Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Pie Theory of People

I think people are like pies. Are you conjuring up images of luscious cherry pie in your mind? Really?

Well, that's not exactly what I had in mind! I was thinking of a pie that looks more like this:

And this really does explain an awful lot about the many differences between folks. Because you just can't have more than 100%. That's all there is and there is no more. Just 100% to go all the way around into the many facets of who we are as individuals.

So it just stands to reason that if a person is really good at one thing, that takes up a lot of their 100%, which leaves less for everything else. Make any sense to you? It does to me.

Take engineers for example. These guys are blessed with brains and book learning. They eat calculus as an appetizer. And they design and build amazing things, from tiny little devices that hold and play an amazing amount of music to buildings and bridges and roads. They also tend (note I said tend) to be dull as dishwater socially. But all those social grace percentages got shifted over to their thinking and learning percentages.

Take artists as another example. We are blessed with creativity. But that high percentage of artistic abilities that we have leaves us a wee bit short in other areas. Know what I mean?

But hey, the world needs both engineers and artisits. And all sorts of other types as well. We just all have different strengths and weaknesses, and that's OK. In fact, as someone once said, "It's a good thing!"

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Oh Blessed Summer!

At long, long last, summer has finally come to the Pacific Northwest.  While the rest of the country has been baking and sweltering under a rather destructive heatwave, we have been ridiculously cool, cloudy and wet.  But now, now we have summer.  We will actually be in the 80s for several days in a row, and that hasn't happened since last year!  We normally would have even had some 90 degree days by now, but I don't need it that hot. 

A juvenile Anna's comes in to eat the
early Lucifer Crocosmia blooms.

This is the kind of weather that makes you remember exactly why it is you live here and put with all of the rain!  Because right now, the weather is perfect; the sky is blue, blue, blue; the grass and shrubs and plants are green as can be; flowers are blooming everywhere and little hummers are regular visitors in my gardens.

This flower garden is off the back patio. 
I can see it from the kitchen window too.
It has taken several years to get it to look this way.
This hardy geranium grows like a weed!
It even grows right up into the hibiscus.

Lady Euphoria, my fairy maiden.
She peeks out from behind plants
and now has Scottish Bluebells growing
beside her.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lucifer Crocosmia in my patio garden

A Lucifer Crocosmia bud has just popped out of the leaves.

A more mature flower bracht with one bud about to open at the base.

An immature female Anna's hummer guards her supply of Crocosmia, which is in my patio garden, just outside of the kitchen window.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Gutsy Easy Pasta Maindish Salad for Summer #2

OK folks, my motto for hot weather is 'summer is for salads'.  And I don't mean tossed green salads either!  I mean a salad that eats like a meal.

Once again, I started with one of those Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad mixes; this time I used Bacon and Ranch.  I also cooked the pasta just 10 minutes instead of the 12 minutes they suggest.  Al dente pasta is much healthier, and mushy pasta in a salad just doesn't appeal to me in any kind of appetizing way!

Now comes the good part, all the added stuff:  chopped bell peppers, grated carrots, chopped black olives, grated Tillamook cheddar (I live near Tillamook), chunked up chicken breast and some extra bacon. 

For the chicken, I like to use the frozen Foster Farms Chicken Breast Grilled Strips. You can thaw just what you need in the microwave, and if you have a Costco nearby, they sell large packages much cheaper than the small packages that grocery stores sell. In fact, I use this chicken in a lot of different dishes. It's really good quality and so convenient to use.  For the bacon, I also take the easy route and use the already cooked real bacon bits.  In the summer I hate to heat up the kitchen any more than I have to.

I made the dressing in the box according to the directions, but then I added some extra ranch dressing (I use lite, but not fat-free), and a little milk to make it creamier.  Just wing it here!

So there you have it.  QED!  :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Favorite Shops

I have recently been spending a lot of time on Etsy, where I have my shop.  Good thing huh?  I'm part of a great team our fearless leader A'esha calls Madcap.  We have our own Facebook pages, blog, and twitter account.  And then one day she asked for suggestions, and I suggested, being a good team member, and she made me a team leader!  So one of my favorite places to shop these days is on Etsy. 

Which is where I found the following two photographers, on Etsy.  Now, being a photographer myself, I'm pretty picky and exacting.  And these two photographers can really create some beautiful images.  So I want to spread the word, because as a fellow artist, sometimes you have to live on a lot of kudos between the pesos!

The first shop I found is Dave Dilli Photography at

Greeting Cards, Desert Sunsets Fine Art Photographs set of 4 Note Cards          7 x 10 Photograph - Arizona Four Peaks Pink Sunset Fine Art     Photograph, Matted, 7 x 10 Burrowing Owl Gaze

Above are just a few of the beautiful images Dave has created.  Dave lives in the desert southwest, so the majority of his work is of the gorgeous scenics you find only in that part of the country.  Beautiful, beautiful use of light and spectacular composition.  You really must check out his shop!

The next amazing photograhper I found is Larry Lynch at

Cabin Light      Cades Cove Great Smoky Mountains National Park     Great Egret in Breeding Plumes at Sunset    

I just really, really like the way Larry sees the world and the images that intrigue him.  And his ability to capture that image and share it with all of us.... well it's just plain old excellent! 

So everyone hop over to these shops.  You won't be sorry!

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Gutsy Easy Pasta Maindish Salad for the Summer

OK, so I whipped up this dish over the weekend for my hubby and me for dinner, over the weekend, and it was so easy and turned out so well, I thought I would share it.  It's easy, healthy, and appeals to many taste pallets.

So I started with one of those Betty Crocker Classic Suddenly Salad Mixes you find in the grocery store.  Cook the pasta a minute less than they say; it's healthier that way and won't fall apart on you when you make the salad.  I made the dressing as directed, but I added some fresh chopped flat Italian parsley from my garden, and whizzed it all up in my mini-Cuisinart, because I could! 

Now comes the good part!  In a medium mixing bowl I put some chunked up cooked chicken breast.  Then I grated in one carrot, and added some frozen white corn, frozen peas, canned white beans drained, chopped tomato, shredded Italian cheese, and sliced Kalamata olives.  Adjust the proportions to fit your own taste, but I was going for a variety of healthy goodies that would blend well and not over power each other.  And I also had them in my kitchen at the time!

Now add the dressing and mix well; then add the pasta and gently mix.  Chill well, the salad and yourself, and enjoy!  The colors in the salad are really nice and bright and you've just turned a basic box salad into a great meal!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Four new bracelets at Art by Andrea


Peyote Stitch

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wanna have fun with your dog?

I made spaghetti for dinner tonight, which could mean a lot of things in an American household.  I cook my pasta al dente, because it's healthier.  I also did a red sauce and a white sauce, sliced roasted chicken breast, and roasted crimini mushrooms and sliced sweet onions. YUM!

Now my fuzzy little white dog Stuie was quite interested in this whole affair, as you can imagine! So I pulled out an old trick I used to do with my big mastiff Shadow (the one in my avatar with me). I gave him the nearly empty jar of spaghetti sauce. Now Stuie, being white, got the white sauce. And he chased that blasted jar all over three rooms trying to get every bit of the sauce out of it, just wishing he had a longer tongue....

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Art Cards

One of the many creative endeavors I enjoy is making art cards for those near and dear to me.  I haven't actually bought a greeting card in so many years I've lost count!  The sentiments don't work for me; I think many of them are really lame, particularly birthday cards.  It all started....well, I guess I forget.  Except that my Mom has been making homemade cards since I was a very little girl.  And that was before people actually did stuff like that!  She made them on the shirt cardboards that came in my Dad's shirts from the drycleaners.  So perhaps this is genetic?  Works for me.

Here are two cards I made recently.  On both of them I have used Pergamano parchment paper, pierced, embossed, used white ink on the embossed areas prior to embossing, and then added some finishing details with Martha Stewart punches.  The fan on the left card was rather labor intensive, and it sat for awhile, until I decided it would make a wonderful Mother's Day card this year.  The card on the right was a get well card for a very special lady.  The floral design was traced in white ink and then embossed.  Next came the paper piercing, and then I added those great 3D butterflies. Thanks Martha!

I have more cards to share in the near future, so stay tuned to this bat channel!  And hopefully I will figure out some better lighting techniques which will show the details better.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A New Tree

We have a fabulous new tree; it's a 'Wolf Eyes' kousa dogwood.  I planted it because a neighbor chopped down a little sappling that my birds really loved; the little guys used the old sappling as a landing strip for one of our suet feeders.  And  my motto has always been, 'They chop one down.  I plant one, at least.'  And so, after much thought and deliberation, we decided to plant a kousa dogwood with a white flower.  And then we found this guy, that fit the bill, and had variegated leaves to boot!  Majorly cool.

I now have a large new garden area to landscape (major bummer yeah?).  But, I think I will just look at it and ponder the possibilites this year....

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Delilah - our feisty little calico girl

The boys were just three and fourteen when we got Delilah and Samson.  Our family was in turmoil once again (another husband gone) and our beloved parakeet Ornin had just lost his battle with extreme old age.  The thought of two kittens romping around the house was just what this family of ours needed.

But it turned out to be a tough time to find kittens.  Go figure.  I guess we were on the wrong cycle or something.  I always thought cats were almost as prolific bunny rabbits!  But we finally found a local pet shop that had a large pen full of kittens, right near the front door.  And they were all blissfully sound asleep except for one very cute lone calico girl who was trying to climb out to me, and calling, "Take me! Take me!"  She was soooooo cute!  We were in love....

I could write a novel with all of our Delilah stories over the last 13 years.  She was a pissy little calico girl, bulimic at that, for many years.  A bit on the pudgy side too.  She swallowed a large amount of thread as a teenager and almost died, which surely did not help her longevity any.  But it did slowly improve her attitude toward the human race.  She came to like, love, and even need people, in her own way,  and we came to love all of her quirky little habits.  And she really was a gorgeous girl, and she looked great in Godiva!  She also loved snuggling into my youngest son's bed when he still had a mountain of stuffed animals, and washing us as if we were her children, and eating these very special Swedish ginger cookies (It took my mom a long time to wangle this authentic recipe out of a Swedish friend) in a most unladylike fashion.....

She was a wonderful girl!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jewelry Preview

I saw these beads at a local bead shop and just had to have them!  They're so retro, so sixties, so darned cool man.  And I know there must be some retro-lovers out there who will pop over to my Etsy shop (link on left side of this page) and acquire these little gems for themselves, or perhaps as a gift for someone near and dear to them.  I will have them up for sale sometime over these next couple of days.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ugly Birds! Go Away!

This is my mantra these days, which gets hollered out the back patio doors quite a few times every day.  And it usually brings my little helper Stuie running at warp speed past me and out the door into the backyard, chasing ugly birds, of course.  (He also loves to chase squirrels, but that's another story for another time.)  And I wonder what the neighbors think?  I haven't really thought about that before, but they probably think I'm a bit screwy around the edges, if you know what I mean!

Now, these blasted birds are determined to devour the suet just as fast they can, bunches of them at a time.  And my poor little Downy woodpeckers, and big flickers, as well as a whole host of other birds, wouldn't get much suet but a little bit of leftovers.  NOT!  And we feed really expensive suet that is loaded with grubs, which is why the damn ugly birds like it so much.  Easy food, no work.  NOT!  

Now I'm armed with a large water gun, so I shoot them as I holler, "Ugly birds!  Go away!"  I feel a bit like Rambo.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Huge Bouquet for Mother's Day !


I really must brag about my wonderful men and the spectacular bouquet of long-stemmed roses and lilies they gave me on Mother's Day, after a really nice dinner out. There were 20 (yes, twenty) roses with stems 30 inches long!  And 8 lilies, some white and some tiger-type that matched the roses beautifully!

I was awestruck; I was dumbstruck; I was truly speechless.  I jiggled all over like a small child on Christmas morning!

Friday, May 6, 2011

What have I been up to?

One thing I've been doing recently is turning out necklaces in Russian Spiral, which is a stitch I have become quite fond of.  It is actually a form of tubular netting, so the end result is a necklace that is wonderfully flexible.  You can even coil them up and you won't harm them a bit!

If anyone would like one in custom colors, please contact me at my Etsy shop (link at left) and we can discuss colors and length.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Russian Spiral Necklace

This is the newest jewelry piece for sale at my Etsy shop.  It is done in a Russian Spiral stitch with a clear denim blue size 8/0 seed bead and a smaller matte black diamond AB seed bead in a size 11/0.  That's beading talk for a larger clear denim blue bead and a smaller grayish bead with that really cool finish that makes all kinds of colors come out in the bead.  Swarovski has been doing it for years!  And speaking of Swarovski, the clasp is embellished with Swarovski crystals in a clear AB color, for a touch of bling. 

The Russian Spiral stitch makes for a very flexible necklace that really drapes beautifully when you wear it, and feels great to wear as well.  I made myself one in a matte denim blue and silver, and I wear it all of the time. 

You could wear this one with jeans or a suit.  It's a really versatile piece!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Three views of the new large peyote stitch necklace in the Copper Collection

OK, so these are the three views of this necklace that I am thinking of using when I put it up for sale on my Etsy shop, Art by Andrea, at  The first view will be the one showing the clasp, then the other two shots will be alternate views, showing how it looks real time with some very basic wardrobe items that most women have in their closet.  You could really jazz up a basic black turtleneck and black jeans, or you could just as easily wear it to work to class up a black suit. 

I'd love to get some feedback from everyone on this one.  So please, leave me a helpful comment, or tell me how much you love it.......!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gnomes in my garden?

I love my gardens.  And I anxiously await the first signs of spring each year, because here in the Pacific Northwest, winter is long with lots of gray, rainy days. But if I can look out the windows into my gardens and see flowers beginning to pop up, it gives my mood a big lift.

Crocus are one of the first flowers to come up.  It may still be winter, but these little guys are harbingers of the spring to come.  I've planted groups of crocus in several different spots around my yard and gardens, but the ones I love the most are the small bunch by our front door and the large group that encircles the front side of our weeping cherry tree. 

So one day when the rains had stopped for awhile, I decided to talk a walk around the yard and survey my kingdom.  I thought the crocus looked a little thin on flowers for some reason, so I bent down to take a closer look.  This is what I found:
Do you see what I see?  Naked stems with flower blooms all over the ground!  Someone has been beheading my beloved crocus and then leaving the evidence of their dastardly deed right where I could see it.  Surely I must have gnomes in my garden!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Of beads and birds

Well.....  I didn't really need another jewlery project, but ...

...I ran out of the dark copper beads for the last project I told you about, and I'm at a design impass on my other jewelry projects.  And I wanted to do something for the Copper Collection with slightly larger, size 8 seed beads - a piece that would be less delicate, go from casual to office, and have a lower price point.  So, after much deliberation, and consideration of the beads I already had, and wanting to try and use what I already had, rather than going out to buy more beads, which I was already avoiding (!), I came up with the above piece.  I'm thinking of doing an adjustable clasp so that the necklace could be worn a bit shorter or a bit longer, about 20" , plus or minus a bit. 

Personally, I think this necklace will look dynamite with a simple black top and black jeans or pants, or with a classy black suit and white top. 

And I really like the size and feel of size 8 seed beads, despite the fact that they are not widely used.  (Perhaps that is precisely why I do like them.  Conformity is not my strongest suit!)  Sometimes you just don't want a delicate look, but you sure don't want large plastic baubles either!  I find that the size 8 seed beads are a really good solution.  When you use them for tubular peyote stitch, as I have done here, they create a necklace that drapes better than the more rigid shape of the tiny size 11 delicas that pack together so tightly. 

So there I was yesterday morning, stitching away on this necklace, when this strange noise, like pipes groaning in an old home, happened again, and this time my husband was home!  So I muted the tv and we waited.  A few seconds later it happend again, and I asked, "What was that?"  He replied, "It sounds like a bird pecking on top of the metal chimney cover."  So I told him I was betting it was a flicker, and he went out to take a look.  Sure enough, some lovesick fool is up there jackhammering away.  Probably one of those juveniles that Mom and Pop raised right here in our backyard.  Obnoxious teenagers!

Wake up!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What's up in the artist's yard

My backyard provides me with endless hours of pleasure.  Simply watching the birds and wildlife, and even my landscape, as it changes and grows through the seasons and years, gives me so much pleasure.  It is a somewhat meditational experience for me, and I recognize many of the birds that come to feed regularly and raise their young in our backyard.  Each new species that finds our little wildlife area is so exciting.  And so.... I share a bit of my little piece of heaven with all of you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A new addition to my Copper Collection jewelry

I am working on a new piece for my Copper Collection, a peyote stitch necklace to go with the little heart pendant.  I envision at this point that the heart will be a removable pendant or perhaps even the clasp.  Who knows?  We'll see!