Saturday:) Some More of My Amazing Reverse Glass Painting

18 Jun

“Sometimes I’m so creative that I even amaze myself. Did I say that out loud.🤦‍♀️👩🏻‍🎨”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I love to give and receive handmade gifts, so when our good friend Jerry had a birthday coming up, I decided that I needed to make something special. Because he really loved the African themed bowl that I donated to the Empty Bowls Charity this year, I decided to create something similar. Jerry actually went to the charity event last month in hopes of being the high bidder in the auction, but the bowl was already up to $400. Crazy!

I found a goodly sized clear glass bowl at the thrift store. Another thing I like to do is purchase items at thrift stores, repurpose them, and give them a new spectacular life. Trash to treasure.

OK, funny story. We were meeting Jerry for a birthday lunch on Wednesday. So when do I decide to start painting this very intricate project? Yep! Tuesday night. 🤦‍♀️ All the different layers have to dry a couple of hours so, I only got the first layer of black done before I went to bed around 2am. I woke up before 8 so I could continue painting. I finished painting by 11, but I didn’t have time to bake it in a 350° oven to cure, so I set it outside in the scorching Texas heat for an hour to dry. 🤦‍♀️ Same Difference, right? I do tend to procrastinate. I was just hoping it was good and dry when I placed it in the birthday gift bag and off to lunch at 12:30. 🤦‍♀️ Needles to say, Jerry loved his one-of-a-kind hand painted gift. ❤️

First I clean the glass with alcohol, and paint the outside with black FolkArt Enamel paint, made for glass. Because this may be used for food, I painted only the outside. Thus, reverse painting.
I used a foam makeup sponge to dab on the variegated colors from red to orange to yellow on top of the black figures. You have to work fast so you can blend the colors evenly while still moist.
Here’s the tricky part. Now, I have to paint the trees and animals in black again over the variegated red-Orange paint. I could see through it a little bit, but it wasn’t easy. So now you can see the black painting from the inside and outside of the bowl. (Outside view)

Inside view. Amazing, right?

There’s a quick time-lapse video below that shows the technique. You should watch it, it’s less than 30 seconds.

https://youtube.com/shorts/DYPdWXO_w3g?feature=share

Happy AMAZING Saturday, my friends.

Friday:) More Furry and Feathered Friends, and a Do-over Funeral 🤦‍♀️

18 Jun

“Say not in grief that he is no more but live in thankfulness that he was.”

—HEBREW PROVERB

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“If you start off the day right, nothing can go wrong.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I’ve been listening to all these podcasts, webinars, Ted Talks, and YouTube self-help videos for a couple of years. Covid hibernation prompted a need to expand my brain. Oh man! My brain is about to explode! I’ve learned so much and probably have forgotten half of it. 🤦‍♀️

Yesterday, I listened to a podcast from the Center for Brainhealth. It focused on preventing or reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s. I took notes and jotted down some major points. Some factors that intrigued me were that exercise or the brain and body, and healthy eating were important. Well, we all knew that, but how to implement them is another story. You need to make a plan, write it down, set goals, execute, and improve your goals. One thing they stressed was getting up early and starting your day with a positive attitude, exercise, and good nutrition. Yikes! I don’t go to sleep till 1 or 2 am, and sleep in till 10. 🤦‍♀️

So, this morning, I was up before 8, did my crunches, listened to my Formed Gospel reading, said my novena, checked emails, and was out the door for my walk before 9 am. Cool! Well, actually warm. It was already hot out. And, when I got home, I started a new notebook with my intentions and results. Over 4,000 steps this morning.

On my journey, the horse across Wilmeth was out grazing. This wasn’t my usual friendly guy. This furry guy totally ignored me.

“No, I’m not goin’ over there, lady!”

As I continued my walk, I went over to the tree where I had laid my poor cardinal friend to rest under a tree by the pond. It was last Friday that I found him mangled in the street. He wasn’t where I placed him. I looked around and saw him a few feet away. Little bugs were crawling all over him, but he was still in tact. I decided that he needed a proper burial this time, and in some way that he won’t be disturbed, so he can decompose and become one with the earth.

I placed him next to a more distant, more shady tree. Then, I sprinkled some mulch over him, then gathered pebbles and stones to protect him from the elements and predators.

“Unique to Jewish tradition, however, is the custom of placing pebbles, stones, and small rocks on Jewish graves.” (Google.)

I placed a final large stone over him as a proper headstone marker. “Say not in grief that he is no more but live in thankfulness that he was.”

The rest of my day was lovely. I guess it’s true, if you start off the day right, nothing can go wrong.

Now, for my customary Black Russian Friday to end my evening.

Happy Friday, my friends.

Thankful Thursday:) Fabulous Friends, Feeling Blessed, Life is Good

17 Jun

Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

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What a fabulous group of Friends I have. It seems like every day, there’s something to do, someone to visit with, and don’t get me started on how many lunches I have on my calendar. I am blessed with friends galore.

Yesterday, a few of us gathered for lunch to celebrate Jerry’s birthday. He’s a busy guy, so it’s not easy to pin him down. We had a nice lunch at Uncorked, and we were the only ones in the place, so it made it very nice. We could get rowdy. You know how old folks get rowdy. I was especially excited to give Jerry a very special gift that I made for him. He loved it. (I’ll show that another time along with a time-lapse video.🤦‍♀️👩🏻‍🎨)

Jerry’s the handsome gentleman in red.

Today, I had lunch with my old friend, Zelda. Well, she’s not old. We’ve just been friends for about 18 years or so. One of my first friends in McKinney. We met playing tennis in 2014. It takes a good friend to put up with my tennis game and be my partner. My favorite call on the court was, “YOURS!”

We don’t play tennis anymore, but we still manage to meet for lunch occasionally. And when the check comes, I usually say, “YOURS!” (Just kidding.)

After lunch, I stopped over to visit with Helene. I just saw her yesterday at lunch, but she lived just down the street from Palio’s. So, why not!

Miss Helene is up to her ears in boxes, getting ready to move. I didn’t offer to help, but I did offer to chat a while, distract her from her chores, and take her mind off her packing for a while.

On the way home, I stopped at Walmart. Guess who I ran into? Miss Zelda was there doing some shopping. I didn’t run into any more friends there. Unusual.

After I got home, I went across the street to Miss Kathy’s to get my instructions for kitty sitting tomorrow. Her cats love Miss Toni. I also appreciate them checking on my yard to make sure there are no mice or other annoying critters. That’s what kitty friends are for.

My life is good. Feeling blessed.

Wednesday:)Words of Wisdom From My Fabulous Facebook Friends

16 Jun

“There’s no better advice than words of wisdom from your fabulous friends.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I always enjoy sharing words of wisdom as posted on Facebook by my many awesome and clever friends.

Happy Wednesday, my friends.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tip of the Day~A Kind Word Goes A Long Way

15 Jun


“Out of all the magic words in existence, kind words produce the most powerful transformation spells.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich

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Well, it’s pretty hot here in Texas. My sister was saying last week that she was cold up in Illinois, and jokingly asked could I send her up some of my heat. Oops, be careful what you ask for because today she was warmer than we were. I did say, “See, be careful what you wish for.” 🤦‍♀️

I met Helene at 1 pm for Taco Tuesday at Nom Nom. A big group of Fire Station 5 guys came in for lunch, so I shouted across the room, “Hi, Station 5 guys!” They waved back and a few familiar faces smiled. Gosh I haven’t been by with brownies or cupcakes in a few weeks. 🤦‍♀️ Helene and I chatted with Miss Rosa who works back in the kitchen. I practiced my Spanish and she practiced her English. But, we speak the same universal language of a smile and kind words.

We stopped at Tom Thumb so I could get some more bananas on sale. 29c a pound. I’ve been freezing them for my smoothies. Miss Suzi checked us out and she mentioned that because several freezers were broken, we could use our coupon for a free cauliflower pizza next time we come in, just go to her lane next time we’re in. I forgot about that.

(Tip #)1 When fruit is on sale, buy a lot and freeze for smoothies. (Tip #2)I read somewhere that if you put the banana peels in water for a couple of days, the strained liquid is an excellent fertilizer for plants with good nutrients. Win-win. Smoothies and plant fertilizer. I guess if you have a compost pile, you could use the remaining peels. I don’t compost. My yard is too small and I’d have bugs and rats and snakes and yucky creatures in there. 🤦‍♀️

I stopped at Independent Bank across the street. I got locked out of my online banking because I entered the wrong password too many times. 🤦‍♀️ (Old age) The young lady was able to help me and walk me through it. I also asked her to transfer $5 from my checking to my savings because they locked that down too because it was inactive for a year. It’s a savings. It’s supposed to sit there, right?

Miss Elizabeth was very kind and patient. No one else was in the bank, so we chatted about CD’s, the weather, and family, etc. I said, “OK Miss Elizabeth, selfie time.” We never met before, but she will remember Miss Toni and I’ll remember Miss Elizabeth. (People remember kind words and kind people.)
I stopped at Kroger on my way home. Why, you might ask? Well, today was the last day of the sale on strawberries 99c a container, limit 5. Guess how many I bought? Yep-5. The lady behind me In line at the registers said, “Hey, I’ll be over for strawberry shortcake.” I said that I was going to freeze them for smoothies. I told her that Tom Thumb had bananas on sale. Then we proceeded to share tips about fruit and vegetables. (Tip #4) I told Miss Sally about putting aluminum foil or plastic wrap on the end of the banana bunches to last longer. (Tip #5) Miss Sally told me that if you take that nubby belly button end off the avocado that they last longer. (Tip #6) I told Miss Sally that I buy avocados on sale, scoop out the flesh, add a little lemon and freeze in a small sandwich bag for guacamole later. We had a nice chat and shared a lot of tips. (Kind Words can make new friends)
Yes, freeze your sale bananas, strawberries and avocados.

(Tip #7) Have a kind word and a smile for everyone and you will receive them right back.

“Out of all the magic words in existence, kind words produce the most powerful transformation spells.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich

Happy Tuesday, my friends.

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

14 Jun

“Words alone are weak compared to photos in a Peek.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Another fun and busy week. Hmm? I was just thinking, have I ever had a slow and boring week? Nope!

A week in a peek…

Sunday Sermon and Some Other Stuff

13 Jun

“Science tells me God must exist. My mind tells me that I will ever understand God. And my heart tells me I am not meant to.”~ Dan Brown

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Well folks, it’s officially really hot here in North Texas. Thank God for air conditioning. Literally, it was nice and cool inside St. Gabriel this morning. I think we were all thankful. I remember growing up in the 50’s and 60’s when the churches and schools did not have air conditioning.

Today is Trinity Sunday. This made me smile because my sweet angel Mother was named Trinidad because she was born and baptized around Trinity Sunday back in the 20’s. (Look at that smile)

Today’s Gospel Jesus explains to His disciples that they will not fully understand everything now, but they will be guided.

Jn 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you.”

My take on it… this is a perfect analogy for our faith and our life. We may not understand everything presented to us, but if we are patient, we will be guided.

After Mass, there was a meeting for the Welcome Ministry, which has been slow to get back to full speed since Covid. I miss greeting at the door before Mass. Hopefully we will get back into full swing again soon.

Then, we had a nice brunch at Jerry’s house. Patricia made a yummy breakfast, and we visited with friends and family.

Then, I scooted over to the Square to meet my old friend Liz who was in town just for a couple of days. We were I. A writing group together probably ten years ago. We had a nice visit and walked around the square. We had to pop into a shop every few minutes because it was so dang hot out there.

One of my favorite shops, Fair and Square Imports. They have the coolest stuff.
Great gift ideas.
Goodies Texas Candy shop.
It was a nice afternoon, even though it was a bit warm. 113° in my car.

Yes, thank God for air conditioner.🙏 Happy Sunday, my friends.

Saturday:) Some More Sanctuary Sketches

12 Jun

“People who want you in their lives, respect you whether you are grapes or fine wine.”
― Sanita Belgrave

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Thursday afternoon, I stopped over at St. Gabriel for Adoration in the chapel, followed by some sketching in the main sanctuary,

There are three arched windows on either side of the altar, way up high where you can barely see the detail. I always take a picture so I can zoom in and see a little more detail.
I chose the more detailed one of the three. Hmm? Maybe the cloud grouping would have been easier. 🤦‍♀️👩🏻‍🎨

I usually sketch for a couple of hours, then I finish the rest at home on Saturday.

There were a lot of little grapes that had to be drawn in several times because I use a tiny bit of Kleenex to shade and soften, which requires redrawing each line. Then… for the fun part… my Artisto app on my phone transforms the simple sketch into a burst of color. Cool!
The mosaic is usually my favorite.
Well, these are most of my favorites. It’s always exciting to see what turns up.

Friday:) Farewell Funeral For A Feathered Friend

10 Jun

“Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. “– The Dalai Lama

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I don’t have any pets of my own right now, as I spent way too many years taking care of great big ol’ dogs that I never was even consulted on their purchase. They just were brought home. Now, I’m enjoying my non-furry freedom. Don’t get me wrong, I love animals and they certainly love me, but it’s nice to be able to come and go and travel without vets and boarding and walking and the ever popular, endless piles of poop.

Miss Kathy’s cats love me and visit daily, and I get to kitty sit when she travels. Mr. Mike’s Bella was always over when he traveled, but he’s moved away, so I see her rarely. And don’t forget, I’m the Cardinal whisperer. I talk to the birds when I’m out walking every day.

Here comes the sad part. I went for an early morning walk, before the heat set in. It’s 96° now, feels like 105°. I started my walk when it was only 83° this morning. I had made a couple of loops around the pond when I noticed something red in the street near the curb. Oh no! It was a beautiful cardinal. It lay there lifeless and broken. My heart ached.

I checked to see if he was still alive or breathing. He looked too mangled and lifeless. I was especially sad because I wondered if he was my friendly cardinal that would always whistle a happy song from the trees as I passed on my walks. I’d whistle back, and he’d reply. Poor thing.
I know it looks morbid to show a photo of a dead bird, but he was so beautiful, and I didn’t want him to be left in the street to get run over, mangled even more. I’m lucky that there are several doggie stations with plastic bags around the pond. I walked back and grabbed one, then carefully picked up the colorful creature.
It wouldn’t be right to throw him in the trash. So, I gently laid him to rest on the shady back side of a tall tree where he wouldn’t be seen from the sidewalk. I know his remains might be discovered by some other creature, but that is the nature of nature. But, I’m hoping that my crimson feathered friend might decompose and become one with the earth, become part of nature once again. No creature, great or small, should have lived unloved and unmourned. ❤️

Farewell my feathered friend.

Thankful Thursday:) Miss Gilda Garza 😇

10 Jun

“If Angels up in heaven can smile, I know for sure that Miss Gilda Garcia Garza has a great big grin on her face today.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I recently heard that the McKinney City Council was considering renaming the aquatic center after after my friend Gilda Garza. Today, when I read that the motion was approved, I was so pleased that the city of McKinney is honoring this dear sweet lady, former lifetime McKinney resident, and City Council Member. I know you are smiling up there in heaven, Amiga.

Always smiling.
My favorite story about Miss Gilda is the time we met for lunch on the Square and she said, “Toni, hop in my car. I’m gonna take you for a ride around my hood.” She drove me just a few blocks away to the east-side of McKinney. She showed me where the day laborers stand outside and wait for people to drive by and pick them up for hourly labor jobs. She drove past some old abandon buildings and some small rundown homes with streets lined with potholes that could swallow up a Volkswagen. Then, we drove past modest homes with tiny porches where dark haired children laughed and played, and over to the guarded and gated Job Corp facility where she worked.

After driving around awhile she leaned over and said, “Does this neighborhood make you nervous?” I replied with a grin, “You do realize, Miss Gilda, that I grew up on the south-side of Chicago, right? Looks like my old neighborhood.” We both giggled and after that, we shared a very special bond. (Missing you and your lovely smile, Miss Gilda.😇)

City of McKinney renames aquatic center for former Councilwoman
At the recommendation of the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Advisory Board of the City of McKinney, City Council has approved the renaming of Old Settler’s Aquatic Center to the Gilda Garcia Garza Aquatic Center.

A lifelong resident of McKinney, Garza was elected to City Council in 2000 and re-elected twice. She was instrumental in the development of a city aquatic facility in District 1, now named in her honor. Shortly after her passing, Mayor George Fuller designated May 16, 2019, Council Woman Gilda Garcia Garza Day to recognize her dedication to the community and public service.

The facility is located at 1101 E. Louisiana St. The name change will go into effect immediately, while new signage will be installed in the coming months.

A little information about my friend Gilda. April 18, 1950- May 8, 2019

Gilda Garcia Garza of McKinney, Texas passed away May 8, 2019 at the age of 69. She was born April 18, 1950 to Raymond Earl Garcia and Maria Del Carmel (Urbano) Garcia in McKinney, Texas. Gilda was a 1968 graduate of McKinney High School. She continued her education at National Training Institute of Technology and Business College in South Dallas studying Computer Automation and attended Collin College majoring in Business Management. Gilda worked in administration for twenty years for North Texas Job Corps, a Department of Labor training program before her retirement in 2016. As a native of McKinney, Gilda contributed and served her city in many capacities. She was a member and served as a local and national officer for the McKinney LULAC Chapter #608 for many years. In 2000, Gilda was elected to the McKinney City Council, as the first Hispanic female to be elected to city government, and was re-elected twice, the maximum terms allowed. She ran simply because her District needed representation. She served District 1, which she felt had been neglected, specifically its infrastructure. She’ll never forget when a council member drove her around her district, one street after another, and together, they prioritized which street needed the most work. She also recalled standing up for her district when council proposed a new community pool. Thanks to her, the children on the east side of McKinney got their pool. Gilda was a lifetime member of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in McKinney