New Necklines


I have no explanation for why I hate collars.  There is nothing sharper looking than a pressed collared shirt.  Seems like if you like the way they look, you could overcome whatever you have against them.  But I never have.

This post is trying out a technique I found online and one I’ve had in my mind for a long time.

Both of these shirts were purchased at a resale store with the specific intention of throwing them away if this didn’t work.


The first one is the easiest.  It leaves a slight Nehru style collar.  I could live with this.


You just get some sharp scissors and cut as close to the collar band as possible.  I was really skeptical about this.  It sure couldn’t get any easier, and it really looks okay.

Now for the tricky one.  It had a different kind of collar band which made it an excellent candidate for the technique I planned to use.  This is an idea I am inventing as I go.  It might work, might not.  At least I’ll bring the idea out of my head.

IMG_1563.JPGThis is the original collar.  Time to go.

IMG_1565.JPGIt looks better already.


Ha!  Pattern making

IMG_1597.JPGTruthfully…this is the point that I asked myself why I was doing this.  Collars as so hard to deal with, and I realized I didn’t have a plan to finish it on the bottom where this facing ends.  I seriously considered showing this shirt in the garbage can.  No! That will not do….persevere.  Sew that final seam. !



This is the final look, before the final hand sewing on the inside.

I’d consider it sort of a success.  There is no collar.  I figured out that a smaller facing might make this process easier.  On the down side, this took a while, and it wasn’t near as easy as whacking the collar off with scissors.

If I ever try this again, it will be on a blouse I truly love.


To begin with, this is a tricky word to pronounce.  Consultation with the online dictionary yields two pronunciations.  The adjective that means “can move about,” as in, “If we put wheels on the BBQ pit, we can make it mobile,”  sounds like it rhymes with “go, bull”.

The kind of hanging sculpture that I’m talking about sounds like the city in Alabama.  But maybe you’ve never been to Mobile, Alabama so consult the online dictionary.  It has a helpful list of words that rhyme with the art mobile.   It says that this kind rhymes with cornmeal and spike heel.  What ?!?  It really rhymes with “for real”, if you say it like you’re making a hip hop video….”fo’ real”.      OK, then.


Anyway, there is no art form I love more than mobiles.  My earliest ones were paper strung on a coat hanger with yarn.  Then I graduated to blown out painted eggs hanging from string.  Middle school came my cutting up drink cans and connecting them with wire phase.  High school, I had a huge tree branch with other branches circulating about.

When I was teaching, I had a particularly mature and gifted class of fifth graders.  The boys in the class always figured out some way to balance on the edge of appropriateness. I thought I had the perfect art activity that they could not connect to firearms or vomit.  It was a mobile of a parrot sitting on a ring.  They won.  When “grading” one kid’s work, I noticed that his parrot was wearing high-top tennis shoes and a t-shirt that said,  “Say NO to Cigars.”

My post is going to be a creation to provide a suitable place for my new air plants to live and grow.

These are the plants I’m working with.  The largest two came from The Great Outdoors in Austin.  The other ten I ordered from Amazon.  They came in a box.  It was just plants in a box.  They’ve lived in the bowl since then.  Time for new digs. 😆


Here they are sorted.


Now it’s time to wrap each little plant with its own wire.


Finally, all the airplants are wired together…

to spin and fly and grow.



Good ideas lead to other ideas.  I thought about the wisks in the kitchen drawer.


This is a ball moss.  They grow well in live oak trees.


Here the ball moss is sitting in the potato masher.  Really, I included this picture to show the little maple seeds on the Japanese maple tree.

If you regard yourself as a person who can’t keep plants alive, you might want to try some airplants.  They are readily available, even at your local big hardware chain store.  I recommend passing on the expensive hanging globes that are for sale.  You can make your own.  Anything you like can be turned into a mobile…just wire it up and hang it.

a to z letter badge M


IMG_1205.JPGThis is my lizard.  I first found him on my plant stand one morning when I rolled it out of the garage.  Apparently, he had spent the night inside.  A remarkable thing about him/her is how large it is.  This is a common anole, frequently found basking on the porch or relaxing in the shade of a plant.  It is unusual to find one this big around my house.

On the previous post I showed a feeder I tried to entice it to eat mealworms from.  As I kept checking, it showed up and looked rather sickly.  Different large spots on it were a light gray.  Closer inspection yielded the idea that it might be shedding its skin.  Do lizards molt ?  Google.  Yes, they do.  You might be wondering why I don’t have a picture of the shedding lizard.  It was rather dark and it was hiding behind the Japanese yew shrub.  You’ll have to believe my description.

Here is a picture of another anole.

IMG_1540.JPGThe bricks have different lengths, but the height is consistent.  I’d estimate this one to be two bricks plus one mortar joint long.  Now compare the next picture.

IMG_1228.JPGSee how this lizard spans almost three bricks and two mortar joints ?

Since it is wild, it is used to live bugs.  It is doubtful that it will eat the freeze-dried meal worms I’m putting in it’s feeder.  However, the googled info did say that a small pool can help them with their shedding so perhaps it’s an upgraded amenity I can provide for its comfort.

a to z letter badge L


Yeah, yeah, I could’ve done kites….and avoided the trip to the craft store….but online reviews kept talking about how fun this was….and fast !   Sounds like something I’d like.  Luckily, beginner kits with all the supplies are around $25….and the discount coupon….I’m in business.

I haven’t been apologizing for running a day late because this is something I started for fun.  Since I really like schedules, I’m trying to get back on track.  So it seems like a good day to “kill two birds with one stone”.  Believing in that saying means you are really gullible or you’re an optimist.  I’m the latter.  However, I also believe in the wise saying,”If at first you don’t succeed, try a couple more times, but don’t be a damn fool about it”.

This is a lizard feeder full of mealworms.  I invented it.  I can watch it while I’m doing the kumihimo.  So far, my lizard hasn’t shown up…but I don’t usually see him til the afternoon.  See how I’m working on K and L at the same time ?

IMG_1522This is all the stuff you get in the kit.  I did the math…it’s the way to go.  The white thing on the right is a zippered pouch for you to put all these supplies in when you sell it at a garage sale.

I got the disk all rigged up and started braiding.


This is a short video I made to show how quick and easy kumihimo is.

This is the finished braid, ready to be turned into a bracelet.


Everything people said about kumihimo is true.  It is easy.  This was just an eight-strand braid, but more complicated patterns can be made with 16 or 24 strands.  It is fun and fast.  You can make a braid like this in under an hour while you are watching TV or talking to someone.  I know I’ll make more braids.  It’s a good thing I bought some extra cord in different colors !

a to z letter badge K


Joki, JawZ, and Jetties

are copyrighted Zentangle patterns that I can’t draw here.  Who knew ?  I thought that I could draw a few of these as an introduction to zentangles.  It seems wrong to have to wait until “Z” to work on these fun drawings.  The picture below is a tangle that practices with the new pens.  Can you tell that I was more comfortable with the larger size pens ?

zen pens.JPGIn case this looks like random doodling to you, it might be a surprise to learn the rules of zentangles:

~  it has no “up” or “down”

~  it doesn’t picture anything…it is abstract

~  it is created by black ink on white paper

~  it is meant to be portable so you can make one anytime, anyplace

~  it is unplanned…the design reveals itself as you draw

~  if you make a mark that you don’t really like…don’t erase, use it to help you continue

~  it is celebratory, like meditation….doing it should make you feel good

With all of that in mind, I have to say that some of my favorite tangles depict flower or plant-like images.  Again, posting the work of others is iffy.  People are protective of their work, and it seems wrong to steal it.

One very attractive aspect of tangling is that it really doesn’t take fancy equipment to start.  I also like the quickness.  You don’t have to invest a lot of time to get started.  It definitely shares the element of the more you practice, the better your zentangles with be, with lots of other activities.

Sorry to make you go search for some live drawing, but my computer won’t let me post the videos.

Enjoy watching, or pick up something to draw with, and have a good time.

a to z letter badge J

Ink…..Alcohol Ink

IMG_1512 You are seeing the end result of practice with alcohol inks.  I couldn’t imagine an art product that I knew nothing about… a trip to the craft store and my online coupon set me up with a few supplies.  IMG_1499.JPGThe paper has a slick finish, and the squares are ceramic tiles that I got for sixteen cents each.  The stamper has removable felt squares that you put a few drops of the ink on.



That was fun.  Now to try for some swirly designs that come from putting ink drops directly on the paper or tile.

IMG_1505.JPGThis is fun because the colors bleed into each other.  You can blow or drag a stick around to mix them.  But where are the beautiful results that others have posted online ?  This abstract design keeps making me rotate the piece trying to turn it into something I recognize.  The final product is pretty underwhelming.  Many of the really beautiful pictures I’ve seen were of flowers so maybe that’s the direction I should go.

IMG_1513.JPGAdding more ink and stamping made that tile look a lot better.  It still makes me wonder what it is a picture of.  Maybe it’s time to start a new tile.

IMG_1515.JPGThis new start is looking a lot better.  According to the directions, one of the hard parts is deciding when to stop.  So this experiment was fun, but I really think more practice and colors would yield the best results.

a to z letter badge I



Not basketball…hula hooping.  I’ve had an interest in hooping for a few years now.  The trouble is you don’t get better by wishing for it.  You have got to practice.  This may be what keeps me interested.  I know that if I’d put in the time, I’d get better.  Since my objective for participating in this A to Z blogging challenge was to learn to do things on my computer…today I’m going to attempt to post videos so you can see some talented folks.

That is a short video to show some beginner moves.

For a fancier video showing lots of more complicated moves, click below.

That video also shows how nice an LED hoop looks.

Check this out…it totally cracks me up.

The next video shows the Austin Flow Jam that is held every Tuesday evening on the steps of the state Capitol.  Since this was special, with lit up props…it’s called the Glow Jam.  I’ve been to Flow Jam one time, and it was quite fun.  Everyone was very friendly and helpful about teaching the tricks they knew.  You’ll notice that there are jugglers, hoopers, and people spinning staffs and poi (looks like a bean bag on a string)

Hope you’ve enjoyed the videos.  It was pretty easy to put them on here.

a to z letter badge H