Monday, December 31, 2007


As years go, I can't really complain about 2007. It's been good to me and my family. We are all healthy and happy and, for the most part, doing what we want to do. I ran a half-marathon, turned 40, had a kid start high school, had artwork in CPS again, wrote (half) a book and celebrated the 20th anniversary of my first date with J.R. - and a bunch of other good stuff. I have oficailly completed my fourth year of daily art assignments. I have made today's entry into the big journal I made myself for this year. I never have to touch it again. I just realized today that I have to fire up a quilt tomorrow. I hope I have some good stuff around here. I won't be back in the studio until Wednesday.
Here are my resolutions:
1. Make art every day. Work on a 6" quilt every day, finishing one every week.
2. Get in a magazine or two.
3. Write another book
4. Get a big national teaching gig
5. Finish the mini in 15 minutes less than last time
6. Drink more water, floss and moisturize
7. Read a book every month
8. Exercise at least 4 hrs a week, every week, not just training for the mini.
9. Get rid of all the stuff I don't need.
10. No new art supplies, except for classes or projects with deadlines.
This is the necklace JR gave me for xmas. It's my favorite: Thomas Mann. I asked him how he chose it. He said he picked it because it reminded him of my artwork.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Song du Jour

"Hard Sun" by Eddie Vedder. Go buy it. It's really easy to sing along harmonies in the chorus.
It's a big, big hard sun
Beating on the big people
In the big, hard world
I, like every other forty-something in middle America, am reading Eat, Pray, Love. We are reading it because Oprah said to.
I should probably read Into the Wild, since Hard Sun is from that soundtrack. I will put in on my list for 2008. I always say I will read one book every month, but I don't do it. Maybe 2008 will be the year. I have a head start. Does Amy Tan have anything new out? She is the one writer that really holds my attention. I don't know how she manages to write in a way that is at once simple and complicated.
While you're over at Itunes, check out Jack Johnson's new one, "If I Had Eyes". Cool and laid back, just like we expect from Jack.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hey, Foxworthy, I've got one for ya!

If you have Hooters hot wings and deep fried dill pickles for Christmas dinner, you might be a redneck. It's true. This is what my mother served, along with a bunch of other stuff, like cocktail weenies swimming in some kind of sauce and a chocolate fountain. It was a true hillbilly dee-light. I made Rachel Ray Five Minute Fudge, rocky road style with mini marshmallows and pecans. I made it into a wreath. It looked like this:

I think it is cute, but my girls, who you know I adore, told me it looked like a poop wreath. That's what they called it - the poop wreath - out loud in front of people. Can't take them anywhere.

I have still been making art every day, although it has been a drag. This year's project was a mistake. The journal was too big and unwieldy. I need a project I can easily drag around with me. Shortly after I decided to do a daily fabric project in 2008, I was introduced to the incredible work of Jeanne Williamson. This gal has been making a small quilt every week since 1999. She has a book out, The Uncommon Quilter. She chooses a certain size of quilt each year and must complete one every week, no matter what. I have modified my original plans of making different sizes of small quilts. I think that I will make 6"x6" quilts and connect them, as I finish them, into rows to make a meander book. The book will be soft and chunky, and, hopefully, inviting. My best books are the ones that are handled. One quilt per week, worked on daily. Any technique goes.

So what? Big deal. She's making some little quilts. It can't be that simple, can it? Of course not. I have thought about this and considered it and tried to talk myself out of it. This evening, I thought of it again while I was cleaning the kitchen and my heart pounded a little, so I knew it was the right thing to do. Here it is - There shall be no new fabric purchased for the daily art challenge quilts. I have about a quarter-ton of fabric that I bought beacuse I loved it. Now is the time to use it.

This kinda ties into another goal for 2008. I will not buy any art supplies, except what is needed for a class, article or other assigment with a deadline. 2008 will be a year of using, not saving. I didn't challenge my self as an artist enough this year. I stayed in one place too long. I guess part of that had to do with my first book-writing experience. A book captures a moment, but the moment becomes protracted. I designed, made, wrote about, dreamed about and worried about the same 10 projects for four months. I wasn't very good at balancing art for the book and other art. I will know better next time.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Courtney and Cookies

Courtney's middle school semi-formal dance was this past Friday night. I chaperoned. She was the sparkliest one there. I did her make up and gave her the full face treatment. The most she ever wears is a little mascara. She told me that a lot of her friends thought she should were more make up all the time; they really liked it. Funny. To me, she still looks a little like she's playing dress up. She doesn't have her woman face yet. And I'm in no hurry for her to get it.

Whit went to a movie with a boy for the first time last night. They saw I Am Legend. Whit didn't like it. I managed to survive. Yesterday was also the 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST TIME I WENT OUT WITH JR! We went to an IU basketball game. See, our entire relationship is based on sports.

We made cookies and candy all afternoon today so the girls can take goodies to their teachers. Here is a calorie-free sampler of sugar cookies, tiger butter and fudge. Whit made the peanut butter cookies with the kisses on them for Conner. We made fudge for the first time ever in the history of out family. I can't really do recipes that require a thermometer and my full attention. Fudge is generally unappealing to me because of the texture. Grainy fudge - ick. It reminds of having my teeth cleaned. So, anyhoo, I caught a bit of Rachel Ray on Oprah Friday and she made Five Minute Fudge. It was, as she said, a dump and stir. We made it today and it turned out great.
RR's Five Minute Fudge
one bag semi sweet chocolate chips
one bag butterscotch chips
one can sweetened condensed milk
Melt over low heat, stirring constantly. Pour into a pammed pan. Chill to set. You can add stuff to it or use other chip flavors. RR made it into a wreath. I didn't wreath it today because I didn't want to go to all that trouble and have it taste gross. It is wreath worthy and I plan to make one tomorrow nite to treat my colleagues on Tuesday.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fruitcake - ick - right? Why do we keep traditions that we don't like or aren't even good? We are having a tradition change in our family this year. Ever since we got married, the holiday schedule has been this:
The shop is open until 1:00pm
We go out to lunch with JR's mom, dad, brother, sister, spouses and kids - usually to Wong's Chinese restaurant ( this bit was added about 5 years ago)
My mom and dad's house for presents and supper - it we are even hungry - with my sisters, inlaws, outlaws and nieces
Santa at our house, just us 4
Lunch with all JR's kin at the Martin Co. house. This is the one holiday when EVERYBODY shows up.
Evening at JR's mom and dad's for presents and snacks

This schedule has worked great. Everybody who wants the grandkids on the holiday gets them, no overlaps, easy. But this year, my mom wants to make a change. Her house on the 23rd for supper and presents. She thinks we are too full of Chinese food to eat all the stuff she cooks. (and she's right) She has added a chocolate fountain to this year's spread. It will be fine, but then we are left with nothing to do on Christmas Eve. Maybe we could go to a movie. The new National Treasure comes out 12/21 and the girls want to see it.

Here is one of my very favorite recipes. This is the cheesecake they served at the Woolworth's lunch counter when I was growing up. I am making one tonight to take to school tomorrow.

Woolworth Cheesecake
1 pkg. lemon flavored gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 8-ounce pkg. cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can Milnot, chilled
1 pound graham crackers
1/2 cup butter
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water, cool. Cream together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Add gelatin and mix well. Fold whipped Milnot into gelatin mixture. Crush graham crackers (can use crumbs) and add melted butter. Firmly pack 2/3 of mixture in bottom and sides of a 9 x 13-inch pan. Add filling and sprinkle top with remaining crumbs. Chill several hours. Can be frozen.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Decorating is Done!

Here are a few of the decks in the Crane halls this year. I did about 90% of my decorating yesterday morning so the house would be good for picture taking. We have a whole new color scheme this year of the girls' choosing - light blue and silver with red accents. I made the stockings. The skinny tree in the entryway has my "Kendricks" on it. Katie had the pattern for these dolls in Cloth Paper Scissors Issue #9, which is my favorite issue EVER. See sidebar.

I decided that I was only giving myself until 11:00 yesterday morning to get the decorations out and up. Anything left went back into the attic. This is really late for me, but we've had 100 basketball games and we have this thing where JR and I always go to everything the girls do. The hard times are when each one has a game at the same time. Then, much to our dismay, we split up, usually taking turns at who goes with which kid. It's a joy, not a burden. In five very short years no one will need me to watch them do anything and I will WISH for a Thursday night and two ballgames to go to. I also had the sickness, which my doctor told me will take up to 10 days to really get over. So that means the dark circles under my eyes should be gone by Wednesday.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Whitley's Black and White

Pictures and Blogger - Why can't I ever get things where I really want them? Here is Whit a couple of hours ago in front of our Christmas tree before Conner arrived, with his mom, dad and 5 year old sister. Being non-drivers, they had to have transportation provided to the dance. I think she looked so cute, but I am partial.

I remember sometime when I was pregnant or right after one of the girls was born reading a card or something that said being a mother was agreeing to have your heart walking around outside your body. I thought they were talking about babies. But they weren't. They were talking about when they grow up and start to really become their own people. That is the heartbreaker. Seeing this little hint of what my daughter will look like as a woman and knowing that other people want her attention and other people see what a neat person she is and want a little bit of her light.

Conner brought her a darling wrist corsage from the best florist in town - white flowers, black lace and black and sliver ribbon. Courtney had to get a picture, too, saving me from being too serious about this night. Little sister had her picture taken with Whit and Conner and when they left, she was holding Whitley's hand. The sweetest.

Whit got to dress varsity today and got in the game. She had a stat. She turned the ball over. Oh well. We went through the Arby's drive thru and there was a camel in a horse trailer in front of us. It was making all kinds of camely sounds and showing it's teeth. Probably a busy time of year for camels in Indiana.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I just remembered this

I was over at Anna Maria's blog reading about finding candy cane wrappers in the couch, when I remembered something that happened in 1994. Whitley turned two in August and Courntey was one in November, so by the time the holidays rolled around, I was in a bit of a fog. Maybe that's why I hung candy canes on the tree that year. Whit loved candy canes, so I moved them to only the high branches to keep her from eating them all. One morning, after JR was gone to work and I had Courtney taken care of, I missed Whitley. I searched through the house for her and found her behind the Christmas tree, red and sticky and giggling, munching on a candy cane, with her pj's still on and wild bed head. She looked like a deranged elf. I wondered how she ever got to one and then I noticed the stack of presents she had built for herself. Smart girl.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Do I Still Have a Blog?

It's been two whole weeks since I updated and a lot has happened. I went shopping on black Friday and met a very brave man who is the manager of the west side Old Navy. The girls wanted some of those skinny jeans and since they are in the about 1% of the human race who can wear them and look cute, I went to buy them. Old Navy had three styles of them on sale - 50% off. I got a pair for each girl and a few other things and went to check out. I asked the girl at the register how long the sale lasted. She said the unthinkable - I DON'T KNOW. (Wait a minute, don't you work here and isn't this the biggest shopping day of the year?) I asked her to find out. She called the manger over and I asked him. This is the part about him being brave. He said - It depends. On what I ask. On how well they sell he says. IF they don't sell too well, the sale will be over at noon. What??
There have been a bunch of basketball games and then there was last Sunday. It's like Uncle Walt said "These are the days that must happen to you." Whit has a semi-formal dance this Saturday and Court has one on the 14th. These dances require dresses. So we head up to Bloomington after church and start at Macy's. Whit's dance is a black and white - everybody has to wear black and white. I love a theme and it narrowed down our dress choices right away. We go into Macys and find a darling black dress. Whit tried it on and to make a long story short, wound up with it. A perfect fit and age appropriate for a 15 year old. Courtney tried on a black and white dot and a blue sparkly at Macys - not quite right. Then onto Wet Seal, Charlotte Russe, Deb and maybe other places. She tried on:
A blue satin with black lace
a brown and white
a hot pink sparkly
a black and sliver sequin shift
a yellow and black print
a black with silver sequins
a red, black and white print
two sequiny tunics with leggings
and the sequin shift AGAIN
I think there were 14, but I can't remember them all. Nothing fits and the things that fit whe doesn't like. Torture is this: Standing in the dressing room at Charlotte Russe with you 14-year old daughter in a size extra small insisting that it makes her look WIDE. Scream. My mom and my sisiter and two of my nieces were shopping with us and it was my mom who finally convinced Court to go with the tiny sequin shift and leggings. She looks like a mini Heidi Klum in it. Thanks mom. Court is in that hard place between little kid and big kid, trying to figure out who exactly she is and she is so emotional. Funny thing, Whit went through the same thing about a year ago and has no recollection. She can't figure out what is wrong with her sister.
The Santa is one of 5th grade projects. OH AND BY THE WAY
THE BOOK IS DONE. At least the writing and the artwork are. Now for Interweave to work their magic on it. Monday was the deadline. I got sick. I called in Monday AND Tuesday, but I'm getting better. When mom gets sick, everyone suffers. It's nice to be needed.