Change is good. . . .

I am trying to adopt that attitude. But, honestly, I still haven't accepted the switch to Cd's from tapes and records. The cell phone frenzy, so you are always at someone's beck and call (except in a desolate area where you might actually need help). The answering machine scam, without waiting for a "call back" it is impossible to reach anyone - (always away from my desk, busy with another [more important?] customer). I thought that was the whole purpose of a business office - - staff hired to serve the customer. Add, the highway robbery scam of charging to watch programs on your home Tv set via cable, satellite, etc. I don't know about you, but this HDTV is a pixilating, dropped signal event at my house! Then the new lightbulbs, more fuel to the "change" fire. Take the two desk lamps on the left. I have been looking for WEEKS for the correct halogen bulb to fit that black light. In fact, I paid $6.88 for a bulb no bigger than a thumbnail, and it wasn't right. So, I am going back to the old booklight also pictured. I mentioned earlier how disposal of these mercury laden bulbs is a real problem. I received a 2-page instruction sheet at the REMC meeting containing warnings and proper disposal methods for the new bulbs.

Well, nothing much can be done about any of these changes. I think they are here for awhile anyway. Thank goodness the lady at the boutique makes homemade, smell good soap for a long liesurely bath. Look how she decorates them and wraps them in special tissue and only charges $1 a bar! Now that's something nice for a change.


Houston (or somebody) we have a problem. . . . .

That is my water bottle. Those are the disgusting Asian ladybugs that have become a real problem here in the US. Originally brought in by the agriculture industry to control pests (ahem), one only has to google Asian Ladybug to see all the disgusting details. These disgusting beetles are not only in Indiana, but everywhere. I found the following comments on the internet from disgusted people nationwide:

Hi I live in western ny aprox 42 miles from Buffalo NY and we have so many lady bugs inside. It is pretty pathetic when you have to cover every thing you are cooking on the stove, cover your soda etc. It seems we can kill all that we see and the next day more and more are back replaceing the dead ones and the windows with the sun are a meeting place for them and they love my cream color carpet in the living room also, the past few days the high was 13 degrees and that has not stopped them. I am so disgusted by them all.....Any Ideas please let me know, now that spring is around the corner I don't even want to think how many more we will have

We live in the pacific northwest and we have a huge ladybug issue . We even bug bombed our house in an effort to get rid of them, after the bomb (and the prescribed amount of time you are supposed to stay out of the house) it was literally raining ladybugs inside! GROSS! I swept them up and had a gallon bag of ladybugs. Gross! Sadly this did not take care of the problem and they are still abundant. HELP!

I live in Indiana now, and there were thousands of them around here!! Yes, they stink and bite. I have had them in my bed, and of course, that grosses me out. Crazy, I know, but I spray vinegar on my bed when that happens, and it seems to help. Vinegar is anti-bacterial too.My friends in Kentucky have them too, so they must be across the country!

Since I live on a farm, I am really a target. They are everywhere but rural areas are more susceptible. According to Sylvia Browne, there are no insects "over there". Now that's something to look forward to, huh?


Big Night Out. . . .

My electric is supplied by Henry Co REMC and once a year they hold an annual meeting for all customers to vote on various district officials and lots of other boring stuff. Part of the meeting consists of drawing names and giving away several gift certificates. That must be what draws the crowd because the auditorium at New Castle High School was packed. You also get a $9 credit on your electric bill and this year we received the tote bag at left - going green. We got a nice ballpoint pen that I seem to have misplaced, and the bag contained scratch pads and a couple of those energy saving light bulbs that you need a Hazmat official to dispose of . My neighbors and I attended last year, too. I won a $25 gift certificate to Wal-Mart last year, but nothing this year. The entertainment was really good. We had "the countries funniest farmer". A young comedian from Ohio who told jokes about being a farmer, marriage, etc. I liked him. He was much better than the singing fireman of last year.


Spring is here. . . .

I am happy to say these two chores were completed Friday. I got the grass out front burned...I think the whole point of that is that it will die out in the center if it isn't burned. And the other photo is the window pane I fixed, the top right, so that pesky bird wouldn't be flying in there and leaving little packages all over everything. Further good news for me - I have the Bush Hog on my tractor and even went down to check the trees. Not many weeds yet, but I will be ready when they emerge. I also told the Forester guy to go ahead and spray. Haven't seen him yet. Sure hope all goes well there.
I've been refusing to deal with the pump situation hoping it would go away. I had told my renter to look for another place to live, but instead, he went on a vacation. The neighbor said he figured I'd fix it. Well, I am getting one more estimate, then typing him a letter saying rent is now $450 a month effective April 1st. We'll see how that goes.


Yesterday's find, not on EBAY?

Normally, anything I find, if I check Ebay, it has already been listed at some time or another. This letter wasn't on Ebay but I did find some info on the internet. Apparently it has to do with the Queen and technology - 1918 – the first ever mass communication from a reigning British Monarch is sent out when a letter from George V is reproduced and distributed to all returning prisoners of war using lithography.

My copy of a Letter from King George V to British POW's On Their Release in 1918, reads as follows:

Buckingham Palace
The Queen joins me in welcoming you on your release from the miseries and hardships, which you have endured with so much patience and courage.
During these many months of trial, the early rescue of our gallant officers and men from the cruelties of their captivity has been uppermost in our thoughts.
We are thankful that this longed for day has arrived, and that back in the old Country, you will be able once more to enjoy the happiness of a home and to see good days among those who ansciously look for your return.

/s/ George R. I.
His Majesty King George V of the United Kingdom.
Information about the Document
Date: 1918
From: King George V
To: British POW's - H. Godfrey
Dimensions of Letter: 19 x 24.6 cm

It was found folded up in an old toolbox. I also found a Coca-Cola, wooden-handled tool.....I'm sure it is also quite old. Today I need to do a little, I mean a lot, more organizing in the barn. I will make it a point to list at least 3 more items on the Artfire site.


You think you have problems. . . . .

. . . . .the lady on the left has problems. Yes, I have the garage in order. I spent all day yesterday clearing out my craft closet, organizing supplies and secretly LOOKING for my supply of beach glass. No luck. I will continue my search in the barn where the lady at left resides. I capitalized LOOKING because I spend soooo much time looking for things. Perhaps if I were more organized, did less moving, paid attention to what I was doing, had fewer places to look, or just had less stuff I could spend more time creating and less time searching and maintaining.
It's time for me to get it in gear, head to the barn and begin the spring cleaning there. I only hope I don't get side tracked by all the wonderful things beginning to sprout in my yard. I plan to make and drink nettle tea this year ala Susun Weed. I just got a newsletter from her site and found this link Wise Woman Talking Stick Blog where I could spend too much time. I really enjoyed the comment about a GW Degree.
Another fun place to visit was sent to me by my friend Melanie. Check this out if you really want to know what's going on. http://www.lemondrop.com/ Hope I can figure out how to post links to these permanently on my blog. I did it! The links are on the right....now I can waste more valuable time (yes, the only thing we have of value) on the internet.
Sieze the day!


Getting Ready. . . .

One of the things I accomplished while taking a crafting break was getting the garage in order. I did have kind of a secret agenda. I was looking for a soldering iron and a blow torch. I found both. Now I can try my hand at some metalwork. But before I can get back to crafting and posting to Artfire, I have to figure out how to put the bush hog mower on the tractor. My neighbor took it off for me last year and I had the place where I bought it put it on. So, I'm clueless. I had enough trouble loading the grease gun.
The bottom shelf on the left of the work bench above is a bed for the cat in the winter. It's off the floor, it has a fluffy rug but the cat prefers to sleep on top of one of the cars. I guess I know why. It is closer to the heat duct!

Make a basket. . . .

I drew this button days ago. I had actually started weaving this little piece with the intent that I would wrap a piece of driftwood with it for a necklace. Then the weaving piece disappeared. I finally decided it wasn't meant to be and began doing other things around the farm. I took it as a sign to put away my "playthings" and get to work.

Then today, I finally found the little bit I had started. I think it will probably be a while before I get back to it.

Today's quote: "We need to be willing to let our intuition guide us, and then be willing to follow that guidance directly and fearlessly." - Shakti Gwain. Journal question: Where is your intuition guiding you to go?

By the way, I was in CVS today and saw a Snuggie. That thing they've been selling that you wrap up in to keep warm. The big selling point is that it's like a blanket with arms. To me, it looks like someone has put on their robe backwards! So, my point is - Why not just put on a robe?


Old friends from the good old days. . . .

That's me, 2nd from the left with the frowny face and wearing a sheath dress I made - I forgot I was crafty even back then. Isn't the BIG Yellow ribbon a nice touch? This is from the days when girls had to wear dresses to shcool. I see my friend Cindy and I are both carrying the oh-so-popular Bucket Bag. We were 8th graders in this photo. I did try to call an old friend today. Either I dialed wrong, or she has moved on, because the sleepy voice on the other end informed me no one there I was looking for. Kind of the story of my life. People move on, I move backward.
Quote for today: "The only way to have a friend is to be one." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson. So many lonely people in the world, but do we do anything to reach out to them? I just recently started making it a point to call my 86-year-old aunt daily. At first I didn't know if we would have that much to talk about. But now, I look forward to the calls. So, the journal question: What have you done recently to be a friend?
Anyone have favorite "friends" quote?


Another day, another . . . . .

I went to the library today and although I didn't find any money floating around, seeing this delightful arbor made from old doors was another kind of treat. It is really beautiful in the summer with vines and blooming flowers. This family has several other artsy displays with antiques in their yard. Kind of gives you Spring Fever.
Today's button: Loose a DOLLAR where someone else will find it. The quote: "If you die with a dollar in your pocket, you've made a dollar too much." - Pappy at the Old Mill flea market. Journal question: What is your definition of wealth?

I think I will leave my dollar at one of those McDonalds that have a place for the kids to play. They would be excited to find some folding money. Shoot, I remember I got excited seeing a bill blow across a busy highway, turned the vehicle around, parked and chased it down. . . .it was only $1. But, I have found other money. Recently, $20 on the casino floor. Another time, years ago in Las Vegas, several bills ($100) again on the casino floor. Should I have held it up and said, "Did someone loose this?" I really think whoever it belonged to was walking through, put money in their pocket and when they removed their hand, the money fell out. They were long gone by the time they realized it was missing. Once, while i was working at a casino, a young lady turned in a bucket of tokens she had found abandoned on a machine. She was asked to leave the bucket for so many days to see if anyone reported loosing their tokens. They did not. She came back the required time later, no one had claimed the money and they gave the tokens to her. ......almost $300. Are we all that careless with our cash? I guess it pays to keep your eyes open.

For example, not long ago, three Indiana state highway workers picking up trash along I-70 found a little something extra inside an abandoned tire: more than $100,000 in cash. http://www.indy.com/posts/indiana-highway-workers-find-100-000-in-abandoned-tire
By the way, a definition of True Wealth that I connect with is: True Wealth = time to do what you want to do with no money worries It fits with another of my beliefs: Time is the only thing we have of value.
So, Sieze the Day


March 11 - Decorate a hat (cont'd). . . .

Well, I decorated a hat. Who says baseball caps aren't feminine?
The quote for today: "Always leave enough time in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, even joyous. That has more of an effect on economic well-being than any other single factor." - Paul Hawken
The journal question: Do you allow joy for the sake of joy into your life?
Visit my Artfire shop: http://panacea.artfire.com/

Mom - decorate a hat. . . .

I was a little taken aback when the *button I picked for today said "Decorate a HAT". Why? Because today is my mother's birthday and anyone who knew her, knew she loved hats. I have boxes, and boxes of them to prove it. Old ones, very old ones, new ones, funny ones, beautiful ones - all kinds. She decorated the one in this photo to wear while touring - another pasttime - in one of the antique cars owned by her companion John E. Smith. This picture of her was taken in 1990, she passed away in 2001.

So, okay, Mom, I'll decorate a hat just for the fun of it. Thanks for coming through to me. Much love to you on your birthday.

*The button thing is related to Julia Cameron and the Artist's Way Creativity kit explained in an earlier post on 3/8/09.

My Hat in the next post. . .



It's a typical week at the Shang-ra-la. The guy came out to give an estimate for spraying the trees planted in the conservation program. He thought $1600 might take care of them. I guess he thinks Money grows on those Trees.

Then, my renter said he thought his pump was going out. I've charged him $250 a month for 8 years to live there.....and I guess he likes it. Anyway, the estimate for a new pump and some "up to code" work needed, was $1400 to $1600. . . . $1600, that must be the new going rate, used to be around $1,000..........my tax accountant said I was only realizing about $650 a year from that place because of higher property taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc......I told the renter he needs to look for another place to live.......

So, if they don't charge an arm and a leg for the supplies I need to have my tractor readied for bush hogging and mowing (some of the fun I have here at the Shang-ra-la ) maybe I'll stop at McDonalds for something from the dollar menu.
Quote for the Day: "Expect your every need to be met, expect the answer to every problem, expect abundance on every level, expect to grow spiritually." - Eillen Caddy. The only one I'm really sure of here. . . . . . . a lot of spiritual growth.
And, the journal topic. . . . . Are you open to spiritual assistance in your creative life?


Everyday objects as art

The object on the left is made from recycled materials - bottle caps and tops, copper wire and recycled materials. It is part of a group exhibition on display at the Indianapolis Art Center.
In fact, they are looking for a name for this piece: Please help us name this piece. Give us your suggestions for a title and feel free to write a story about the artwork and place in the donation box at the front entrance. The title will be chosen by the donors. Thanks!
I thought about going to see what was being created from everyday objects, reused or recycled materials, but from the looks of the other featured items at the website Indianapolis Art Center: Exhibitions - it may not be the kind of repurposed items that interest me.
My trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art earlier this year, was very enjoyable and I hope to return to visit the garden area this summer. Since I truly love the Native American influence, I would like to visit the Eiteljorg, too.
The quote for today: "Each painting has its own way of evolving. . . when the painting is finished, the subject reveals itself." William Baziotes. I've been looking at the work of art above and waiting for something to reveal itself. I see a face, but don't we see faces in everything? Journal Question: Are you willing to be a work in process?


Recycled record albums . . . . .

A "green addition" to your jewelry collection might include a necklace made from old vinyl records. Two examples are shown here. I definitely have a supply of old records, but I don't think I have the tools to do all the intricate cutting. As an alternative, this article suggests ordering pendants from Alarm industries http://vlingvling.com/ and they certainly have some nice items.

The little button in the photo that says "Teach someone something" is from the "Artist's Way Creativity Kit" by Julia Cameron. The kit contains stacks of these little cardboard buttons with creative tasks geared toward spontaneity and play to help overcome creative blocks and realize creative potential. Ms Cameron also suggests quote collecting and taking time to explore and write about the creative philosphy behind each quote. So for today, a quote from John Holt, "We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way." and the journal question: "If you let yourself be a beginner, what might you learn to do?"


Nature sculpture. . .

It was such a wonderful, warm day. Just right for a walk in the woods to view nature's art. "No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination." - Edward Hopper. Where can you take your imagination today?


Was it THAT gray?

The photo on the left was taken after the one on the right and after I started using the hair color. I've been thinking of letting my hair go back to its natural color. However, I don't think GRAY was my natural color......decisions, decisions, decisions.


New interest, steampunk. . . .

Like it says in my artfire bio, I like to dabble with all forms of artistic expression. Steampunk has piqued my interest of late. Here are a few of the items I've been collecting with hopes of creating a piece of jewelry in that style. I am also on the lookout for a blowtorch and a few other necessary tools. The barn is the first place I will look. That place is loaded with "stuff".

Here's where to visit my Artfire site: http://panacea.artfire.com/ I hope to have something "Steampunk" there soon.


Trees in, trees out. . . .

Today I find out the state of Indiana has decided to clear along the creek on my property. Well, fine. That's great. Last year I planted 21 acres of trees in this area in a conservation program sponsored by Indiana. Now they are out there paying someone to cut trees down. As you can see in the picture, they left all kinds of debris in my field - ON TOP OF THE TREES I PLANTED. The surveyor - whose office this all came from - was out this afternoon to access the damage. We'll be having more conversation tomorrow.


The life of a gypsy, hmmmm.........

The gypsy life is starting to have a little more appeal to me. Didn't they have everything they owned in a wagon, play music, dance and camp under the stars? Well, being a responsible tax paying, homeowning, blah, blah, blah isn't what it used to be.

I've spent most of the day sorting papers and organizing. I have my info ready to go to the tax preparer and am afraid I will have to pay this year. I also received my annual letter saying it is time to raise my health insurance premium. YIKES.....I pay $340 a month now, but they want $409! (I am also getting all my insurance info together, having another agent check it out.) I put together some spreadsheets to track my expenses and hopefully make tax time easier next year. But, really, I don't think it was such a good idea.....In plain black and white, for one little old lady:

Insurance premiums = $8,320 (farm,homeowners, car and health)

Taxes on property = $5414 (doesn't include 2nd half of farm paid Jan 09) - more of course when you count IRS and State taxes

Propane for farm = $2,716 (it's freezing cold in this house even after the $5000 spent on new windows) electric bill not included here, so add more

Heat & Utilities for house in Aurora = $2000 (will it ever sell?)

That's right. . .$16,450 up in heat fumes, taxes, and insurance..........not one little thing to show for any of this money. Not even a candy bar!