Monday, December 3, 2018

Advent Art 2

Advent season 2018
I make my Christmas cards. I wish I could make little watercolor card fronts for all of them, but that's never happened. I love using stamps and die cuts to create fun cards.

Scribble tree
I rarely make elaborate fancy cards. Simple is fun for me. Unlike many artists I admire, I just cannot bring myself to make sets of cards that are alike. The best I can do is go with similar. 

Simple cards are easy, however, simple can be challenging too. There's the inevitable urge to add more...There's the choice of colors that is critical to bringing it all together. When you go simple, every element has to count.

Here's one of the Sizzix(tm) scribble tree dies with a print paper border. I enjoy using non-traditional Christmas colors. 

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Advent Art

The art of Christmas...what a joy. For the next few posts (totally related to the time and photos I have available), I'll be sharing some of my Christmas art. 

Angels make me happy. This one is ink and watercolor matted on Christmas paper for a card.

About Advent
Advent is "the first season of the Christian church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays."  It is the season observed in Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting for Christ. 

I get a bit annoyed with the common concept of "12 days of Christmas"  being before Christmas. These 12 days are actually the 12 days between Christmas and the coming of the Magi (you know, those 3 kings--smile). Yes, Virginia, there is a Christmastide season and it is NOT the 12 days before Christmas.

And now, I apologize for getting all huffy. Seriously, if you are celebrating the birth of Christ, then the blessing is the blessing.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Self Defense makes sense

If you have attended any of my live seminars or seen me at local shows then you know my motto, "Self defense makes sense." 

Pepper spray is one of the "most asked for" items that I demonstrate. Until recently, however, I stopped recommending pepper spray because it is difficult to use, the blow back (especially here in Florida) was impossible to plan and predict, and pepper spray was a difficult skill to practice and maintain.

Sabre now offers an exceptional form of pepper spray in a gel formulation. The blow back is substantially lessened plus it is now an effective tool for indoor use in large buildings. Regular pepper spray could harm large buildings and their occupants via the ventilation systems, but the gel does not.

Plus, the smart folks at Sabre offer not only the gel spray but a practice spray and target as well. 

Look Alive, Be Alive
Tools are great, IF you use them. Don't think owning a tool makes you safe. If your tool is at the bottom of your purse or in your car or just out of mind then your tool is useless. You must know how to use any self defense tool and stay vigilant about keeping and using it.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Memory Stretches

Today’s Slipper Camp Workout

Stretch your list memory today. Memorize your current grocery list, your to-do list, a list of names from work or social life, a list of bones in your foot—anything that is a sequence of list of items. This list recall exercise will improve your ability to retain information.


·         Use memory tricks such as this one on Wikkihow:

·         Watch this great video on memory from Ted Talks

Slipper Camp: A kinder, gentler boot camp designed to assist you in living well.

Camp Motto: Being kind to yourself makes you strong.

Follow along with the  Slipper camp workouts and check out my Facebook Page

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Finally I can print photos from my phone--quick, easy, and great quality

I have searched and searched and tried--oh how I've tried, to find a way to print the photos from my phone. I've finally found the best:

Here's what I love about Cannon SELPHY:
1. High Quality photos--if you've taken a decent photo with your phone then you will get a great print.
Thanks to the Cannon SELPHY I made a last minute anniversary
gift for my sweethusband by putting the 6" by 4" photo in a 5" by
7" magnetic photo frame with a print paper back-ground and a
paper butterfly attached on top.
Tip: Most phones now include a photo editor to improve your pictures or you can get an app
2. Printer price--The printer with refill paper is only $149.00, it is under $100.00 with a small sample amount of paper.
3. Photo price--the price of each print is about .31 each. Yes, it's more than taking your pictures to a retail outlet, but the advantage of not traveling to a store or having prints mailed is worth it for me.
Note: these prints are the standard 4" by 6" no crazy size tiny prints with this baby.
4. I only print the photos I need and want for a particular project. If I want to print a photo to mail in a card to my Mom I can do it in 3 minutes. That 3 minutes includes plugging in the printer, connecting to WiFi, loading paper and pressing the print button. If I'm working on a project life (scrapbook) page or a collage frame photo gift, I can print those as I need them.
5. It's light weight, less than 4 lbs. That's HUGE for me and my lifting capabilities. Especially if I want to take it to a party or crop or just to visit family.
I took this photo while my friend Bridget
was visiting and gave it to her in a "going-away"
card when she left the next day.--It's so easy 
and fun to do "instant" photos to give away
with the Cannon SELPHY.
6. Every package of paper comes with the exact about of ink needed to print that number of photos. I don't have to order paper and then order ink and then check to see if I have enough ink.
7. I can print ANY photo on my phone. That means if I get an email or text photo from family or friends, I can have a print right away.
8. It's very easy to use.

Biggest issue for me was doing the initial set-up. When you get yours, pay close attention to selecting the WiFi connection. If you want to take the printer outside of your home then you will want to set up your phone itself as the WiFi connection. The instructions explain how to do this, but make sure you follow them, and have an ink pen handy to write notes and the WiFi password. I keep my instruction book with the printer at all times. If I go over a month without using it I will forget the things I forget everywhere such as how to load paper, which side is up, etc.

If you click the link above to get your printer from Amazon I may get a tiny percentage of the sale. I only recommend products I absolutely love and 99% of time actually own. Thanks!

Sunday, June 3, 2018


True Confession--I love "As-seen-on-TV" products.
Next confession--I am baffled about how to get the spacing correct on my blog today.

Back to "As-seen-on-TV" products.
They had me at Ginsu knives and our affair has never ended. I love:
  • watching the infomercial
  • the shopping channel presentation
  • the wacky late night ads
  • the You-Tube(TM) videos
I get a little thrill hearing that one low price will solve problems I never knew I had and bring products to my home that I never dreamed possible.
What I really love is an entrepreneur and the entrepreneurial spirit. In many cases, someone, somewhere, had an idea for a product that people might really like and use. They took an idea and they put it out there.

The Pitch
I spent a large portion of my working life in sales. I wore many different job titles, but they all came down to sales. I love a "good pitch." An infomercial or online presentation is a pure undisguised sales pitch.
I love a good online pitch too. The combination of writing, graphics, and videos is wonderful.

Fine Print
Yes, there are some companies who specialize in grabbing your cash without providing a decent product. In my experience, the most unscrupulous companies are using online advertising and web sites now instead of the more traditional (and expensive) television advertising. After all, if they want to rip us off, then online sales has the lowest up-front cost for the seller.

Do Your Research

James White has a You Tube(TM) channel that is devoted to ASOTV products:
I found a blog recently that reviews ASOTV products called Does it really work?
So far, their reviews match my own for the products I have tried and now I'm ready to try purchasing a few more based on their feedback.
Another site that has done research and collects reviews on these products is HighYa Highya also reviews products and services from many companies beyond the As-Seen-on-TV genre. While I have not reviewed this web site extensively, it strikes me as a decent consumer advocacy and research reporting site.
So far, I am impressed with their articles related to products such as the article "6 Ways to Naturally Reduce Stress and Increase Productivity" linked to a review of the brain exercise app Lumosity(tm).
Buyer Buy Smart
Many stores carry ASOTV products in the store. When possible, buy them in the store to avoid shipping costs and make returns easier. If you use Amazon Prime(TM) shopping, that's another way to find products, avoid shipping, and do free returns.

Sometimes there are rotten eggs, but sometimes
there are just cute chicks...
There's always a few rotten eggs
Unfortunately, there are scams everywhere. Be wary and check out articles like this one "Top Online Scams and How to Avoid Them."

Saturday, April 28, 2018

They do it so well

I enjoy making videos and posting them on YouTube. I have not posted one in ages.  There's a good reason for that...

So many others do it so well, there's no need for me to do it again.

 I say this with gratitude, appreciation, and quite cheerfully.

 Here is a link to the playlists on my channel:

 As you view it you will see some of the things that interest me. Many of them I've never mentioned on the blog because they are not topics I focus on here in the blog.
This means you now have some insight into what interests me in the world. It also leads me to suggest that you look at the playlist on any You Tube channels created by individuals. I have found this enlightening, possibly because I'm always curious and occasionally find myself down a rabbit hole..

Here are some recent greeting cards I made inspired by videos and Pinterest which is another rabbit hole I'll address another time-smile.
Both cards are goofing around
with doodles
and Grunge stamps
 by Stampin' Up.

They are also here because everyone likes photos and reads more with pictures.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Today is Daddy's birthday

Birthdays in our family are celebrated for days, even months. We're so glad we were born. Smile. We just love celebrating. It's not uncommon for us to sing to ourselves or direct the "choir" as it sings to us.
This is the last time we celebrated Dad's birthday in Florida. 2007. I made cupcakes and served them on a Pineapple pedestal with ice cream.We do love cake and ice cream--smile.

Daddy's favorite version of the birthday song with names available for changing as occasion stipulates:

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to Daddy
Happy Birthday
God Bless You
Happy Birthday to Daddy

Click to read my witness to Daddy:  

Witness to the life of Norman S. Chattin

Witness for Norman Chattin, delivered January 5, 2018 at the Celebration of Life Service, Westminster Canterbury, Richmond, VA

On behalf of my mother and myself, thank you all for joining us to celebrate my Daddy’s life.  Daddy always said, “Funerals are for the living,” and we are honored and comforted by your presence.  

Pray with me please: Lord let the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts together today be acceptable in thy sight oh Lord my strength and my redeemer. amen

Faith Family Education
My brother David and I grew up in a LOT of houses, but in only one home. That was the one with tomatoes growing in the back yard, our pictures on the wall, and plenty of food in the kitchen.
We heard that education is a top priority. “There are 3 things no one can ever take away from you. Your faith, your family, and your education.”
As for the education part—getting a library card in our family was almost as big of a deal as getting a driver’s license.

Off to camp and beyond
When I was eight, my library card led me to a book about sleep-away summer camp. There was this kid who went to camp and made all kinds of new friends and had great adventures and wow, I was convinced that I needed to go to summer camp and began writing away for applications.
After eliminating all the camps that would only take 9-year olds I came upon Camp Kittamaqund—a Girl Scout camp in North Thumberland County that would take 8-year-olds if they had completed the third grade.
Score! I had found my summer camp. I begged and pleaded and Mom and Daddy scraped up the money and I was going away to camp for 14 days.
As we packed me up with all the required and suggested items, Daddy would look in on me and say, you don’t have to go if you don’t want to…you can always change your mind.” I’d say okay, and quickly reassure him that I REALLY wanted to go.
The day they dropped me off, Daddy said, “You can always come home, if you want to come home for any reason, you just have them call and I’ll come get you.” I promised him I would call if I didn’t want to stay.
The first day of camp we had mail delivery. I was the only camper who got mail that first day and it came from Daddy. He said he missed me and don’t forget he’d come get me anytime I wanted to come home.
Every mail call after that I got a letter from Daddy, and not only Daddy, but from mom, aunts and cousins and neighbors and church members. He gave everyone my address and I received mail and canteen money and bookmarks and funny papers and homemade cookies.
I had a blast. I never once thought about going home until it was time to go home. When my parents arrived I ran gleefully into my their arms—covered in mud and grinning from ear to ear.
I went away to some type of summer camp every year after that until I finished high school. Every time I left Daddy told me all I had to do was have them call and he’d come get me. And while I was gone, he wrote to me every day.

         Off to College
When it was time to leave for college-- Daddy once again said I could change my mind at any point and stay home ( even though I was going to “the family school” --there was always community college)—and once again told me he would come get me any time. While I was at Randolph-Macon, he wrote to me at least once a week and often more. Whenever I called home from school and he answered the phone the first thing out of his mouth was, “do you need me to come get you?”
I was fearless in the world because I knew I could always go home. There were times that I did go home, more than once, without judgement or blame.
That was the foundation of my education about faith and family.

Back at home
I didn’t always learn from books either. I learned from people.
We like to say our family didn’t bring home stray animals, we brought home stray people.
 Over the years there were
·         kids from the Methodist Children’s Home,
·         younger family members starting out or returning from their personal journeys,
·         college presidents,
·         missionaries from Africa and India,
·         itinerant Christian actors from the covenant players
·         pregnant teenagers,
·         a traveling salesman from India who worked for a Hong Kong tailoring company,
·         lonely folks who had experienced loss,
·         wives escaping unhappy homes,
·         Vietnamese war refugees,
·         ministers thinking of joining the ministry or questioning if they should say in the ministry,
·         my grandmothers would come for a week or more,
·         couples wanting to be married,
·         various district superintendents,
·         even the Bishop once,
·         and as my brother and I got older we added to the mix by bringing home
·         foreign exchange students (Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, Holland, Canada and Buffalo, NY—which could have been as far away as France all things considered),
·         roommates,
·         fraternity brothers,
·         girlfriends,
·         boyfriends,
·         and my Mom’s personal favorite—the 6 member rock band I brought home one night (turns out one of them was the grandson of a United Methodist minister that Daddy knew…)

Daddy had a way with people and it spread into all our lives. He was a good preacher, but he was a great pastoral minister. He wasn’t one of those “scripture shouters.” He found a way to relate to folks that made them feel comfortable and accepted.

No one's perfect
Of course there were things he couldn’t do, and he was usually the first to tell you about them—
As he would say, he could not carry a tune in a bucket. That didn’t stop him from cheerfully singing along on family drives or in church (without a mike). He liked to say he knew all the words to two songs, “Pine Tree” and “Amen.” Those lyrics, in case you hadn’t guessed, were exactly the same as the title of the songs.
He couldn’t read a map and had no sense of direction.
He wasn’t an athlete, the only game he ever taught us was roll-a-bat which is a little like baseball but requires a lot less skill.
He wasn’t a carpenter or a mechanic.
And—he could not tell a joke. He loved jokes and always wanted to hear them but when he would start telling one he’d begin laughing so much that he’d miss the punchline.

Many Gifts
But he COULD get things done. . There was always an “ease” with the way Daddy did things.
He could have you volunteering for a task and halfway finished before you realized you were doing it. And by the time you did finish, you felt better about yourself than you ever imagined.
He could get in and out of places when others could not—Back when hospitals had super strict visiting hours my Daddy could get in and out any time.
Stores or restaurants that had closed would somehow let him in anyway.
He could visit anyone in jail and, on occasion could get an inmate released in time for Christmas with his family.
He found scholarships for students, spots in nursing homes, jobs for executives or waitresses and he always knew where to get the best hot dog in town.
Remember that Vietnamese refugee family I mentioned? After our church had sponsored the family and helped get them settled in a home Daddy worked unceasingly to find one of their sons who was not with his parents when Hanoi fell. He found him, got him out of a camp in California and brought him to Virginia. The joy on their faces when they were reunited was indescribable.
Daddy loved to garden. Every home he ever lived in had flowers in the front yard and tomato plants in the back. He even grew flowers and tomatoes right here at Westminster in the resident gardens.
Yes, there were things he couldn’t do, but he was magnificent with what he could do. 

Faith and family and education.
He had priorities, he lived those priorities, and he did with ease, with joy, and with grace.

I'll keep going
I know there is a heaven,. I know my Daddy is there.

I don’t know a lot about it. I don't exactly know how to get there.

I am certain however, that if I find myself struggling, Daddy will come get me.