Thursday, September 20, 2018


Gracie 2009

Gracie 2009




My girl is doing great. I hope your animals are all doing well. This is just a reminder that we should hug our pets and take care of them. They look to us for shelter, food, compassion and love. It is also our responsibility to protect animals.

That brings me to the rant that is about to start on Facebook. I am tired of being politically silent because of the bullies and hatred that exist behind the keyboards. You know what? This is one subject where I will and have made a stand: animal abuse.

President Trump has signed into law allowing the slaughter of bear cubs and wolf pups in Alaska. This is despicable and abhorrent. So I posted a photo of Trump signing a bill, and asked, "Please, to my Republican friends, explain this to me. I don't understand. How does this make America great again?"

As of this morning, I had one private message from a Republican kind of relative (related to my stepkids) with an accusation of rape against a female Democratic member of Congress.

Now. This male member of my extended family thinks I will let this fly. Wrong. I posted that I had received his message, and that it didn't explain the animal abuse directed to bear cubs and wolf pups. Can he?

This battle technique that the Republican party has developed of misdirecting the attention of the masses has to stop. I am mad as hell, and I am so very tired of being bullied by this administration.

Vote in the midterms. Vote in the midterms. Vote in the midterms.
Thank You.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A New Challenge

The ladies are a Graphics 45 stamp

The saying is a stamp

Several stamps on this, the saying and the X's
Okay boys and girls, it is time for a new challenge. Just read this on Julie Fei Fan Balzer's blog. 
An illustrator, Jake Parker, has been doing a month long challenge for years called Inktober. He publishes a list of prompts, and your challenge is to post on social media daily in the month of October an original drawing done in ink. Doesn't have to be any type of special ink, just ink. A ball point pen, Higgins black ink, whatever.
Julie is changing this up a bit and I love, love, love this idea. She is doing the challenge with the hashtag #printinktober. But instead of drawing, she will be creating something with her collection of stamps. Because she has a lot of stamps. She carves her own stamps in December in another challenge.

I also have a ton of stamps. I buy mine. Yes, I do. In fact, Cathy and I were shopping together online last night, making a list and checking it twice. I have so many stamps, they are sorted by designer and/or subject matter. For example, the following people have their own drawers: Tim Holtz, Donna Downey, Seth Apter, Dyan Reavley, Dina Wakley. There are drawers for just numbers, graphics, nature, and so on. I spend a lot of time wondering what drawer I put a stamp in unless it is a favorite. I need more drawers. I also need to get out more. To buy more stamps......

So join me as I join Julie in my favorite month of the year. If you can't make something every day, just do what you can. Anyone can ink a stamp and stamp it. See above. It will be fun. Use those supplies. Tracie. I am talking to you, girlfriend! (hugs)

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


Jake with me at the vet's office on Friday, waiting for the cone of shame for Gracie

Cone of shame, as attached by the vet assistant

State of my mind this weekend

Double page spread in my small Dylusions journal

Halloween tag

Removed the cone and put one of my socks on her right hand paw so she can't scratch her ear

New and improved cone of shame. I cut 2 inches off on the outside, duct taped it together. Tied loosely.
This week has been a fiasco from the start, and it's only Tuesday morning. Wow.

Gracie is healing nicely, now that I am keeping her hind leg away from her ear that had surgery. The vet has advised me to apply Neosporin to the site, to ease the itches and help promote healing. The fur is growing back, and that adds to discomfort. But I have stopped the pain meds for Grace. I need a ton of something right now, but that is a different story entirely.

The mass that was removed was a fibrous sarcoma, which is malignant. It was small, low grade, with clean margins. All of that is good news within the bad news that my dog had cancer. At this point we wait, constantly checking any new lumps, bumps, growths immediately. I found this one by petting Gracie, so this practice continues on a daily basis as it should.

Along with this news, I had several small bumps in life. Stepping over the piles and moving on. Ya know? Not much else you can do. Some people will never change, and I no longer play games.

I was watching YouTube videos this past weekend, and saw someone (I honestly don't remember who) do a collage on top of gesso pages in a journal, and then start to add stamping, drops of paint, embossed black , and more. Looked really neat, so that is where the double page spread came from.  I didn't do any embossing.

Time to calm down, take deep cleansing breaths, and learn to relax more. It most certainly is. Have a good one.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Miss Gracie May Sue

Last night on my bed. She wanted some loving.

The ear that was operated on

My late husband used to tell me he believed in reincarnation. He had to, because he wanted to come back as one of my dogs.  Whenever he told this story, everyone would laugh. But it is true. I am a very responsible pet owner. If they are sick, we go to the vet. If I find a lump, it gets checked.

About 7 weeks ago I felt a very small, pea sized lump at the base of Gracie's right ear. It didn't feel like a fatty tumor. She has 3 of those, and Jake has about 8 all over his body. So when we went for their annual exam in late August, I asked that vet to aspirate that lump. She came back out and said it could go either way, that the cells she withdrew belonged to the same classification as cancer cells. I made an appointment for surgery.We had to wait 3 weeks to do this, and I have been quite nervous. The vets in this area are very, very busy. That is a good thing. People who think like me are taking care of their animals just as I am.

We won't know if it was malignant until the biopsy is complete, but just in case, our vet made a wide incision to remove a good barrier around the growth. That way, in case it is cancer, they can determine if it has spread out past the margins the vet created.

Last night was not fun. I hate, hate, hate it when one of the dogs is ill or injured. So there was a great deal of hugging, and petting. Gracie, being Gracie, pulled out her IV from her lower leg/paw because she doesn't like anything or anyone touching her paws. Has always been like that. Fortunately, the attendant and vet assistant was right on top of this, and had just walked in to check. Gracie spent a lot of time last night cleaning that area. To ease swelling and pain, I had to apply cold compresses to the wound. She allowed that, which tells me it felt good.

Because she was under anesthesia for this procedure, I also had her teeth cleaned. She lost a tooth, so now is on a soft diet. This morning we started 3 days of Rimadyl, the canine pain medication. By 11am we should be singing, Rocky Mountain High. My girl likes to party when on Rimadyl.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


A no reason tag

New stamp

In the smaller Dylusions journal

Double page spread of marks and stencils

Jake, telling me I am not going anywhere ever again. Uh huh.
I have been working in small blocks of time in the studio, just trying to get back into the groove. The dogs are allowing this, because they lay in the hall blocking the doorway in and out of that room. The message is, "You can't leave if you can't step over us".

September is a busy month. It just happened to fall that way. But my plan is to stay home all winter. First, it is too hard to make plans with our crazy winter weather.  Secondly, I have decided it is time to explore what Indy and the surrounding areas have in art venues. There is a lot here that I have not seen.

Today, however, is mowing. Or I buy a horse, cow, and a sheep. Dang.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Part 3 - Vacation

To the right of the main entrance. Behind the windows is the hallway to the English Garden, indoors

Part of Mr. Vanderbilt's bedroom

Part of the 3rd floor Living Hall - for guests

The brass/terra cotta pantry

The vase pantry. No, I am not making this up!

Other side to the vase pantry

Formal stairwell. The wrought iron is one piece that runs from floor to ceiling, all the way to the roof

Main entry is to the right

Wanted to catch the reflection of the mountains in the glass

First floor balcony

I could live out here

part of the Halloween Room walls in the basement

part of the formal kitchen, in the bassement

exterior shot

Doc, the cowboy who tends the horses, Carly, the other attendant, and me

They stop the carriage with the house in the background so we can take photos

The horses are Trace and Bo

This is the back of the Biltmore house
So there you have it. Light for taking photos was perfect the majority of the time. The camera loves cloudy skies.

If you are interested in visiting Biltmore Estate, we did everything online at their website. If you have never been, I recommend staying at the Village Hotel although it is pricey. But you have free shuttles around the estate, and that is important without your own vehicle.  For a more complete experience, we did stay at a hotel in Asheville in 2011, and I had my car. Asheville has excellent restaurants, lots to do, and is a pretty city. We did a lot of walking on that trip. It is an oasis in the south, being very independent and unlike any other southern city. Free thinking, artsy, and the people were nice to strangers. There are some fantastic nightly ghost tours in Asheville. Fun stuff.

If you do decide to stay at the estate, be prepared to spend $75 a day for 2 meals, over $100 for 3 meals. The food is excellent at all of the restaurants, but again, not cheap. Best ice cream is at the creamery, and I had a waffle cone with Cappacino Crunch. Worth every single calorie!

Thanks for stopping by.