Archive | February, 2013

Wednesday: Just Watching the World Go By

28 Feb


Did you ever have one of those days where you just didn’t feel like doing a single solitary thing? It’s 10pm, and if it wasn’t for being garbage day, I’d still be in my jammies. I actually contemplated taking the trash cans out in my bathrobe, but it was too cold out. I wasn’t tired, just feeling lazy. I did muster up the energy to set out some paints, brushes, and several glass vases on the kitchen table, but it’s all still sitting there waiting for inspiration and motivation. Maybe tomorrow.

The dogs and I watched a lot of TV, checked emails, and scanned the newspaper most the day. Well, the dogs didn’t check emails, although the puppy did try to grab my iPad a few times. Speaking of puppies, I did mange to get my cardio workout by chasing him around the house all day yelling, “Drop that! Drop it, now!” He steals everything, and he’s fast, and he’s big. Then, he scratches at the door every thirty seconds wanting to go out. Thirty seconds later, he stands up, pushing on the door handle with his front paws, and opens the door. He saunters back in, leaving the door wide open. This goes on approximately five hundred times a day. Really! At least five hundred times.

Maybe I’m not really lazy, I’m just exhausted from all the puppy shenanigans. The good thing is, he’ll grow out of this stage in a couple years. Yikes!

“In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.”
― W.H. Auden



Tuesday at Town Square Buzz

27 Feb

Technology is not exactly my cup of tea, but I’m slowly getting into the 20th century. Yes, I said 20th. I’m catching up slowly, still stuck somewhere between 1981 and 1999. If it wasn’t for my husband and two grown sons, I’d still be typing on my old Smith Corona. My 2011 Christmas present of an iPad sat in the box for three months before I opened it up. I was afraid. Now, we are inseperable.

They say that newspapers are becoming obsolete. We still subscribe to the Dallas Morning news, but I get the majority, well, actually all my local McKinney news online at Town Square Buzz. That’s pretty tech savvy, isn’t it? It comes automatically to my magic iPad every day. I can find out anything from what roads are closed to what events are happening on the Square.

The best part about Town Square Buzz is the people. Everyone is like family, well, some are family, but all are devoted to their community, reporting news, events, and all that makes our city amazing. So, when the home-based online newspaper decided to open an office on the Square in downtown McKinney, I knew I had to be there for the grand opening today.

A constant crowd of support walked the red carpet at 201 N. Kentucky St. this evening. I ran into dozens of neighbors and friends, and made a few new friends today.

When friends ask me, “How did you know about that?” I reply, “Everything I need to know about McKinney, I’ve found on Town Square Buzz.” Congratulations TSB! Great party!








Maintenance Monday: The Dust of Everyday Life

26 Feb

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
Pablo Picasso

Maintenance Monday is a cool term I borrowed from my friend Karen. She likes to set Monday aside to do the majority of her household tasks like laundry, paying bills, vacuuming, etc. Personally, I don’t have a particular day scheduled for housework. I do like to wait until my husband is around. This way, I make sure he knows I actually do something around the house, not just play tennis and go out to lunch.

The thing about housework is, it really isn’t anything noticeable. Does anyone ever say, “Oh, wow! You dusted today?” My husband has never said, “Look at that! You washed all the dishes and pots and pans.” No, all those things go unnoticed. The bad part is, I notice all those things.

My tennis drill was cancelled this morning, so I sat in front of the TV with a cup of tea and a guilty conscience. When I have tennis, we drill for an hour with the coach, and then stay and play an hour or so. By the time I get home, well, it’s time for lunch. After lunch, I need to put my feet up and rest after all that exertion. You see where I’m going with this? The day just flies by and I don’t get anything done.

No excuse today. The house has been so darn dusty lately, that I decided to tackle the biggest dust catcher known to man. I have a large 3-tiered shelf in the kitchen where I display my collectible tea pots and antique tea cups. And boy, I have a lot of them. I dreaded the thought of cleaning each and every piece, but the thick dust was driving me crazy.

I was up for the challenge, so I removed every single cup, saucer, and tea pot, carefully washing, rinsing and drying each piece. I dusted, washed and polished the shelf unit. Then, you know how one thing leads to another? I decided to dust the window blinds and floor boards while I was in the mood. It was an all day event, but now I feel good. When you have a clean house and a clean slate, your soul is happy.

No one will ever notice, but I’ll smile every time I pass the clean shelves. Well, at least for a few months, until it’s all dusty and grimly again. Now, I can get some artwork done. My everyday life is dusted from my soul.






Sit Back and Relax Sunday: Watching The Oscars

25 Feb

While most of the country is sitting back and watching the Oscars, I’m taking a few moments (only during commercials, of course) to share my favorite Black Russian cocktail recipe with you. Well, never mind. Not waiting for commercials anymore. Half an hour into the Oscars, the jokes, musical number about boobs, and making out with the flying nun, I’m already pretty disappointed.

Anyway, my favorite alcoholic beverage is a Black Russian. But, the way I make it, it’s more like a dessert. Also, if you enjoy it, just ask your favorite bartender to make one up special for you. Remember folks…Drink responsibly. My hand up to God, I NEVER drink and drive.

Because I don’t measure, use recipes, or follow directions, I use my own measurements and terms.
Note: Glug- a Glug is the sound that the liquor bottle makes when you are pouring. Take a listen, it does go Glug, Glug, Glug.

Toni’s Blockbuster Black Russian

1 cocktail glass of your choice (the bigger, the better)
2 scoops of your favorite chocolate ice cream (I like rocky road, the almonds are rich in vitamin E and loaded with fiber, adding the nutritional benefits.)
3 glugs of Kahlúa
3 glugs of Vodka
Add a a little stirrer straw to mix, sip, and enjoy.








Sidecar Saturday

24 Feb

Being fairly new to the the world of blogging and fairly old, well, just in general, I’ve met some very interesting and talented people out there in cyberspace. I love to share my profound words of wisdom, tremendous tips and awesome artistic talent, (not to mention modesty), but sometimes I run across other creative souls that are inspiring. I’ve been following Sethsnap on WordPress. I have no idea what his last name is and I’m not positive where he lives, but one thing I do know is, he is an amazing photographer. He shares his daily photos with the world, and once a week, he asks his followers to share their thoughts, stories or poems inspired by his photos.

I am always inspired by his spectacular photographs and wanted to share his photo for this week’s challenge, and my inspired poem. Just Google him, or check him out on Facebook.


A sturdy oak with branches bare
Protects the schoolhouse standing there
With memories of days gone by
A child’s laugh, a lover’s sigh
With stones as strong as time itself
A wooden floor, an empty shelf
If walls could talk, they’d surely say
“Please bring the children, stop by and play.”

Footloose and Fancy-Free Friday

23 Feb

Some days I just feel downright lazy. It’s 9 pm and I’m multi-tasking. The television is on, I’m checking emails, and trying to figure out what to write today. Do I HAVE TO write every day? No! But, I really like to challenge myself to see if I can find something interesting to write about every day. I like to think that each day is a gift and full of wonders. Maybe not so interesting, but always wonderful.

This morning, I went to the store to buy fixin’s for tomato barley soup to take for art group. I recently read that barley was healthy and it’s Lent. Some of my senior artists are Catholic, so no meat today. I never follow recipes or like to get complicated, so I just cooked a cup of barley, added six cans of tomato soup, and jazzed it up with garlic powder and a dash of oil from the jalepeño jar for flavor. Also took fixin’s for garlic bread. (I enjoy saying fixin’s)

I arrived around 2:30, and after we ate, we worked on more footloose and fancy-free Zentangles. It’s basically a fancy name for doodling, but very relaxing and meditative. So, another lazy, low-key Friday.

Here are some photos of what we’ve been working on.






Theme Song Thursday: It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

22 Feb

The day started off cold and rainy. Miraculously, the dreary morning was replaced by a glorious afternoon. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun forced pedestrians to remove their jackets and don their sunglasses. It was “a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”

Speaking of neighborhoods and neighbors, today was the Empty Bowls fundraiser at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in McKinney. My senior art group completed 25 painted bowls for the big day, and now I’d get to see our bowls and all the others displayed. I heard there were over 225 donated bowls.

What an amazing turnout! The community was out in full force to support feeding the hungry. St. Peter’s is tucked away in the middle of a charming historic neighborhood. Many locals walked over for the event. I ran into dozens of friends. A lot of smiling, laughing, and hugging was exchanged. Each guest received a bowl of delicious soup provided by several local restaurants, a slice of bread, and a beverage.

I picked out a lovely hand-built coil bowl with a simple tree sketched on the front. The empty bowls are to remind us of the many people who still go hungry every day. But, it was also a great reminder that neighbors and friends who gather together to help their community, are blessed many-fold. Thus, I was reminded that it was “a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”







Wednesday: Words of Wisdom

21 Feb

Words of wisdom for today, or any day, for that matter: “Home is not where you live, but where you are understood.” Christian Morganstern

I no longer live in the city where I was born and spent most of my life. Chicago is home and it’s “my kind of town,” as the song goes, but now, we live in Texas. From the time we moved to McKinney in ’04, the people and the city welcomed us with open arms. I like to think that I will always bloom where I’m planted, but sometimes the soil makes a difference. I made wonderful new friends, joined a tennis team, started writing, worked on my art, and changed my life. McKinney is where I live, where I have blossomed, and where I am understood. I’m home!






Tuesday: Tips and Time-Honored Traditions

20 Feb

Traditions may be passed down from generation to generation, or they might be created in the blink of an eye. I had the good fortune of being raised by a creative, artistic mother who loved to make handmade gifts, homemade note cards and knew her way around a sewing machine. Not all these attributes were passed down. I couldn’t thread a needle or sew on a button if my life depended on it, but I do love to create, design, and paint handmade gifts. That is our family tradition.

A few days ago, I shared photos of some wine flutes that I painted for a gift, but you didn’t get to see what I planned on doing with them. Well, I wasn’t too sure how I was going to present them either. I wanted to give the dozen flutes and a bottle of champagne as a wedding shower gift, but didn’t want to put the glasses back in the tacky box they came in. How could I make the gift special? After spending a couple hours going through my personal warehouse of craft and art supplies, I came up with the perfect solution. What do you think?

The tip I have for you today is…honor your family traditions, and if you don’t have any, then create your own.




Just Another Manic Monday: True Confessions

19 Feb

I have to make a confessIon. It’s been a deep dark secret for many years, and I can’t hide it anymore. My dearest friends and closest family members have suspected for a long time, but I can’t seem to stop. I’m not sure if there’s a support group or medication that can help me. At this point, I really don’t care. Here we go… I am a…a…a craftaholic! There…I said it!

Today was President’s Day, and there were some serious sales going on at all the stores. My hands trembled as I flipped through the sale ads, tossing the Macy’s and Walmart ads to the floor. Where is it? Where is it? Pages went flying through the air until I found the familiar black and white cursive letters Ahh! The Michaels sale paper. Michaels, Where Creativity Happens. That’s what the headline says, must be true. I was “manic.”

Mania is defined as excessive excitement, a derivative of the Greek word for madness. Yes, it was sheer madness. There in the upper left hand column were the words that all craftaholics fear. Large red print…25% off entire purchase including sale items. Oh no! Not including sale items!

I slurped down my cup of tea, let the dogs out, and grabbed the car keys. The Michaels’ parking lot was jammed with other closet craftaholics. Why closet craftaholics? Well, if they are anything like me, they sneak their purchases in through the back door when no one is looking, then hide the overflowing bags in the closet.

The shelves were teeming with bargains. My not so mathematical mind was humming while trying to calculate the 40% off regular price with additional 25% off as I snailed down every aisle. I shoveled paper, paints, stencils, and stamps into the cart, put a couple things back on the shelf, then back in the cart. “It’s on sale! How can I pass this up?”

I was really excited ( remember, mania is excessive excitement) that I didn’t have to sneak in the house when I got home. I set all my fabulous finds on the kitchen counter and admired the brilliant colors and amazing bargains. There wasn’t one single item on that counter that I needed. Craftaholics don’t buy craft supplies that they need, they just have a need to buy craft supplies.

Today was just another MANIC MONDAY! Help!