Monday, December 6, 2021

T Stands For Thanksgiving


I want to begin by thanking all of you who left kind words about my recent mishap.  You have NO idea how your words have cheered me, even though I can only sit at my computer for about 10 minutes before my lower back screams at  me and I must lie on my back until the pain eases.  Trust me, though.  I feel SO much better today than when it happened last Thursday evening. 

Over the four days of Thanksgiving holiday, I ate my heart out.  I attended three dinners and prepared one of my own.  I had intended to share the meal I prepared, but something was wrong with the settings on the new to me camera, and I accidentally created a videotape instead of still photos.  No way to recreate the meal, either.  

BTW, for those of you who are curious, my wonderful camera which isn't working properly at the moment, is a Nikon Cool Pix 820 and the one Scott gave me is a Nikon Cool Pix 840.  Marginally better with a greater zoom and more options.  

One place I DID get great shots was when I visited a friend and her husband who invited me for a Thanksgiving celebration on Friday.

I was so impressed by this wall quilt my host created,

I couldn't stop taking photos of it.  Doesn't this look like autumn to you?

But I was quickly distracted when my host showed me this beauty and where she spends most of her time.

After I talked to her, she even came out to join us, something my host said was quite rare for her.

Before we sat to eat, I had to admire this incredible quilt my host had made.  This was larger and not a wall quilt.  She had others, too, but it was time to make our way to the table.

There was all kinds of food, including duck, which I wouldn't eat if my life depended on it.

There was also ham, but there were enough veggies, salads, and dessert that I certainly didn't go hungry.  And you can see there was water for everyone, too.

Now I've shared my drink of the week, please share your favorite drink and we'll be by to visit.  Remember the rules are simple.  A drink, any drink can be represented by art (digital, hybrid, or traditional), a cup, mug, teapot, etc.  Maybe you'll share a scrapbook page, or a favorite movie or book that focuses on a drink.  And drinks don't have to be water, coffee, or tea.  You can always go off the grid and drink something we may not have heard of.  All you have to do is link below (direct links only, please), so we can visit you, too.  And Bleubeard wants to remind you that your photos or scans can be taken at any time, not just on Tuesday or not even this year.



Making soap


Several weeks ago, my friend Mae mentioned she was amazed at how many food items I used in my craft spaces.  She was also interested in my soap making techniques.  

I had made soap twice before, but never had help until my friend Scott wanted to make it back in 2018. Because my birth defect, a form similar to arthritis, has gotten worse over the years, it was not a good time to try to lift the heavy glass and pots needed to make lye soap.

The first thing I did was lay news print on the table.

It took forever, but I arranged everything on the table.  The tools and equipment we would need are in front, while the oils and fat solids are on the right.  Lye and distilled water are on the left, along with vinegar in case we spill the lye on ourselves.  Behind that are extras.

It's easier to see here the "extras" and the additives, such as oats, my herb grinder, instant coffee, cinnamon sticks, and essential oils from this angle.   You can also see what I'll be placing the melted soap in.  Yes, those 1/2 and 1/2 containers are surely good for something.

Some of the essential oils had leaked in the bags, so I had a major clean up to perform before Scott arrived.

In looking over what was needed, I forgot to show the stick blender we would use to shorten the time to trace.  I realize some will disagree with me, but I never EVER use items meant for crafts in food preparation again.

My friend Sally gave me this 2 burner hot plate, and I won't apologize for not cleaning it up.  It's in the same condition in which she gave it to me several years ago.  Since I only use it for soap and paper making, I see no reason to spend hours cleaning it.  At some point it will get too nasty even for me, so I'll pull out the scrubber and clean it to within an inch of its life.

It was time to make soap.  My friend Scott laughed when I gave him the dust mask.  He said it wouldn't help, but he used it anyway.  You can see I didn't need either of my thermometers (one for oil and one for lye), because Scott brought his fancy battery powered thermometer that you can see in blue behind the glass measuring cup.  Remember, this post was created long before anyone had heard of Covid 19, where everyone wore a mask.

I won't go into the details of how we made the soap.  We followed all standard procedures and made three different batches of "plain" soap using shortening, which we then cut into even further batches once they were to trace.  It was at that time we added the essential oils, herbs, etc.  We also made one batch using olive oil, one batch using palm oil, and one batch using canola oil.

After the soaps had been placed in molds, they were covered with both cardboard and towels to keep them warm.   This is an entire batch of peppermint swirl and the final batch we created.  I checked on it late that same day and the entire guest bedroom smelled incredibly wonderful.

This was a large container and we made several different soaps based on the various essential oils we used.  It was time to let them rest and the saponification process to take place.  For those who don't know what saponification is, it is the chemical reaction in which the fats and oils (triglycerides) react with lye to form soap. Saponification literally means "turning into soap" from the root word, sapo, which is Latin for soap. The products of the saponification reaction are glycerin and soap.

The first soap Scott cut was the lavender.  Using my herb grinder, I had ground the lavender into manageable bits.

You can see the cutter he used.  I picked this up years ago in a kitchen boutique.  It gave a nice cut on the soap.

This is all the lavender we made.  It even smells wonderful. 

Most of the cut soap was resting on racks on my kitchen table.

I couldn't stop taking photos of our soaps.

Leftovers and tops were placed here.

If you use milk or 1/2 and 1/2 containers, you will get these extras.  I eventually wrapped them in gossamer bags and threw them in my unmentionables drawers.  I even gave a few away like that, since I didn't need that many to scent my drawers.

Here are all the types of soap we made.  There are eight different types and scents.  Back row left to right: peppermint, lavender, grapefruit swirl.  Middle row: peppermint, orange bergamot squares for Scott's mother, cinnamon.  Bottom row: rose (which set at an angle), Scott's biochar, and coffee.

While I'm busy making Christmas gifts, I hope you enjoyed this look back at soap making, a request made by Mae.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Monday Murals: Chalk Talks


 It's time once again to join Sami at Sami's Colourful World and her Monday Murals.  Even though it's still Sunday in my world, please be aware that Sami's mural link goes live at 10:01 a.m. my time today.    

Due to a clumsy accident on my part, I may be slow visiting this week, but I will be by to visit everyone, as I try to do each week.

Found in downtown Wichita, Kansas (USA).

As the name implies, Final Friday happens the last Friday of each month.  Art galleries, museums, restaurants, and retail shops, mainly around downtown Wichita, stay open late.   The majority of galleries are open from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Many, if not most galleries use Final Friday to unveil and debut new shows or as a closing reception. All venues are free and open to the public.  Several galleries incorporate artist demonstrations and/or live music.  It appears there is space available on the Chalk Talk board for a monthly featured artist.

It appears there is also a Little Library there, too.  ICT stands for our three letter airport code.
If you enjoy murals from around the world, please don't forget to visit Monday Murals at Sami's Colourful World.  Thanks for stopping by to visit Bleubeard and me today.  We are grateful for you and your support.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

November Calendar complete and December written in, plus Collage Lab's Treasure Trovember


This is the completed left side of November, 2021.

This is the right side of my November calendar.  My calendar is far more colorful than my life.  I would like to say how pleased I was with Art Every Day Month, or AEDM this year.  I was so glad so many of my friends joined me because I am NOT on Facebook or Instagram, where most participants probably shared their work.

This is my December calendar ready to be written in.  For some reason, I thought the Arc de Triomphe looked like an open door when I stamped it.  I had planned to share it with Valerie's theme at Art Journal Journey, but I'm not sure even Valerie would think this would qualify now that I have it on my blog.  Note I dropped part of my ink pad on the page and it left a mark before I could retrieve it.

I also participated in Treasure Trovember at Collage Lab.  Each day there was a different item we had to incorporate on a sheet of card stock or watercolor paper.
Treasure Trovember completed.

I have written out the daily prompts and what I created.
1.  Add background squares.  I used book pages torn into six squares.
2.  Add something vintage.  I added a vintage hot air balloon (upside down).
3.  Add something related to water.  I stamped a small beach scene twice.
4.  Add three circles.  Mine had R in the center.
5.  Add something you would take to a desert island.  I added sunglasses.
6.  Add a dotted line. Mine went from the left side of the page to the vintage hot air balloon. 
7.  Add something large scale. I used another hot air balloon, this time much larger.
8.  Add food.  I added two Bundt cakes.
9.  Add a bunch of polka dots.  I used gold paint on my paintbrush handle and an eraser, along with black dots around the R circles.
10. Make marks on something from nature.  I used lavender ink on grasses and a stick from my yard.
11. Use your least favorite color.  I added pink dye ink through a brick stencil.
12. Add something playful. I stamped two rocking horses.
13. Add handwriting or asemic writing. I wrote around the large hot air balloon.
14. Add a song.  I added vintage sheet music.
15. Add texture. I added black corrugated cardboard.
16. Draw a bold shape. I painted around a saucer using green acrylic.
17. Add a sea creature.  I added some microbes from Under the Sea.
18. Add a number.  I added the numbers '14' and 'fifteen.'
19. Cover something with paint.  I scraped gold paint onto the sea creatures.
20. Add something metallic.  I added gold stripes around the bold green shape.
21. Add a building.  I added Roman Emperor Diocletian's Palace in Split, Croatia. 
22. Add 5 diagonal lines.  I added three gel pen lines, one blue, and one purple marker.
23. Stamp with something unique.  I stamped 2 circles from tape dispensers and a piece of cut red rubber. 
24. Add a face.  I cut a woman's face from a magazine.
25. Add typography.  I computer generated various fonts.
26. Add a plant or tree. I added washi tape trees.
27. Add some drips. I added pink below the brick stencil and blue with glitter along the right side of the page.
28. Add contour drawing with non-dominant hand.  I drew a snowman with a top hat.
29. Add a pattern. I added two stickers with the same pattern, one pattern a bit larger than the other.
30. Add a celebration.  I added paint chip samples from a circle punch and three small paper punches representing confetti.

I inverted it so you could see the images I added that were upside down.  I had fun doing this challenge and will do it again next year, too.  I understand the prompts will be left for six months in case you want to create a page using them.

Thanks again for laughing at viewing my November calendar and seeing my Treasure Trovember creation.  I'm not sure I'll be able to have the same calendar next year.  My friend Sally said she ordered me one, but hers, which has far more pages and options, and mine have not come yet.  According to Sally, the Day Timer web site cautioned the calendars wouldn't be in until late December this year.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Friday Smiles 450: Back to the musuem


It's Friday and I'm once again joining Friday Smiles which is hosted by Annie (at A Stitch in Time).   Let's visit her and the other wonderful ladies who also share their smiles each Friday.

It's time to once again return to the Wichita-Sedgwick County History Museum.

We're still in the hallway where children's toys are located.

I got the feeling the displays on this end was added as an afterthought because it has nothing to do with children's toys.  Sorry this is so fuzzy.  I only took one photo and this was it.

On this end is a display of the sit in at the Wichita Dockum Rexall Drug in 1958.

Part of the display on the right, here is a photo from the newspaper showing some of the peaceful protesters who wanted to be treated equal.  Don't we all!!!

I found this information on the internet.  Feel free to skip it if you aren't interested in the silent movement that changed a nation:

It helped change the course of history – but few people knew about it. The 1958 Dockum Drug Store Sit-in was an effort to end segregation in Wichita and the United States. This quiet movement spoke loudly to the passion of the students who led it, making it one of the first organized sit-ins in the country.

The Dockum Drug Store (owned by Rexall) was one of the most popular eating establishments in downtown Wichita, which like many of the other restaurants and stores of the day only served white people. African Americans could order food to go, but were forced to order from the end of the counter and leave after getting their food or stand in the corner to eat.

One day, Carol Parks-Hahn and her cousin Ron Walters decided to test the limits of the segregation rules. They wanted to know what it felt like to be served a drink in a glass, rather than disposable containers. Walters had read about a sit-in in California and found this peaceful measure could lead to desegregation.

On July 19, 1958, the two and their friends began going to the drugstore every day, sitting at the counter and ordering a soda. The students were quiet and respectful, but management continued to refuse them service. Walters said he wanted to make sure the group showed up at “a business level,” and were not viewed as disruptive patrons. At one point, the drugstore closed the counter because white customers refused sit next to the Black students.

The group returned every day for nearly a month, until on Aug. 11, 1958, the owner finally said, “Serve them – I’m losing too much money.” Their peaceful and unrelenting protest was a huge victory for the abolishment of segregation in Kansas. Soon after the students were served in Wichita, Rexall stores across the nation followed suit and desegregated, first in Oklahoma City on Aug. 19, 1958, and then in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Feb. 1, 1960.

This display shows a part of that sit in.  It's called "Standing up, sitting in."

There's even a video.

I'm so proud of these young people who were able to desegregate restaurants and lunch counters in Kansas and Wichita specifically.

We'll visit this room next week.  It should interest all you mothers out there.

 Here are a few more church bulletin bloopers:

Diana and Don request your presents at their wedding.

Lent is that period for preparing for Holy Weed and Easter.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget all His benefits.

Hymn:  I am Thin, O Lord.

I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, even though he diets, yet shall be live.

Hymn:  I Need Three Every Hour.

My joke is easy and my burden is light.

Hymn of Response:  Crown Him With Many Cows.

Childcare provided with reservations.

Bring one dozen coolies wrapped for Christmas.

When parking on the north side of the church, please remember to park on an angel.

Jean will be leading a weight-management series Wednesday nights.  She’s used the program herself and has been growing like crazy!

The concert held in Fellowship Hall was a great success.  Special thanks are due to the minister’s daughter, who labored the whole evening at the piano, which as usual fell upon her.

22 members were present at the church meeting held at the home of Mrs. Marsha Crutchfield last evening.  Mrs. Crutchfield and Mrs. Rankin sang a duet, The Lord Knows Why.

A song fest was hell at the Methodist church Wednesday.

Today’s Sermon:  HOW MUCH CAN A MAN DRINK? with hymns from a full choir.

Hymn 43:  “Great God, what do I see here?”  Preacher:  The Rev. Horace Blodgett.  Hymn 47:  “Hark! an awful voice is sounding.”

The 2022 Spring Council Retreat will be hell May 10 and 11.

The pastor is on vacation.  Massages can be given to church secretary…

Now let's join Annie (at A Stitch in Time) and the lovely ladies who join her for Friday Smiles.  Thanks again for visiting and spending a bit of time with Bleubeard and me this Friday.  Bleubeard would also like to thank you for parking on an angel.  We would love to have you join us, too. 


Thursday, December 2, 2021

Second on the 2nd: a miniature altered book


For my Second on the 2nd, I normally repost something that matches the host of Art Journal Journey.  This month my friend and fellow co-administrator Valerie is our host and I couldn't really find anything to match her theme, which is When One Door Closes, Another One Opens.  Instead, some of you who visit Art Journal Journey a lot may have noticed we are now accepting mini journals and altered books.  Therefore, I decided to share this mini altered book with you for my second look.  I have copied it in its entirety.  It is from June, 2008 and called:

Cancelled stamp altered book: what fun

My friend Theresa (link removed by me) and I have been talking on the phone a great deal lately. Late at night, when most people are asleep, she and I talk. She asked me if I had lots of postage stamps, and I thought she meant uncancelled ones. However, after a few missteps and lots of laughing over misunderstanding, she told me she would include her mini altered book when her dad returned to Wichita in a few weeks.

Theresa's instructions were simple. No specific theme, but all spreads must center around cancelled postage stamps. I spent most of the day Saturday going through my many cancelled stamps and coming up with the following spreads.

It probably isn't wise to start with the plainest spread, but it's the first one in Theresa's book. After I found the stamp, I searched through the entire book for artwork that would compliment the Mercury stamp. I mounted the stamp on some hand painted (by me) fabric. For some reason, I didn't want to clutter the image and couldn't think of any phrase that wouldn't distract from the opposing spread. For me, this page was finished.

One of my favorite spreads, I started with a red napkin background and added several stamps. The ones on the right are supposed to be packages under the tree, an angel topping the sticker tree, and an old Christmas ornament hanging from a bough. I ran into problems when it was time to add the phrase on the left. Red is a difficult color to match, so I took the other half of the napkin and glued it to a piece of plain printer paper. Then I printed the sentiment and cut it out. Voila!! Everything matched.

I'm not a Disney fan, but I have a friend who sends me letters and packages with Disney stamps. Since I never throw anything away, I luckily found the larger images in a 1970 catalogue on stamp collecting. I used some Basic Grey scraps for the background and some wonderful Dymo tape that Theresa sent me along with the book. I absolutely LOVE this tape, since it's see-through. How cool is that? From a theme I would never have imagined possible, this became one of my favorite spreads. The bonus to all this is that Theresa loves Disney, so I'm sure she'll appreciate this one, too.

Remember when the biplane stamps came out in 2003 celebrating the Wright Brothers 100 years of flight? I saved this part, and I'm glad I did. Then I used every airplane and pilot stamp I had. I started with a dyed paper towel background, which turned out to be just the "Wright" color for the spread. The "via air mail" stickers are from the 70s. Although it's hard to read (I hate my handwriting), the sentiment reads "See what they started."

When I found this image, which is actually the sticky side of the previous spread, it still had an uncancelled stamp attached. I just replaced it with a cancelled one and placed the entire spread over another of my hand dyed paper towels.

I have a friend who had postcards that she just cut the uncancelled stamp images from and gave them to me without using the postage. I couldn't believe it, but these $0.20 stamps on the right are actual postage stamps. On the left is another image from the 1970 stamp collection book. I was surprised to note that the large and colorful $0.15 image from 1970 morphed into the $0.80 monochromatic image from Mt. McKinley we are all too familiar with. The background is dressmaker patterns and some hand painted paper.  Once again, I was pleased to see that the orange Dymo tape that Theresa sent matched perfectly with the images. By being see-through, I didn't have to worry about losing part of the images.

I had a lot of fun making these. I would have made about a dozen more if time permitted. But, I have other projects to start and finish, so I sadly must return this lovely mini altered book to its mailing container and put it in the box that Theresa's dad will pick up tomorrow.


I hope you enjoyed this look back at the pages in this miniature book I altered for my friend using postage stamps.  I also hope this encourages you to create pages in a mini altered book or art journal, too.
Now it's time to share your own Second on the 2nd.  The rules are quite simple and everyone is welcome to join the fun look back.  All you have to do is bring back a post that you are especially proud of, or perhaps one you shared before anyone knew your blog existed.  Any post, any genre, any artistic endeavor is acceptable, as long as it's been published sometime in the past.  Then link below (direct links only, please) and Bleubeard and I, along with other Second on the 2nd friends, will be by to visit.