Sunday, December 19, 2010

Decking the Halls and Other Places Too

Just when I was working towards posting more regularly.....BAM......decorating season began. It has been up awhile though the gifts aren't all wrapped, the parties have began and so has the baking. I have enjoyed seeing friends decorations posted so I took a bit of time to snap some scenes of an Artist Unplugged's plugged up home......... Mr. Unplugged and VolleyGirl set up the initial setting. BigBoy arrived home from school and are still adding to it. Those guys LOVE Christmas!

The foyer, just inside the front door.....not quite like I want but it looks festive with the little lights inside the glass containers filled with shiny ornaments.

The front stairs and view of the den from the foyer.

Big Boy and the chosen one agreed to be in the shot.

I put a small tree in the den since "someone" might bother the big tree. This year I put all the bulldog, golden retriever and a kitty ornaments on it which was met with glee. He owns the den, may as well decorate it that way!

Carolers, given to me by my MIL, are on a table in the den. Some of my Christmas plates, mugs and such are on the kitchen cupboard.

The dining room is to the right as you walk in the front door. It is painted a dark red. The chandelier came from my grandmother's house, as did the table, buffet and a china cabinet that isn't in the photo. The red tablecloth was embroidered by my mother, she used it on her dining room table which my brother has now.

The cupboard in the kitchen is covered with mugs to use.
Go up the front stairs, to the right ,down the end of the hall is a rec room where our big tree is up. Have had the white tree for a couple of years now....kind of a nice change. I will show the "wreck" room after I've finished wrapping. It's also where I paint.

Dudley checks out the lighted garland every year right after it's put up.

The kids' stocking were crocheted by my mom and are about 4 foot tall. She made one even bigger for her first grandchild, sort of as a joke. She reigned them in a little bit for the rest of the grandchildren. Makes a cute decoration and a conversation piece. Many gifts have been stuffed down into those stockings through the years. Hope to keep up a bit better if it doesn't get too hectic this week. May everyone be blessed and safe this week.

Friday, December 3, 2010

SkyWatch Friday

Chilly, early December morning before the moon and stars retired for the day. Apollo was totally unimpressed. See some impressive skies at !!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Treasured Recipe

There is still time for you to get yourself to the nearest grocery store, pick up the items and start preparing my dad's traditional, awesome cornbread dressing. I have posted the recipe as written by one of my beloved niece's (eldest grandchild). The first Christmas after my mother passed in September my dad insisted we have the dinner at his house. Not anything really new for him, being that he usually preferred to stay home and let everyone come there to visit. We never lacked for food around our house, especially during holiday meals. Mom always made what everyone liked, macaroni and cheese for me, fried okra, lima beans, creamed potatoes if no dressing, so that the beans and okra could stick to it for a trip to your mouth, deviled eggs, fruit salad, rolls, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, cake......uh, you get the idea. All that food but much of the talk went to dad and his dressing, which is awesome know....gotta give kudos to my mom while once again, dad's dressing is highlighted. My eldest niece, Stephenie, went out early to help with the making of the dressing. Frankly, I do not recall if dad made the cornbread alone the day before, probably, though he was weak then and the large cast iron skillet filled is heavy. He lived 45 minutes from she and I. She made a video of the whole process and I have yet to watch it, don't know if ever I will, but am sure that I want a copy to pass to my children. I have not made it in a while, deferring to my mother-in-law's recipe, which is very different, to please my picky eating husband. My kids like both recipes and this year wanted dad's. So today, I have baked the cornbread and cut up my vegetables, thawed my hen and am ready for tomorrow. My niece is making the dressing for my brother's (her father) side of the family's meal tomorrow. Her 4 year old little boy's is interested in cooking already, VolleyGirl is helping me tomorrow, just as she did today. The tradition will continue, hopefully.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Papa Loyd's Holiday Dressing & Giblet Gravy

Note: no shortcuts allowed. No broth instead of homemade stock. No store bought cornbread. I've tried the shortcuts and they just. don't. work. It's not the same.

1 hen (not chicken)
2-3 onions, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 large pones cornbread (if you don't know what a pone is you have no business making this recipe)
1/4 butter
2 TBS yellow mustard
2 TBS ketchup
2 TBS Italian seasoning
1/2 to 2/3 cup fresh sage, finely chopped (reduce amount if dried)
3 slices bread, torn up into small pieces
1 (8 oz.) can oysters, drained & chopped
3 TBS jarred pimento, finely chopped
salt & pepper to taste

The day before: cook cornbread & cool completely. Crumble both pones.

Day of Thanksgiving:

Remove giblets from hen and set aside.
Rinse hen and place in stockpot & cover with water, about 8 cups. Simmer covered until done, reserving broth. De-bone hen & reserve meat.

Preheat oven 350 degrees
In large saucepan melt butter & add onion, celery, and bell pepper. Add all the broth from hen, cover and simmer 10 minutes.

In BIG ("dressing") bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, torn bread pieces, & the broth mix until it reaches spaghetti sauce consistency. If mix is too soupy, add more bread pieces.

Add all the remaining ingredients & mix well.

Pour mixture into a large roasting pan. Bake 1 hour until golden.

Serve hot with giblet gravy & hen meat on the side.

Finely chop hen giblets.

Simmer 3 cups chicken broth on stovetop. Add flour a little at a time, stirring constantly until a smooth, thin rue is formed. Add chopped giblets, blend well, and simmer.

Salt, pepper, and otherwise season to taste, can add one or two sliced boiled eggs to gravy if you want to be extra-Southern.

Yields: enough for a crowd of at least 10-15.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dogs On Thursday

Alas, my friends, I am still very much here, taking nourishment and keeping a keen eye on that pesky, furry cat! Oh how he teases me with his strolls through my royal den, taunting, luring me with his crystal blue eyes. Down the front stairs he comes, effortlessly leaping over the inconvenient blockade placed by my two-legged servants. He pauses, looks, laughing silently as I lay upon the carpet. Step, pause, two steps, pause....oh, you little tomcat......dash to the kitchen on your silent fleeting pads. Run, I do, sort of, through the kitchen but once again, instantly before my arrival he leaps to his escape. We gaze momentarily, then up he goes instantly and lightly as a ballerina to the top of the back staircase while I, once again, am beckoned back to my starting position. Often I hear him run the length of the hallway above only to descend again signaling the game's start.

Enjoy your games my friends Snuffles, Annie, Emma, Luna, Buddy, Dizzy, Penney, Tonka, Hope, Trixie, Bella, Zoe, Chief, Sophie and Budro! My earnest wishes for your full recovery Snickers, will be checking in on you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pencil Me In....

Started this color pencil drawing last night. Colors aren't showing up true to life (and yes, object is larger than it appears on screen) but you get the idea. Hopefully I can get quite a few Christmas pieces complete and sell them since I've had a few inquiries about it. Thanks for all the sweet comments on the new baby though I must clarify that it is my niece. I've yet to achieve the grandma status yet hope not to for a few years since BigBoy is engaged, graduating from college this spring and VolleyGirl from high school.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Joy To Our World!!!

God has blessed our family with a new life! Mr. Unplugged's sister gave birth to a beautiful 8 lb., 1 oz. baby girl Friday morning! She is named after her grandmother, something that my sister-in-law told me she would do for many years if she ever had a daughter. I first met my SIL when she was 10, Mr. U is 12 years her senior. Jenny has an adorable big brother that turned three in August. It was for his party that I made the pirate cake. Loved holding her last night and VolleyGirl and I are excited to have a girl, making the grandchildren breakdown to now be 2 girls and 4 boys! We are going to have some fun shopping for girlie things (and making some girlie cakes)!!!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

SkyWatch Friday

Snapped this yesterday leaving the busyness in the sky and color of the trees. Check out more skies at and have a great Friday!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


To the many vets that can never be personally thanked for their ultimate sacrifice, to the many vets that served, their lives changed forever, to the many vets that gave a portion of their lives, to veterans of tomorrow, serving now, risking their lives, sacrificing time from loved ones to keep us safe here at home, to the one vet that helped raise me - words are not enough, let us not ever take for granted your gift to our country.

Monday, November 1, 2010

An Apple A Day........

While waiting to dispense treats or be tricked, I finished up this candy apple that I started last week. VolleyGirl has been out of school last week and until Wednesday this week while her high school's brand new school was being finished up and making a move. She also had outside senior photos early Saturday morning, will post on that later this week. This meant picking out four outfits for that and all that goes with it. Hope everyone's Halloween was pleasant....can't believe the time has slipped by again!!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dogs On Thursday (Late Edition)

Time has slipped by, but sniffing grass has my nub wagging. The green is leaving, matters not to me, it's all about the aromas, baby!Anytime is a good time for some much needed rest....still getting plenty. Last week was filled with an adventurous road trip. It is refreshing to view my subjects from time to time. Wow.....check me out there, looking good! That slick-floored place isn't so terrible....they love to pet me. All in all, it's worth it. Medicine makes me drink and eat even more like a king! Hello! Up extra early for the bathroom please!
Rest. Again. It does a body good.
Enjoy your adventures my good buddies Snuffles, Annie, Emma, Luna, Snickers, Buddy, Dizzy, Penney, Tonka, Hope, Trixie, Bella, Zoe, Chief, Sophie and Budro!

Friday, October 22, 2010

SkyWatch Friday

I live close to an international airport.......see more friendly skies at

Monday, October 11, 2010


Yep.....broke the long, dry spell. With, of course. Did this while watching a sorry football game.....probably will be a couple more fall/Halloween little drawings soon. Always like working with pencils the best, what I'm most comfortable with. Probably the last week of volleyball, BigBoy was home over the weekend so of course I baked him a blueberry cobbler and his favorite cookies. VolleyGirl is out of school today, we may shop a little. Hope all is well, hope to catch up with everyone soon.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dogs On Thursday

The task is not an easy one, bearer of the light. Though I shall continue..........til nap time.
Shine your light, my friends Snuffles, Annie, Emma, Luna, Snickers, Buddy, Dizzy, Penney, Tonka, Hope, Trixie, Bella, Zoe, Chief and Sophie!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Recovering from a week filled with work, volleyball (lots and lots). Will catch up with everyone soon.

Friday, September 24, 2010

SkyWatch Friday

See the skies that aren't hanging above your head at

Dogs On Thursday

Yes, a shadow of myself. That majestic silhouette weighed in at 73 lbs. last week.
Deep in thought.
Can you say - frazzled?
Love to you my Snuffles, Annie, Emma, Luna, Snickers, Buddy, Dizzy, Penney, Tonka, Hope, Trixie, Bella, Zoe, Chief and Sophie!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pride and Funk

Here is the beautiful cover of the University of Alabama yearbook that BigBoy was asked to design. Yes, I am a proud mama!

Sorry to be missing so often, trying to be better. I have not created any art, feel in a rut in many areas, not just art. The hole will not ever be so deep that I will not scratch myself out! Many of you were and are my inspiration, sadly, often it brings up feelings of inadequacy and frustration with myself when I see all the art created daily. Yeah, that was a bone baring comment.....but at the same time it also pushes me to move on past my struggles. Okay, confessions over, time to see what I can do with this day, my blessings are so bountiful!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Posting this rose in memory of my mom, Rose. Myself, my daughter and a great niece all have her name as middle names. Lost her eight years ago to cancer. Stubborn heart, still has a gaping hole. Precious memories, don't leave my brain.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Thinking of those that lost loved ones today, those who have lost loved ones defending this country because of this day. My brother's birthday is today, thankful for this day.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dogs On Thursday: Celebrate!

I love a good party. Will not miss one if it's here at my castle. This one is a special best buddy. What's in there buddy? Anything that needs a good gnawing on? View isn't any better over here. What's that? Wow, a mug....covered in canines with a little bulldog on the inside of it! Someone has really good taste........taste......something smells cake....lemon bars........yum!
That was fun. Fine. Guess I really don't need a bite. Mom's been referring to me as "Fatness" and "Fatstuff" all summer. That's okay, though I miss hearing"Fat Bastard". Perhaps I will fake an identity crisis, you know, pretend I don't know who she's talking to. That would be "groovy baby"!
All my friends out there, enjoy your buddies' sweet talk this week. I mean you -Snuffles, Annie, Emma, Luna, Snickers, Buddy, Dizzy, Penney, Tonka, Hope, Trixie, Bella, Zoe, Chief and Sophie. Later, I'm tired.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Happy Birthday!!!

"Little" BigBoy is 22 years old today. Promptly arrived on his due date. He was always wonderful to take for photos, always could make him laugh. Only trouble was that he would get so tickled (southern for amused) he would break his pose. He comes home tomorrow for the long weekend. Sadly, he has the crud (southern for stuffy nose, runny nose, cough and sore throat).
This is from last year's birthday. He has requested lemon bars this year....but I'm also making him banana bread. Considering making a strawberry cake too. We'll see. VolleyGirl has the crud a bit also but played great in the volleyball game tonight. She has a tournament Saturday a bit over an hour away, starts early. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, at least all my baby chicks will be in the nest!!!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Batter Up!

Pretty much spent the past four days preparing two cakes for this past Saturday. The first, a pirate cake for my nephew's 3rd birthday party. Finished it Friday night, party was at 4 p.m. the next day on the mountain. Above is a side view. The "beach" is light brown sugar.

The black "thingies" in the "water" are shark fins out of a semi-sweet chocolate bar. The ship top black section and sails were found at Hobby Lobby for $2 and the pirates came from a cake decorating store. The bottom of the ship was baked in a loaf pan and iced in chocolate buttercream icing, first time I made it. Was so freakin' simple, what we have missed over the past many years!!! The cake is chocolate with buttercream icing.

The next cake was finished Saturday around noon. It was to be for a casual engagement party Saturday night for one of my niece's second marriage. It was a 10' and 6' double layer each of white cake with buttercream frosting which is more of an ivory since I use butter in the icing. The initials are in tiffany blue. The couple were having an engagement party then getting married on a cruise......surprise......they actually got married at the party, to everyone's surprise except for a few. My dear eldest niece gave me the scoop just the day before since I would be party hopping I did get there in time! I went to the "engagement" party alone since VolleyGirl had a team sleepover to attend and Mr. U had sports events he wanted to attend. Upon seeing all the cars at the party upon rounding the curve.....I said aloud, "I didn't make enough cake!" She told me to make enough for didn't matter, but all was eaten. This has been all the art I have summoned in weeks, though my thoughts are that more will be done this week. Not the edible kind. Okay, I take that back. BigBoy's birthday is next Thursday but he has requested lemon bars. Pfffft, must have at least a little birthday cake........
Hopefully I can get around to leaving comments.....been slammed hard (pun intended) with the start of volleyball. First weekend tournament was 3 hours out of town and had to spend the night followed by a 2 1/2 hour trip for a game the following Monday. Games are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday this week capped off with a tournament on Saturday. I'm in charge of the food table so I get to carry alot of things and food to set up....but it is fun, just tiring. I do hope to work on my time management to get back to regular visits.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dogs On Thursday

Above is the poster my best buddy designed for dad for Father's Day....the white reflections, etc, are not part of his design....that's the crafty photography work of my secretary, ahem, so on top of things with sharing! Naturally, this hangs in dad's study, where he may look up above his desk and admire me.....or, he could just look behind him if I'm sleeping under the little desk......OR, just to his right in my leather throne. Either way, it's all about me, why would anyone want it any other way.
Last night I was waiting at the door and decided that probably I could just take myself out. The royal lead hangs on a doorknob to the right. Let's see, should hold one end by the paw......
That was terribly exhausting. Thus I must retire atop my royal pillow......Dear friends of fur, don't wait for the pokey two-legged buddies, take matters into your own paws! Til next week my buds Snuffles, Annie, Emma, Luna, Snickers, Buddy, Dizzy, Penney, Tonka, Hope, Trixie, Bella, Zoe, Chief and Sophie!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

BigBoy is ENGAGED!!!

high school......
last year.....
this summer..... baby boy is engaged as of a week ago today! It was not a surprise to me, especially since he took my engagement ring and gave it to her. It was given to my mother-in-law for her engagement, handed down to my husband to give to me and now I do the same. Yes, my mother-in-law and I both had a replacement beforehand! They are both graduate next spring and the nuptials will not be before the spring after that, so a long engagement. I wouldn't change a thing about her, she's beautiful, kind, thoughtful, fun, intelligent, hardworking and he loves her as she is so why would I want to? Hmmmmm, what shall her blog name be....I'm thinking "BigGirl" is not going to be the choice!!!!! Back on that one later!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tuesday's Bloom

The 2010 volleyball teams, before the spandex shorts are applied.....VolleyGirl, in the cream dress and long mane is in the middle, just right of center.
Yes, another busy summer, filled with a few tasks, performed for the last time: volleyball photos, senior pictures, still learning to drive.....Pictured above are the seniors on this year's varsity volleyball team. These girls have been friends since first grade, they get along so well. I had a good time helping pose all the girls for photos and giving efforts towards making them smile! They are used to my goofiness.
It was sooooooo hot out there that day, we were in the Botanical Gardens. Yep, she's number 10. I told her she looked like a "Breck Girl", but she didn't get it, thoses commercial were before her timeMy BigBoy did the artwork for the front cover of the team's program, the seniors had some action shots taken at the gym. This is one of my favorites.
Last but certainly, not the least, the Senior portrait. Thank goodness there was one she liked! All these photos and not one did she have her hair in natural curls. Having casual ones made in October by a friend cause she wanted to wear more wintry clothing. She is finally driving to school this year, so this makes the first year in sixteen years that I haven't been dropping a kid off at school....I won't lie.....feels pretty good.....well, after I receive her text announcing she has arrived safely! The bloom on Tuesday? It's Rose, VG's middle name, just as mine, after my mother. It's our favorite flower.