Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2 0 1 4

H A P P Y     N E W     Y E A R
from my family .... to yours!

This year has been full of many changes in our family. My daughter Ashley got married in August and in just three short days will be moving to Virginia to join her husband, Forrest, who is a Machinist Mate on the USS Eisenhower! Here she is jumping for joy on Christmas Eve morning - her biggest Christmas present arrived -- her storage unit for moving. (You can see she got her jumping abilities from me!)

Since it was just the three of us for Christmas, we decided to take one last "family" picture. We tried to have the dogs join in, but the puppy was not being cooperative. We'll try to have a WHOLE family picture in the next few days while Forrest is home to help pack up and get Ashley to Virginia! Hopefully the dogs will be a little more willing to sit and stay!


Muffin had a tough 2013! Her skin infection really took a toll
on her and she was a trooper through it all. 
We all appreciated all your prayers and kind words while she went through
3 rounds of antibiotics and MANY, MANY, MANY sulfonated lyme baths!
She now has "freckles" on her face and as you can see
LOVES her New Years headband!
Our newest addition -- SHADOW is truly a wonderful pup!
He has made a great little brother for Muffin and they enjoy
playing tug-o-war and checking out
What's In the Corner? together!
His name suits him, besides being all black - he IS Muffin's Shadow!
I'm not sure if Shadow is too thrilled with his New Years headband!
I think Muffin might be laughing at Shadow in this SHOT!
I love taking pictures of her because she is always silly!
Thank you for all your support this past year
and sharing in my journey as a wife, mother, puppy mom,  mother-in-law, teacher,
2 0 1 4

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Introducing ....

K R I S T Y   J A R V I S

Kristy - hard at work!
At the Funky Finds event in December, I had a little time before the show began, so I walked around and see some of the other vendors. I was intrigued by one of the artists I hadn't seen before. She had sweet watercolor paintings of adorable animals! I looked through all her super cute business cards, that featured many of her designs ... I admit to taking 3 of them because I couldn't choose! I spoke with her for a few minutes and she is a really sweet person as well! I've fallen in love with her work and have asked her to partner with me for some special items (featuring Muffin and Shadow) I hope to have them available in early 2014.
More details to come ...

but now I'd like for you to meet .... Kristy Jarvis ...

Tell us a little about yourself...   I recently became a stay at home mom after working for several years as a Graphic Designer. I found that I still wanted a creative outlet during my downtime with the kids and that is when I rediscovered my love of drawing and painting. I started painting with watercolor because I loved the way the colors blended, and it was pretty easy to start and stop a project depending on the kids' schedule. Then I started experimenting with wood-burning and a little with acrylic on canvas and wood. Before I knew it, I was creating daily and had signed up for ArtsGoggle in Fort Worth, The Funky Finds craft fair, and a craft fair at my daughter's school.  I enjoy graphic design, but I really have a passion for art that I can create without the use of a computer.

What is your background?  I took art classes as a child but it wasn't until I started college that I realized I could make art a career. I attended The Art Institute in Dallas and after graduating with a degree in Visual Communications I worked as a graphic designer designing advertising and marketing material including flyers, brochures, invitations, posters, and anything else clients requested.

Have you always wanted to be an artist?  I always knew that I wanted to do something creative. When I was a kid I drew a lot, but I also just liked making things. While I had plenty of toys, I remember making little figurines out of twist ties and yarn or thread; I was pretty resourceful. While I have taken breaks from art, it has always found its way back into my life.  It is my passion.

One of Kristy's favorite art pieces by
Patricia DeLeon
Who is your favorite artist?  I am always discovering new artists and there are just too many to choose from. I have discovered so many artists through books and Etsy. I realize art comes in many forms but I still find myself favoring art involving illustration. I love Stephane Jorisch's illustrations in the Betty Bunny children's book series.  I also love a lot of work by Ashley Percival, Teagan White, and Patricia De Leon (her piece with a red-headed woman with an owl sitting on her head is my favorite).
Where do you get your inspiration?
I am inspired by my two young children and the many, many children's books we read together. I painted a little before having kids, but they have sparked my imagination. Now that I am home full-time, we make a lot more trips to the library where I tend to pick books based on the illustrations. I love reading them stories that bring animal personalities to life.

Do you enjoy showing your work at craft fairs? I haven't been to a lot of craft fairs but I do enjoy going. I appreciate the work that goes into handmade items and enjoy meeting local artisans.  I participated in ArtsGoggle in Fort Worth in October but the Funky Finds Holiday Shopping experience was my first craft fair to participate in. It was such a great experience. I wasn't sure what to expect. I am introverted so putting myself out there was a bit daunting, but it was so much fun meeting other artists and hearing feedback about my work. It was rewarding seeing people enjoying my work as much as I enjoy creating it.
What medium do you use? At this moment I mainly use watercolor on paper, but I have been experimenting with other mediums. I have recently been working with watercolor and acrylic on canvas and wood, as well as wood-burned illustrations. I live near a wooded area so I have been using some salvaged wood slices from fallen branches for some of my paintings and wood-burned illustrations. I really like working with wood and plan on doing larger paintings using it in the near future.

Please share a few works with us and tell us about them   
The moose knitting, squirrel in a knit hat, and owl in a cowl were 3 pieces I painted around the same time. It seemed funny to imagine a moose in the woods knitting gifts for his friends. From there I found that one of my favorite things to paint is animals in knitwear, so I later painted 2 owls, one in an over-sized hat and his friend seeming to look over at how ridiculous he looks. I have only painted a couple of dogs, but one of my favorite pieces is the curious grey dog (see above). I just find it so hilarious when dogs tilt their head in curiosity. These were all done in watercolor and ink on heavy watercolor paper. I recently painted a beaver and an owl with acrylic on canvas. I just started painting with acrylic paint - I really like how rich the colors get, especially with the backgrounds. It adds some variety to the mostly watercolor characters on white backgrounds that I have been painting.

How can people purchase your work? 
A lot of my work is available for purchase in my Etsy shop or at upcoming craft shows.  I don't have any craft shows coming up right now, but a link to my shop and any information on upcoming shows are frequently updated on my web-site KRISTY JARVIS .  My work is also available at T. Beresford, a shop that is located in Waxahachie, TX.

Are you available for commissioned work?
I always welcome commissioned work as my schedule allows!

Kristy painting (above)
Kristy and her family (below)

Thank you Kristy for taking the time to share your work with us!
To see more of Kristy's work please visit her web-site
I cannot wait to share Kristy's paintings of Muffin and Shadow in 2014!



Thursday, December 19, 2013

MEET - Patty Wiseman

Tell us about Patty
The Great Northwest was my home until I graduated high school. The beauty of the Seattle/Tacoma area is breathtaking, but the damp cold winters played havoc with my health. I opted for the steamy summers of Bartlesville, Oklahoma to begin college. Life eventually carried me to Marshall, Texas where I have enjoyed baking in the summer sun. LOL! I simply do not do cold well.

Luckily my husband is Texas born and bred, so we are here to stay! I raised my two sons here, embarked on a career as an administrative assistant to a financial advisor, but eventually retired to do what I truly love doing. Writing novels.
Since I took the plunge and stepped out into the ‘unknown’ I find myself with 3 books published in my series, several literary awards, and so many new friends and colleagues I can’t count them. What a blessing this journey has been!

Tell us about your books - the idea
The idea for the books began when I was a very small child hidden behind a staircase in the kitchen listening to my family talk about my grandmother and her extraordinary life, her arranged marriage, and her rebellious nature.
What you must know about me is that from a very early age, I loved to read anything I could get my hands on. I would lose myself in the stories, place myself in those settings, and enjoy the adventures as if I actually lived them myself, so it stands to reason that my grandmother’s stories about her life in the 1920’s remained filed away in my brain until I was grown. Of course, life obscured my objective to write them until my children were raised and I finally had the time.

Where do you get your inspiration to write?

I think I always had the inspiration from day one. Family life was chaotic with 3 siblings. I was the second of 4. I believe I felt a bit lost. My first grade teacher Mrs. Bell will always be given the credit for opening the world of books to me, weaving the magic, and encouraging me to write small poems and stories. I remember her vividly and truly believe she was my inspiration.

Have you had writer's block?
I never really experience writer’s block. What happens is I want the character or the story to go in a certain direction and when it doesn’t work; I almost fight to make it work.  Therein lies the block. When I finally let the character take over the writing, I eventually get to where I wanted to go. So after three books, I have learned to go with the flow!

Where did you get the idea for the titles?
My titles are An Unlikely Arrangement, An Unlikely Beginning, and An Unlikely Conclusion. The first book I had originally called ‘The Arrangement’, but decided to change it when I found another book of that title. I pondered this for a while and finally decided on An Unlikely Arrangement because an arranged marriage in that day was unusual and unlikely, but it did happen. Since it was a series, the other titles followed suit.

Who is your favorite character in your series?
Originally, I would have said Ruth Squire, the heroine. Peter Kirby is a close second though. But now, after all three books have been written and the characters really took off, I’d have to say Sarah O’Brien the maid. She is full of surprises and intrigue.  (I like Sarah O'Brien too!!)

Are you working on any other books?
I am! I’m working on a humorous romance set in contemporary time. I have a great story to tell here and wanted to try a new genre. This is the perfect opportunity.

Anything else you'd like to share with us

My books are clean romantic mysteries, based on a true story, and suitable for teen girls as well as grandmothers. They tell the story of a young woman coming of age in a time when choices were limited for women. They also show how a mother’s past almost derails the daughter’s future. These stories focus on several strong, independent women, women who overcome and conquer. What a time it must have been to live in the roaring twenties!
Patty's books are available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and her website Purchase Patty's books here!
An Unlikely Arrangement - Amazon - http://amzn.to/UdS5KY
An Unlikely Arrangement - B&N - http://bit.ly/IVOXBV
An Unlikely Beginning - Amazon - http://amzn.to/RLdpI6
An Unlikely Beginning - B&N - http://bit.ly/QIFOxj
An Unlikely Conclusion - Amazon - http://amzn.to/1cKhQf0
An Unlikely Conclusion - B&N - http://bit.ly/1fAJm3F
Also available on Kindle & Nook
I have had the pleasure of being at many book events with Patty. Her writing is fantastic and I am lucky to have her as a friend, too! She is always willing to share new ideas and I have learned a lot from her. We also seem to laugh non-stop while sharing a booth and also sell a few books!
If you like, mystery, intrigue, and romance -- you will LOVE these books! 



Saturday, December 14, 2013

IT's A ....

December Miracle!

I can read all the gardening and plant posts about The Christmas Cactus and why they bloom in December ... but the plant still AMAZES me!

          "Because this plant is thermo-photoperiodic, it will set buds when day length is about equal to night length."

How does it know that!? Nature is truly mind-boggling!

A few months ago, I actually thought I had killed this plant ... it was floppy, turning brown, and did not look healthy. I kept hope.  I always hate throwing out a plant. So I watered it, gave it a little fertilizer, a little fresh soil, (I didn't want to totally repot it, because I didn't want to SHOCK it!) left it in the sunny east window, and hoped for the best. I didn't want to give up on the plant and then ...

On December 1, I was giving the Christmas Cactus some water and lo and behold ... there were BLOOMS! They were small, (see the picture above) but the plant had 5 blooms - I picked up the plant and actually took it into the other room to show Steven - he said "man ... I thought that plant was dead!"

This picture is from December 7, 2013
I was so excited! The limp, brown plant was now shiny green, sturdy and gorgeous!
I came home from school on Thursday December 12 and the first three buds
The color is so pretty! I wish these flowers would stick around for longer than a few weeks!

I read many stories about The LEGEND of THE CHRISTMAS CACTUS, but I liked this story the best, so I'll share it with you ....
This plant just makes me smile .... and it's blooming to me is
A true Christmas Miracle!
LEGEND has it the Christmas Cactus dates back many years to the land now known as Bolivia and a Jesuit missionary, Father Jose, who labored endlessly to convert the natives there.  He had come across the Andes Mountains from the city of Lim nearly a year before.  But he felt the people of this village on the edge of the great jungle were still suspicious. He had cared for the sick and shown the natives how to improve their simple dwellings, which leaked dismally in the rainy season.  Most important, he had attempted to teach them the story of the Bible, especially the life of Jesus, though much seemed to be beyond their  comprehension.  He had told them about the beautifully decorated altars in cities during holidays, yet here it was Christmas Eve and he was on his knees alone in front of his rude altar. Then he heard voices singing a familiar hymn he had taught his flock.  He turned to see a procession of the village children carrying armfuls of blooming green branches (which we now know as the Christmas Cactus) that they had gathered in the jungle for the Christ Child. Father Jose joyfully gave thanks for this hopeful budding of Christianity.  Today the Christmas cactus still blooms each winter with its message of faith and hope.



Monday, December 9, 2013

ICE, ICE, Baby ....

I love living in Fort Worth, Texas. I sometimes miss the dramatic change of seasons that happen in some of the other places I have lived, but I really enjoy being able to wear flip-flops during the winter and being able to wear boots for fashion because I want to, not because I HAVE to!

The Veloster Raptor - looking a little COLD!
Last week on Wednesday and Thursday our Texas weather was beautiful, with 70 and 80 degree temperatures. Then Friday afternoon Mother Nature decided to show us that it is December and it WILL get cold and icy and snowy! It took me a little over 2 hours to get home on Friday which isn't that unusual, but this time it was treacherous and with each minute I was on the road, the roads and weather was getting worse. The last 5 miles of my trip home, I was on complete ICE ... I saw people stopping on the side of the road and some sliding off the side of the road ... I just kept thinking -- SLOW AND STEADY, SLOW AND STEADY and I made it!

My horsey -- brrrrrrr!!!
Two "snow" days and the weekend, have had us at home for 4 days. There's still ICE and SNOW out there, and the sun is not shining down on Texas ... so I'm not sure how long this white stuff will be sticking around.  I decided to share some pictures from our deep freeze ... I know it doesn't look like much -- but ICE and SNOW in Texas isn't a good mix.

"Muffin, what's this white stuff?"
One of my agave ...
at the end of this post you'll see what happened to this plant!
Two dogs trying to find the ground!
One of my prickly pear cactus.
Where the spines come out are droplets of water that froze.
It looks like tiny crystals -- very pretty--hope the prickly pears survive!
Shadow thought Sock Monkey needed to come outside to play!
I don't think Sock Monkey was too happy!
Playing in the snow is FUN!
Muffin, come get me!
We must work together to SAVE the toys!!!  PULL, PULL!!!!
Yes - that is one of my pots from the greenhouse - I wonder
who dragged that out into the yard!  hmmmmmmmmm
Marineway Drive ... This is Day 2, but it is now Day 4
and it still looks like this!
Our trip to Target for groceries -- ICE! ICE! and more ICE!
The beauty of nature .....
the story of the agave continued ....
The ice stuck to each agave leave and as the leave hibernated ....
the ice "leaf" stayed in tact!

The plant in ICE! If the sun would have been shining on it
it would have been gorgeous!
But this is so cool!!!!

My agave - after the ice attached to the "leaves"

Frozen agave ...
It's WINTER ... so a little snow and ice is not that shocking! Steven and I even
had a snow ball fight yesterday - which was lots of fun.
And ... the icy snow crystals were really quite tasty - they would have made a great snow cone.
Soon I will be wearing flip-flops again ... and soon, it will be 100+ degrees outside ...
That's what happens when the SEASONs change!
So embrace nature and see the beauty and wonder when it's HOT and when it's NOT.
I hope you are all warm and toasty and stay SAFE!
Share your SNOWY, ICY pictures with me at thelifeofbud@aol.com
tell me where you are and I will try and do a post about the beauty of Winter
around the country!