have tried the Creamy Caesar Coleslaw, which is very yummy.  Really looking forward to trying the other three, especially the Asian-Style Coleslaw.

Side dish for lunch or dinner--CHECK!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Great Songs With a Halloween Theme: "Witch Queen of New Orleans"

The second in my series of Halloween song recommendations.  First of all, I just love Redbone, okay?  Secondly, this song appeals to my mysterious side.  Yes, I do have one :-).  It just oozes that whole funky New Orleans/voodoo/live oaks and Spanish moss/above-ground cemetery atmosphere to me. 

The instrumentation in this song is phenomenal and really sets off the voodoo-y story of the song, the legendary Creole voodoo priestess Marie Laveau.

"Early one mornin' into mucky swamp dew, vanished Marie with hate in her eyes
Though she'll never return, all the Cajuns knew, a Witch Queen never dies"

10/8/11--Fall Pie Basket

Here is a photo of my finished Fall Pie Basket on Saturday 10/8/11 outside of Morton Community Center in West Lafayette, IN (where I am taking basketry classes throughout the fall).  It is the cutest basket and, when I got home, I popped a pie plate in it and it truly will tote around one pie!  So I love it not only for its cuteness, but it is extremely functional as well.  And you gotta love the little acorn/maple leaf decoration on the side!

This basket also had some intricate inside work (see photo below) in the construction part of the basket.  It's not extraordinarily difficult by any means, but did make me wish I had four hands instead of two at times!  The best part--I was able to keep the round shape throughout the weaving!  The Williamsburg handle helped a great deal to keep a consistent shape during weaving.  The variegated fall color reed was a joy to watch evolve as I wove each row of it around the basket. 

If you've not ever tried your hand at basketmaking before, you would be doing yourself a favor to seek out classes near your home.  Very calming and very productive activity, as you can finish your project in 3-4 hours even with very little experience.  And those finished projects are totally awesome, functional, and decorative.  Big payback for a little investment of your time and talent!

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Fall On Maple Street

Just a few fall touches that showed up at a certain home on Maple Street Friday 10/7 evening.  I had to get the corn decoration up and off my front porch as the kernels were being eaten by the neighborhood squirrels (!).

For Not Crying During Their Flu Shots Today... coworkers will get Halloween cupcakes, courtesy of me!  They were fun to make as I hadn't made cupcakes in a while, and I really realized that when I was frosting them.  It took me a few to get my "groove" back, but I think they turned out pretty cool.  All thanks goes to Pillsbury for the cake mix and frosting, both with cute little spooky sprinkles in them!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Halloween...Just Too Cute Not To Share

Hope you love this illustration as much as I do!  It is done by Susan Wheeler, who is the imagination behind Holly Pond Hill.  Susan's art prints can be found at the Greenhouse Gallery link above; she also has an extensive line of greeting cards, stationery, fabric, figurines, books, and other paper products which (from personal experience) I know people love to receive!

Great Songs With a Halloween Theme: "Monster Mash"

"Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt Kickers

This would be number one on my list.  It's a classic, no matter how you slice it (ooh, sorry, BAD Halloween pun).

"The coffin-bangers were about to arrive
With their vocal group, The Crypt-Kicker Five"...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

TGIF A Day Early

LOL :-)  This is actually what I look like and feel like at about 5:30 every weekday morning when my alarm goes off.

Rest In Peace, Aunt Jo

Jo Ann Hardy Harlow, 69

Today, October 6, 2011, Jo Ann Hardy Harlow was laid to rest in Sugar Grove Cemetery, Tippecanoe County, Indiana.  Sugar Grove would be a lovely place to spend eternity.  It is located on top of an Indian mound in far southern Tippecanoe County.  I believe you can see Montgomery and Fountain Counties from the top of that mound.  I believe you can see forever from the top of that mound.  It is a beautiful, peaceful place.

Aunt Jo--technically my ex-husband's aunt--was one of my favorite people in the world.  She was intelligent, creative, no-nonsense, a straight shooter, maybe a bit rough around the edges (probably from being married to my ex-husband's uncle); but she had a heart of gold.  She liked me, too, so maybe that had something to do with it :-) She raised three great kids and had four grandchildren to spoil and enjoy as her life progressed from chapter to chapter.

I'll always remember Aunt Jo in her prime, which meant a cigarette in one hand and a bottle of Pepsi (remember those glass bottles?) in the other.

Rest well, Aunt Jo, and I'll see you again sometime.  You are in a good place now, with no more pain.
Aunt Jo

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's here!  I was lucky enough to find a copy of the Just Cross Stitch 2011 Christmas Ornaments issue in Lafayette at a local supermarket.  Usually I order from my friends at House of Stitches in LaPorte, IN, but I was thrilled to get it locally and save on shipping.

No "wowza" designs in this issue, IMO, but there are two I am going to have to stitch; "Joy" by Blackbird Designs and "Always In My Heart" by My Big Toe Designs.  And I will have to say, the recipes that the designers share in this issue are among the best ever--and I have the Christmas ornament issues back to the early 2000's.

One other thing I noticed is variety.  The ornaments for the most part all have stitches other than the basic "x"--Smyrna cross stitches, Rhodes stitches, hardanger stitches, needle weaving stitches, you name it.  The finishing ideas for the ornaments are just so unique and very creative.  I am going to have to do some research and get myself up to date on all the latest finishing ideas.  Still need to learn how to do my own cording from embroidery floss; I love that look!

PS) I am taking donations for the Belle Soie silk fibers I need for one of the ornaments.  I have heard that they are wonderful to work with; they had better be for $7.50 a skein! OUCH!

Again, THIS Is Why I Miss Substitute Teaching

Another funny story from the same teacher:

In one of her kindergarten classes, she has three Chinese students, all little boys.  They are just thrilled that they are in the same kindergarten class, the same academic enrichment class, and they all three attend the same Chinese school on Saturdays.

Our teacher asked the little boys what they did in Chinese school, and they explained that right now they were learning the characters in the Chinese alphabet and how to speak Chinese.  Another non-Chinese boy in the class, upon hearing this, asked if they could say something in their language.

Picking up on the teachable moment that had just presented itself, our teacher asked the boys "Who can say I go to (school name) in Chinese?". Immediately, one of the little boys answered:  "I go to (school name) in Chinese".

You can see the wheels turning in those tiny little brains and you just never know what is going to come out of those mouths!

THIS Is Why I Miss Substitute Teaching

One of our teachers shared a GREAT story with me the other day from her first weeks of classes this year.

A kindergarten teacher at one of our corporation's elementary schools gave her students a writing exercise at the end of the last school year.  It was a piece of paper that had the sentence "I learned _______.", which the students were supposed to complete.

One came back from a little girl in the class that said "I learned shit".  Well, the teacher did some digging and found that the little girl had misspelled "this".  What a difference a few letters make!

C'mon, admit it, you're smiling... :-)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It Wasn't Meant To Be...

Well, poo.

HS BOYS TENNIS Floyd Central guts out semifinal victory over Silver Creek

Scroll down to the part of the story that reads: 


New Albany Advances


My Connor and his Red Devil teammates were blanked by the New Albany Bulldogs, 5-0.

Connor, buddy, you're only a freshman.  Great things await you!  I am proud of all you and your teammates have accomplished this year.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

More Thoughts On Nearing 50...

A wonderful observation from my high school buddy and forever friend, Kelly McLaughlin, who is celebrating her 50th birthday today, October 4, 2011 (Happy Birthday, Kelly!):

"Hmmmm, nothing. Still able to eat solids. Didnt need assistance coming down the stairs. I can still manage to keep gas from coming out at inappropriate times. I think this should be a smooth transition."

Thoughts On Nearing 50...

Quote of the day from high school buddy and good friend Terri Morris Cooper:

"When I get older, I don't want people thinking "what a sweet old lady," I want them to worry, "I hope she is not armed."

Scatter Joy

Absolutely, without a doubt, Kathy Davis' artwork, cards, and calendars are among my favorites to send to my friends and loved ones right now.  Ask anyone who has received a card from me in the past year!

Kathy does beautiful, bright, vibrant watercolor florals and other motifs for her paper products lines.  The verses in her cards just hit the spot for me.  I don't know how many times I have gone looking for a card for a significant occasion in a friend or family member's life, picked up one of her cards, and shook my head thinking about how perfect the sentiment is, how it says exactly what I wanted to say.

In addition, I have found her e-cards on Blue Mountain and send them as often as I can.  Thankfully, I have found Kathy Davis greeting cards by both American Greetings and by Sunrise Greetings.

One of my picky-pickies in life is that I have to have a Kathy Davis wall calendar for my office every year.  Price be damned, I darn near fall all over myself to find one.  Usually have to get it online; my local Barnes and Noble stopped carrying her calendars a couple of years ago.

I hope that Kathy plans to share her artistic talents for years to come, because I will be there to keep her in business!

Just a Few Words...

  • Extremely sad
  • Confused
  • Naive
  • Used
  • Lonely
  • Angry
  • At a definite disadvantage
  • Impatient
  • Exhausted
  • Cheap, maybe even a bit trashy
  • Frustrated
  • Heartbroken
  • Hopeful
  • Lost
  • Wondering
  • Stupid
  • Too good for my own good
  • Ashamed of myself
  • Trying to regain control of what I can control
  • Knowing that life goes on and so should I
  • Thankful for my family, my friends, and for God
  • Remembering that I am pretty damned awesome

Monday, October 3, 2011

Battle Hymn of the Republic

I finished "Battle Hymn of the Republic" by Little House Needleworks on Saturday 10/1.  There are so many things I love about this design.  First of all, the "instant antique" look that so many LHN designs give you when you finish them.  The hand-dyed linen that the design is stitched on is so great looking.  Plus, this song was sung/played at my high school graduation by the choir, band and orchestra, and I have loved it so much from that point onward.

Stitching this was a hoot!  Somewhere in the stitching process, I got off one square.  Those of you who do counted cross stitch understand this, but being off just one square usually throws off the whole design.  As a matter of fact, I had to frog multiple times on the two leaves on each side of the urn with the flags because something I had previously stitched was off (I am guessing I was one square off on the urn).  I studied this thing until I found a way to adjust it until the leaves looked good and were identical on both sides of the urn.  If you're going to put that much time and love into stitching something, you want it to look good!

To see more great LHN designs:  Little House Needleworks