December 21

Going Across The Pond


This is what I came home to yesterday…

Me:  What’s with the collar?

Casper:  I’m taking a trip.

Me:  You are?  Where to?

Casper:  Jolly ole’ England, to see my cousin, Declan.  I’m a bloke, and I need to spend time with the blokes doing bloke-ish things.

Me:  Like what?

Casper:  I figure us lads will lift a pint or two at the pub, eat some fish and chips, maybe chat up a bird or two.

Me:  Why are you talking like that?

Casper:  I’m practicing my British, so I won’t sound like a Yank.

Me:  Well, I hate to tell you this, but you can’t go.

Casper:  Now, don’t get your knickers in a bunch!  I won’t be gone long.

Me:  England is very far away.  You can’t just put on your Union Jack collar and take off; you’ve never flown before.

Casper:  I thought it was just across the pond!  I figured I’d just walk.

Me:  The Pond is just a figure of speech for the Atlantic Ocean; but, that’s not the only problem.

Casper:  What now?

Me:  The British Isles are rabies-free, so there are rules that must be followed before you can get in.  If you just show up, they’ll stick you in quarantine for six months.

Casper:  I knew you’d throw a spanner in the works!

Me:  Sorry, mate.

Posted by lori . Filed under Greyt Hounds (Greyhounds) | 19 Comments

December 20

4 Faves – Version 35.0


Radio Flyer

Does it get any more “American” than a Radio Flyer wagon?  Pictured is the Little Red Wagon – Model 5; the perfect size for a favorite doll, teddy bear or stuffed animal.  Mine is sitting on my work table, to hold glue, scissors, paint and brushes.  Founded in 1917 in Chicago, Illinois, by Italian immigrant Antonio Pasin, the home office is still located in Chicago.


Gingher Scissors

Gingher makes beautiful cutting implements.  The blades are sharp, the weight is right, and the performance is superb.  Gingher scissors are something you can own for a lifetime.

Fuzzy Fingers

This is a funny little thing that I just love.  I use it to clean my netbook and NOOK, and it’s small enough and inexpensive enough that you can own a few and keep one stashed in several locations.

Scoop Colander

Although I haven’t tossed out my traditional colanders, I often prefer this scoop colander for draining pasta, potatos and vegetables.

Posted by lori . Filed under 4 Faves (Favorite Things) | 10 Comments

December 19

Creative Time and Space…Week 10



This week, I read the final chapter in Creative Time and Space by Ricë Freeman-Zachary.  “Taking It on the Road: Sometimes You Really Can Take It With You,” explores how and if artists can ever “get away from it all.”  The overwhelming answer from the artists was “NO,” they can’t get away from their creative work and more importantly, they don’t want to get away from it.  They may take a break from the “manual” aspect of creating, but not from the mental aspect of creating.  That makes sense to me.  When you choose to live a life of creativity, every aspect of your life is imbued with the creative spirit.  But all the artists spoke of the value of tuning out certain aspects of work, either to open their hearts and minds to new ideas and inspirations or as a time to refresh themselves.  Regardless of the type of “break” they take, the tools that always go with them are a notebook and a camera.

In general, relaxing is not something I have trouble with.  In fact, “not relaxing” is more of a challenge for me.  This year, whenever I’ve had to go away from home, I’ve found that time to be valuable planning and dreaming time.  Currently, my dream vacation would be an artist’s retreat that combined classes and relaxation; but regardless of what opportunities come my way, I will bring a creative mind and heart.

Posted by lori . Filed under Creating the Creator (Creativity) | 5 Comments

December 18

Creative Space – After (Final)


Creative Space, January 2011

In January, I started creating a room for myself and every month, I posted an update.  This is not the last time my little creative space will make an appearance, just the last time I’ll do it as a monthly feature.  Back in January, here’s what I wanted:

A pretty, fun and inspiring place to create and work

Storage for my supplies

Work spaces

An inspiration board and files


Creative Space, December 2011

In many regards, I accomplished all of these goals.  My challenge for 2012 will be to “fine tune” my space.  Here are some of my thoughts about my 2011 goals:

A pretty, fun and inspiring place to create and work

I am grateful to have a room all to myself; but it still needs a “personality” and style.  One of the problems is that I don’t “work” in my creative space.  Right now, it’s more of a storage room.  Figuring out where to place the furniture should help in that regard.  This is something I’ll be working on before the end of the year.

Storage for my supplies

I have plenty of room of my supplies.  The only thing I want to add in the near future are some baskets or bins that I can toss things into when I don’t feel like putting things away and that I can use to store projects that are “in process.”

Work spaces

I think I have good work spaces.  I have a desk and a table.  I’d like to add a better chair…maybe one with wheels.

An inspiration board and files

I have these, I just need to use them.

Creative Space, December 2011

Thank you to everyone who has followed my journey this year.  Your kind and encouraging words have helped me move ahead.

A couple fun things…

Did you adopted a dog in 2011?  If so, you can get a free month of dog food from Pedigree.  Freedom, Casper and Nikki don’t eat Pedigree, but I’m going to send in for the coupon and give it to my Greyhound rescue group, Allies for Greyhounds of West Michigan.

I’m honored that I was asked to be a judge for the 2012 “Imagination begins with you…” Annual High School Short Story Contest.  I created a page with all the information.  Please feel free to forward the link with the contest information to any high school student you know that may want to enter and to any of your local high schools.

Posted by lori . Filed under Want to Talk About (Whatever) | 4 Comments

December 17

The Bluest Eye


This book touched me deeply.  Set in Lorain, Ohio in 1941, this is the story of 11-year-old Pecola Breedlove.  Three things have greatly affected her life: being a child, being black, and being a girl.  This is a story that deals with the horrible injustices of racial hatred, incest and the power of language to hurt; but what gives this book the ability to touch anyone is the underlying theme of self-hatred.  The Bluest Eye is not a book to read for pleasure; but if you love the power of the written word and the beauty of language, and you believe in the ability of a “story” to change things, The Bluest Eye won’t disappoint.

I’m participating in a readalong challenge hosted by Nicole (Linus’s Blanket) and Natalie (Coffee and a Book Chick).  The book we’re reading is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, the 2009 Man Booker Prize winner.  Wolf Hall is a fictionalized biography chronicling the rise to power of Thomas Cromwell in the court of King Henry VIII, and is currently being adapted into a miniseries by HBO and BBC.  This week, we finished the book and read Parts 5 & 6.

Reading Wolf Hall in 3 weeks was a challenge; but without a deadline, I may have put this book aside.  I’m glad I pushed through, because for anyone interested in Tudor England, Wolf Hall is well worth reading and will greatly enhance your feeling for and understanding of the period.

Henry VIIII became king during a time of incredible change.  England had endured years of civil war; the Catholic church was being challenged by the Protestant Reformation; and the King of England, married 20 years to his brother’s wife, had no male heir.  Henry wanted to annul his marriage and marry Anne Boleyn.  Into this world, stepped Thomas Cromwell.  Thomas Cromwell was not an aristocrat; but he was an original, modern man with a sharp mind and the ability to read people and recognize opportunities.

Wolf Hall imaginatively puts flesh and feelings on the Thomas Cromwell of history, who is alternatively admired or villified.  Ms. Mantel develops a plausible character by showing us how Thomas Cromwell grew up, his family, his character, his conversations and his observations and assessments of situations.  Ms. Mantel doesn’t try to explain Cromwell, she attempts to unfold him.

A magical aspect of this novel for me, is that by revealing Thomas Cromwell, Ms. Mantel reveals the birth of a new age; and the author does the same for all the larger-than-life historical figures.  She presents them through conversations and details that unveil them in a way that is new, refreshing and immediate.  You aren’t told about historical figures and events, they’re revealed to you as if you were there, discovering them for yourself.

I would recommend Wolf Hall to anyone who is interested in Tudor England, the Protestant Reformation and the psychological rendering of historical periods and characters.

If you’re interested in Wolf Hall, check out these wonderful reviews from Coffee and a Book Chick…Parts 1 & 2, Parts 3 & 4 and Parts 5 & 6.

Posted by lori . Filed under Few and Well Chosen (Books) | 2 Comments

December 16

The Shawshank Redemption


The Shawshank Redemption is based on a novella by Stephen King.  Tim Robbins plays a banker named Andy, who is sent to Shawshank Prison after being convicted of murdering his wife and her lover.  There he gets to know a fellow prisoner named Red, played by Morgan Freeman.  Prison and the inmates provide the backdrop against which a variety of themes play out in the most uplifting and heartbreaking ways…friendship, survival, despair, faith and hope.  The characters struggle to maintain their humanity in a place and under circumstances that are immensely de-humanizing.  The emotional impact of this movie is pitch perfect and the characters, all of them, will stay with you always.

Posted by lori . Filed under A Bowl of Popcorn, a Movie and Thou (Movies) | 9 Comments

December 15

Picture Frame = Post-it Holder



A gift my sister made for me.




Acrylic picture frame

Decorative paper


Post-it pad

Scissors (I used a paper cutter)

Adhesive (I used Scotch Restickable Mini Tabs)


1.  Cut a piece of decorative paper to fit the frame and insert it in the frame.


2.  Apply adhesive  to the Post-it pad and affix it to the frame.


3.  Apply an additional decoration or leave it as is.

4.  It doesn’t get any easier than this.  I made a smaller version of the one my sister made for me.  My sister even added a little calendar.

Posted by lori . Filed under Look What I Found! Now What Do I Do With It? (Crafts) | 10 Comments

December 14

Jeanette Walls


Jeanette Walls is the author of The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses AND she’s the owner of two Greyhounds.  Jeanette Walls and her husband, John Taylor, live in a 1901 farmhouse on a 37-acre farm in Virginia.  If you want to see both hounds, check out this video where Jeanette talks about her book, The Glass Castle.

Freedom, Casper and Nikki will be here next week.  They’ve been quite upset with me for not featuring them on Greyt Hounds Wednesdays.

Posted by lori . Filed under Greyt Hounds (Greyhounds) | 12 Comments

December 13

4 Faves – Version 34.0


Pilot G2 Pens

I love writing instruments.  These are a new favorite.  I love all the ink colors!


Tool Kit

I bought this tool kit because it was in a clearance bin and crazy cheap.  Now, it’s one of my favorite things because I always know where the tools are; I always put the tools back; and these are the tools I always use.  The bag is not too large, but there’s plenty of room to add a few new favorites, like my cordless screwdriver. 

Tastefully Simple

Since I’m not much of a cook, Tastefully Simple helps me alot.  My favorite part…simple.

 KitchenAid Stand Mixer                               

You may wonder why I have a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, if I’m not much of a cook.  It was a gift.  I must say though, it is a lovely piece of equipment to own, and I do use it.  It’s powerful, versatile and very easy to clean (this is my favorite feature.)  Another neat thing…attachments.  Hubby’s getting the meat grinding attachment for Christmas.  Don’t worry, hubby doesn’t read my blog.  In fact, he asked me a question the other day and referred to it as What’s Left Now.  And he wasn’t trying to be funny!  Sheesh!  Can I get a little respect around here?

Posted by lori . Filed under 4 Faves (Favorite Things) | 10 Comments

December 12

Creative Time and Space…Week 9


My final book for 2011 is Creative Time and Space by Ricë Freeman-Zachary.  This week, I read the chapter, “Creative Habits: Music, Candles and Companionable Cats.”  Ricë makes the point that it doesn’t matter what your creative space is like, “it only matters what you’re like when you’re there.  Are you inspired?  Excited to get to work?”  If the answer is, “no,” studio rituals may help.  Ricë talked to the featured artists about their routines and habits when they enter their studios.  Here are some of the things they do:

Tea (lots and lots of tea)




Turn off the phone and/or computer (email and internet)

Set up their work space

Put on a special apron or smock

Write/draw in a journal

Whatever it is, it marks the move from the “world out there” to the “world of your studio.”  Ricë encourages us to look at our studios and see if it satisfies all our senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch).

This was a particularly interesting chapter to me because I realized that I have no studio rituals.  I’ll enjoy testing out some of these ideas to see how they affect me.  Do you have any rituals or ways you mark your “creative” time?  I’d love to gather some ideas.

Posted by lori . Filed under Creating the Creator (Creativity) | 6 Comments