The Sun Came Out Hooray!

So after three to four weeks of fogged in, gray winter days, the sun came out this afternoon.
I took this picture a last week when it was in the 20's. F.  This fat robin has been around all winter. I think the mild temps into mid December tricked the robins into hanging out in Spokane.
Today it is 44 F.  I saw the sun shining in the yard, so grabbed my camera and outdoors I went.
There are real shadows and slits of sunlight through the fence is so exciting!

The snow is melting away from our winter laden yard.

I called on my trusty side kick Shelka, and decided to head to one of my favorite places at the river.
 We used to come here all the time when we were kids and have picnics.  I still live a few miles away as an adult.

                                  Patches of green grass are appearing in patches in the melting snow.
                                         New growth of a fir tree pokes up among old fallen timber.
 I had to pick my walking path carefully and because of the icy terrain couldn't make it to the shore.
                                                      I love the texture of the fir tree trunks.
                                We followed in the footsteps of those who went before us today.
                                                Hmmm..... bigger paw prints then little Shelka's.
                                                           Shelka's little paw prints.
                                        Wild rose hips and frozen dead ones.  I love the contrast.
            We stayed at the river for almost and hour waiting for the sun to reappear.  Sigh.
 We decided to go home and it reappeared.  So we headed out to more open spaces.  I love the contrast in color and textures in this photo.
                                         Snow melting along the highway forms a little brook.

                                    The sun is still playing peek a boo behind the clouds and trees.

                                       I saw this same scene reflected in the puddle on the road.

 The sky is clearing out all the gray winter clouds.  I liked the way the wisps of clouds played along the hilltops.


                                   This was the sunset tonight out our back deck.

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a message you understand, Rejoice, for your soul is alive.
 eleanora Dusa, Italian Actress. 1854-1924.



Fairy Garden

This past Saturday, my good friend Joan and I went to a local greenhouse/nursery called the PLANT FARM.  It is one of my very favorite places to go besides the thrifts or antique stores. They were hosting a party to make 'fairy gardens'.
We started with these nice stained wood planter boxes.  We could upgrade to a planter of our own choice but I liked this one and didn't think about bringing a multitude of containers I have around here.

We had a list of goodies to pick from and also a lot of plants----like I said---it is a GREENHOUSE---so we had plenty to pick from.
We put a layer of crushed charcoal in the bottom of the container then added the potting soil.
I put mine together with a gated arbor, a mini birdbath pick, a lantern bird feeder, a pebbled path and a copper wire bench.  There is a mini copper bucket with moss on the bench.  I covered the rest of the dirt with moss after planting all the plants.  When I got home I added a little dolly holding a puppy to the bench.
I sprinkled a few valentine hearts around to note the season.
I looked for foliage with texture and colors.  I was very happy with my little garden and now can put together more for others when I have a mind to.   
Hoping your day is fruitful and full of things that make you smile. 


Making Valentine Decorations

Now that all the holiday decorations are packed away for another year and my various stashes are organized and sorted through, I decided I needed to make some decorations to put through the house for Valentine's Day.   I love decorating for the various holidays.  After our fire, the smaller holidays, have been very neglected.  I haven't worked as hard to refurbish our Valentine supplies.
I pulled out a bunch of  stuff and then started in.
     I just used a half a heart shell and a Victorian scrap and a rose and gold leaf garland for this.

These  plain sparkly hearts got some Victorian scraps as well

and some pretty lace.
This feather heart wreath got some little white feathers and then I pulled out a lot of my little heart jewelry pieces and added those along with some loops of white pearls.
This little cupid cutie is made from a heart shaped candy tin, a clear candlestick for a base
and an old orphan doll head.  I took light weight cardboard and cut out wing shapes
and hot glued white feathers and pieces of white and gold boa to them.
I attached wire to the wings and the wire is looped around the dolls neck.
I used a heavy duty adhesive to attach the wings to the back of the candy tin heart.

I used wire for arms/hands to hold the dowel stick arrow.  I had some sculpey hearts I attached to the arrow end and a decorated heart and feathers to the opposite end.  I printed out "TRUE LOVE" and glued that to cardboard before I glued it to the dowel stick.  easy peasy!!



Welcome to the  GROW YOUR BLOG  party!!!

My Name is Cathy Ann but on here I go by Catie An.  My husband calls me many nicknames; Katrinka, Katrina, Squeek, Cathy Ann, are a few. But the one most used is  CatieAn.

I was born and raised in the Northwest part of the United States in Washington State.  My husband and I still  live in our home town.  We have four distinct seasons.  We are spoiled by mountains and lakes.

I have most of my information on my profile.  I started my blog about 6 years ago.

 Having been determined 'disabled'  after a bad fall at work, subsequent surgery and therapies, and an unrelentless pain that started to spread around my body, I fell into a major depression.  I loved my job as a pediatric critical care and oncology nurse, all of our kids had migrated to a larger city for job opportunities, were all married and starting their own families and John and all of are family and  friends were still in the work force.

Even our neighbors were gone every day.  I have worked since I was nine years old. For the first time in my life I was anchor less. I did not know what to do with myself.  I went to physical therapy for two hours plus a day, three days a week for two years.  We had a major house fire and were displaced for 7 months before we could move back in.  John's brother died as did my father.

It was in the midst of all this upheaval, emotional and physical, when I fell into blog land quite by accident.
It changed my outlook.  I started connecting with people who had similar interests.  I found other 'artists' in all kinds of medias I didn't even know existed.  I have met so many wonderful people. Many have Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy(Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome) just like myself.  Others were just looking for friends who held the same values and wanted to share their lives and their art.

I became focused on photography and wanting to take pictures to share my life.  With the kids all living away, they could visit my blog and see what we, or mostly' what I was doing.  My creativity started improving and I became more involved in making my art.

There have been a few long periods where blogging was not as  important to me and going through major flares with my illness, I lost focus.  Then I went to school for a year and had no time to blog.  Now back to being home alone every day, I am back to blogging on a more regular basis.  I know I need to connect with others throughout my day.  I love to share my life and my ideas.  Knowing someone out there is looking to connect as well, gives me something other than myself to focus on.

Through this blog party, I hope to meet and make lots of new kindred spirits around the world.

I love making assemblage art and  like my 'stuff' to have  that sweet quality about them.  I made up this little sweetheart today as part of my give away to some lucky reader.

I made her from an old antiseptic powder tin, from the 1940's, a doll head from the 50's, a petticoat from a doll from the 50's, and various other miscellaneous parts.  Her hands are fired porcelain that I found in a bag at the thrift store.  Her shoes are plastic doll shoes and also came home from the thrift store. Her name is Antiseptic Annie.  

I will probably make at least one other dolly to give away, as well. I also have a few packets of vintage Victorian ephemera and pieces of vintage quilts and various tidbits to send off to far flung places.

I love to laugh and have a great sense of humor.  I will laugh the longest and loudest  at myself.  There is  never a dull moment when you hang out with me.  My husband and I went to the local mall about two miles from here two nights ago.  We visited one store that we loved.  When asked how long ago they had opened they looked at us and said  " 8 months ago".  Oops.

Me, I can tell you within a 20 miles radius, every thrift, salvage, or antique store and know exactly when they opened or closed.  Forget the new outfit.  Give me a bag of goodies that I can throw in a labeled drawer to pull out and use on that next creation.

I have my sweet kidlets that come once a week for art and crafts, baking, sewing, you name it.  I would be terribly sad to give up my days with them.  Just this week, one of them said. "when I grow up I am going to have art classes just like this in my house."  Awwwww.....made me well up.  even my youngest sister told me recently she wished she had had some place to go like mine after school.

I can't NOT have kids around.  Since our own grandchildren live far away, we have adopted other kids through the years.  Friends who had younger children welcomed us to their kids' sporting events when ours were off on their own as adults.  We started going to the neighbor kids' sporting activities and now go to their school programs.  John and I have often joked that people probably think we are crazy.  "Hey can we come hang out at your kids' football game.  We don't have any of our own near by to play with."  Both of us champion children and think that no one can have too many people who love and support them.          

Before my accident, I spent at least once a year or every two years going to third world countries on medical missions. I miss that most of all when I think of all I have had to give up due to my illness.  I have to rethink what my life is about on a daily basis.  I use a cane whenever I walk out of the house. Inside, I walk short distances so don't fear falling as much as when I have to walk farther and my leg doesn't always want to work.

Before John and I played racquetball three or more times a week and still played on jack and jill sports teams.  I just started going back to the gym to swim as often as possible and do water aerobics.  In the water, I can still make my body work like it used to.

My Faith, my Family and my Friends are the most important parts of my life.  They keep me focused and steer me back on the right path when I find myself wandering. To know that friends in blog land are just a few typewritten words away has also made a difference in my life and my art.

I want to thank  VICKI for hosting this wonderful party!!  THANK YOU for all the time and effort you put into this event for all of us taking part.  I hope it brings you as much joy as we are all anticipating.

I also want to shout out to Karen from Valentine Design for redoing my blog for this wonderful party!  It was what I wanted as my birthday present and I can't think of a nicer one.  You are so wonderful.


Out With the Old

Okay it is a New Year.  Over the past 50 years, at least, I have bought into the New Year Resolution Thing.  I can remember being  in Jr High and writing in my new five year diary that I was NOT going to like boys who did not like me back.  Figured that was a way to assure my young heart would never be broken again.
FAT CHANCE...........that one.     

Over the years, the changing year brought new resolutions.  Many I would never carry out and too many I would never ever remember.  I know now the most important idea for me is to welcome the New Year with a new determination to live life to the very fullest each and every day.   Always at the top of my list is to be aware of others.  If there is something nice I can do for someone, I will try to fulfill that to the best of my ability.  I don't need others to know about it.  It just makes me feel so good to put a smile on someone else's face.

I also like to start with a clean house, everything in its place, kind of feeling.  This year was no exception.  Before I would let my Hubby even think of taking the tree down, I had to go down to the basement and muck out all sorts of bins and boxes and separate the holiday items.   We have three storage closets in the basement, two of which are in bedrooms.   Our youngest and her family live in South America at the moment but have been out of the state since they were first married.  They have one and a half closets dedicated to their stored belongings.  The other 'half' closet houses the Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine and Easter decorations and costumes.  I was amazed I got it all in there, but I did.

The remaining closet houses all of the Christmas Decorations.  I do have several bins left over, sitting out side that closet but it is so much better.  I had that bedroom so full of all the holiday stuff, we couldn't use it for a bedroom. The furnace room houses all the outdoor holiday structures and also is my new 'stained glass' area.
I needed a cement floor and a space to work with leaded glass and solder that the grand kids and animals would not frequent.  I will post pictures of that room when it is fully functional.

In the meantime, I had stored boxes and bins of all sorts of STUFF.......................................

a collection, of Christmas horns, large and small...........................

real life fur coats and fur pieces for future one of a kind Santas.....who will carry the above Christmas horns.

a very large bin of vintage feed and flour sacks.............any ideas as to how to use them besides  pillows?

old tattered and torn cutter quilts.......have made many into lap size quilts, curtains and again Santas and Christmas dolls.

Anyone interested in pieces of these can let me know along with their address and I will be happy to share!
 Vintage chenille spreads............all of these are white....several given to me.....several for a few bucks and garage sales.....Future snowmen?  Pillows?  Sachets?  Suggestions?
Tons of old  beat up and newer picture frames to use for my family portrait wall.
several boxes of old books and encyclopedias to make into altered books

 Bags of stuff I could make myself part with for the local Good Will Store.

yes.....even garbage bags  ...and more thrift store stuff!

Pulling stuff out of my studio to fill the kitchen table and surrounds.....................

 as well as the dining room table with tons of vintage ornaments.....................

my studio work table full of stuff pulled out of the closets and brought up from the basement....................