Sunday, November 21, 2010


I have been gone so long, I might be writing to thin air, and I wouldn't blame my few readers for abandoning ship.  The reason for my absence feels like a foray into hell.  I know it could be worse, but my life was literally turned up-side-down!  I've tried to be very private about this, but I think it would be therapeutic to write about it.
I have been happily married for 36 years, and one of my favorite movie songs and scenes was from The Wedding Singer's "I Wanna Grow Old With You!" Just before summer began, my husband  asked me to look him in the eye and tell him if I was cheating on him.  If you know me, you know that's laughable.  I was puzzled and thought, "How cute!  He still thinks I'm hot!"  But the amusement ended quickly as he began to claim to see me "about town," heard neighbors "talking" about my exploits, and began to spy on me (he even secretly placed an audio recorder in the house).
I had just had major abdominal surgery, but ended up having to live with my youngest daughter for about three months because I just couldn't convince him of my faithfulness.  My daughter decided that they needed to move shortly before I had to have another minor surgery.  Because the two surgeries were so close, I didn't do well, and needed to be cared for constantly for a few days and ended up back home with my husband.
He says he no longer believes I cheated on him since I've sworn innocence on my dad's  last dying breath....and everything is fine now?!?! It is like the last several months have not happened as far as he's concerned.  He thinks he is fine, but is seeing a therapist (I am, too--although separately for now), but it seems up to me to forgive, forget, and to trust that we can go back to the happy marriage that I thought we had until spring ended.  I can't talk to him about it at all, and I promise not to bore you anymore with my saga.  Hopefully, I can get the desire to blog and craft back and continue gaining friends, ideas, and insight from you lovely folks out there.  Wish me luck

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Channelling Crafting Genious

When I went to a local thrift store the other day I did not expect to channel someone from another blog.  I felt a little guilty because there was a windfall treasury of lovely Christmas items there that my sweet friend, Diane,from Saturday Finds would go crazy for. She would know exactly what to do with all the wonders that I ended up buying myself for my birthday.  The possibilities are endless, but I have to admit that I would have to search Diane's beautiful blog for inspiration before I decide what to do.
Plastic icecubes? that came in a cute wire basket.
A VERY sixties looking candy dish.
If you haven't been over to Diane's blog, you can see her ingenious work with items like this!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bruised, Beaten, Broken, and Bitten

I just returned from a weekend at the beautiful Bear Lake in Utah.  The water was so blue, it was so much cooler there, and the food tasted better than it does in a hot summer kitchen.  I sat on the shore and just let the waves lap feet and legs.  Friends brought their cute dogs who had me play fetch with them until I worried that I would work them to death.
I have to sleep almost sitting up in my old age, and I thought I had a stroke of genius when I decided to sleep with my sleeping bag on a chaise lounge.  Very bad idea!  My body feels like I slept on nothing but metal bars. Night two, I slept on the traditional blow-up mattress and just stuffed a rolled up comforter under my head.  Much better!
Some of the couples who I camped with had small children.  I was playing with a little boy and girl of about age three.  The little girl said I looked delicious and pretended to eat me.  The boy must have thought so, too, because he bit my hand so hard that I screamed.  He just wanted to eat me, also, but didn't realize we were pretending.  It's been a long time since I've been so amused while being in such pain.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Broken Computer Blues

Loose Sparrow Arts n Crafts has been off the beaten blog trail for over a month because of a computer bug, then complete blowout,  for over a month.   I doubt if I've been missed and guess I'll go eat worms.  When I was finally able to log back on to my beloved blog, my background had mysteriously disappeared.  I guess I missed The Cutest Blog on the Block's warnings.  Let me tell you-redesigning my blog was a royal pain in the you know where!  Especially hard was getting my blog header picture and title centered.  After hours of effort I found out by googling "Centering titles in Blogger" all the headings will  automatically align the left in the Blogger program.  I finally experimented (I felt like Edison-countless failures before the light went on) and discovered that if the title pic measured 100pixels length and 965 pixels width, the picture would fit.  It  looks distorted through: the 100 pound bathing beauties look like they have taken the winter off and gained about 50 pounds, but the gals are still cute and more relevant to how "real women" look (or at least to how I look and I 'm somewhat relevant, I think).  For the time I'm happy with the new set-up, but would have liked better to keep the old.  Maybe I will keep working on it after I catch up with nearly 3 pages of junk email that I also missed.  Excuse please the irrelevant post picture, but all my Corel saved photos, art, etc., flew off to lost computer program heaven.  Enjoy instead a photo of a little angel baby who I have the pleasure of foster grandmothering.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Reversible Fiesta Fun

Fun, reversible  FIESTA banner with 5 penants.  The faux "papel picado" or little blue, red, orange, and yellow banners on the larger fiesta banner, as well as the meshy backing on banner one are made out of mesh placemats (2 for a dollar at Dollar Tree).  The skulls are from a kid's camp craft set of skulls and crossbones(I cut off the bones).  The colorful sugar skull is a common decoration in Mexico, and a  more edgy than maracas and sombreros.  The word "fiesta" is from the same Dollar Tree napkins I used to make my Modpodged patio decorations in a past post.  Brrrrrrryahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!  Ahem....that was my Mexican happy yell.  Now, let's fiesta....(that's  par-tay in Spanish)!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Glue Gun Attacks Rampant

Ok, nobody said I was smart.  Oh, yeah, there was that one Phi Beta Kappa award that the university gave me, but I'm not talking about "book smart" here.  I dropped a glob of hot glue on my lap and without thinking (again?)and I grabbed the glue from said delicate spot with my thumb and forefinger.  The glue obviously burned my fingers, so I pulled the glue off taking ALL of the skin off of my forefinger of my left hand.   I'm not exaggerating.  Nothing was left but a large red hole! I don't think I will ever have a fingerprint there again.  Later, a quarter-sized blister formed on my thumb.  Both burns hurt like h-e-double toothpicks! 
Everybody makes mistakes, I know, but this was the SECOND time I've done this!  This is my new pledge, and if you use hot glue, I need you to repeat after me.

  • I solemnly swear to never forget that hot glue guns and the glue they spew are lethal.

  • I will not grab a hgg by the nozzle or at any time let a part of my body touch hot glue for a full minute after it has been spewn (is that a word?).

  • I will wear protective gear when I use a hgg. (Iron underwear and welding gloves?...or more realistically, garden gloves and only work on top of a table or lap desk)

  • I will immediately soak my burn under cool water if I am so stupid as to do this again. (That's what the internet said to do.  I had to soak for 2 hours, and it was still burning by the time I let my husband bandage me up).
Please, fellow crafters, be on the lookout for hhgs.  These vicious offenders think nothing of assaulting careless, stupid, and/or unprotected crafters.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Journals: Just add text!

I am back to blogging after a week of trying to recover from shots in my spine that are supposed to help.  That seems to be the key-- "supposed to".  They sometimes take a little while to kick in, so we will see if going through the torture they call modern medicine was worth it.  In the meantime, I have been working on my latest obsession: art journals.  I posted about doing one for a little boy not too long ago, and now I have been doing them for adults too. 

Whatever theme strikes one's fancy, I can do.  I love to find old books and cut out their illustrations, copies of pictures, or photos and add a place for heartfelt thoughts and other ephemera.  The above is a combination of a wedding magazine and a book about Native Americans.  Lately, I've been feeling a bit like her, and have been carrying about my best tomahawk.  Mr. Loosesparrow ought to keep out of my way!
Books about the artist, Mucha, are fun to work with because he does so much for the female form. Note that he can make even a poochie tummy look sexy!  I bought some natural fiber wallpaper to use as the background, along with some plastic-backed burlap to use as contrast.
I couldn't leave out doing one in honor of my heroine, Frida Kahlo.  She makes me want to let my eyebrows and Italian mustache go wild.  You know, in real life, her face wasn't quite so hairy.  I think she had a lot of issues about her looks and about being crippled. She was probably making fun of herself before anyone else could do it!
You will find my journals on my Etsy site as I pump them out.  I have a charm school book from the fifties that I plan to cut up next.  Heaven knows it's useless in this day and age.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Rest in Pieces

(Outside the Frostop)
My poor husband had had it at work (and at home) and decided we should take a long weekend road trip.  We once passed through a town named Ashton in Idaho and had stayed in a cute cabin and so we decided to head that way.  The town on first glimpse looks a little boring, but had hidden treasures. One was the Frostop Drive In that was really the most adorable and delicious diner.
We followed the river road there and saw tons of beautiful wildlife: bald eagles, bluebirds, yellow and orange tanager birds, deer, etc.  It was so lovely, we went two days in a row.  The third day we went into Montana to search for antique stores (great ones in Driggs) and to Virginia City.  What a great old West ghost town turned into a boutique and museum heaven!  In the window of one museum were the items found behind an old wall.  Note the mouse mummy!
We ate at a yummy cafe/antique store where the owner told us about the local hauntings.  She said a lady with "the vision" from NY told her that the strange sound of a bell that they were always hearing was from the ghost of a little girl who rides her little bicycle back and forth inside of her store.  GULP!  Above the town are two Boot Hill Cemetaries.  The first one contains the bodies of 5 outlaws road agents who were hung inside one of the buildings inside the city.  I found miniature cemetary off to the side reserved for mouse outlaw  rodent agents!  Someone shares my cracked sense of humor.

We had a great time, my husband is no longer knocking the hats off passerbys (read Moby Dick for reference) and I would highly recommend traveling into Idaho and Montana for a great time!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke

Ok, so I'm hopping off my education soapbox and getting back to crafts.  I was shopping in Walmart when I came across these great novelty shaped Coke bottles in honor of American Idol.
Fun, huh?  My crative wheels started turning.  Christmas decorations?  Vases?  Storage?  How about patio table decorations?  Yep!
Materials Needed:
Plastic Coke bottle or other container of your choice
Mod Podge
Colorful Napkins
Varnish (I used Minwax Waterbased Polycrylic)
Uncooked rice, sand, pebbles to weigh down plastic container

I found these fun, colorful napkins at Dollar Tree and cut them into strips.

Cover the bottle with Mod Podge, and also the strips of napkin as they are applied. I applied the word "Fiesta" on both sides of the container.

After the Mod Podge dries, apply the polycrylic.
Fill with something to weigh down the container, tie pretty ribbon or twine, etc, around the neck and enjoy!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ready, Aim, Text!

Here's another couple of comments on education.  I accompanied my adopted daughter to high school today because I was very concerned about some of her behaviors.  Maybe every parent should do this, because even though I taught junior high last year, I have lost touch with what's happening in elementary and high school, and I was very surprised at the changes. Mind you, this is the second to last week of school, so I realize student behavior relaxes even though most teachers try to run business as usual.  One of the problems I noticed was that so many students came into class with the Ipod earphones in their ears.  They probably think the teachers don't notice because they are so small and the wires can run down the insides of their shirts.  There is still debate as to whether students can really concentrate well doing homework while listening to music or watching tv, or both, let alone concentrating on what they are supposed to be listening to and learning in the classroom while Lil' Wayne is blaring in their ears.
Also, many of the students had cellphones and Blackberries that they kept right on their desks--in plain sight! A girl sitting next to me was either texting, e-mailing, or surfing the web through an entire class.  Another one of the teacher's informed her class that all cell phones needed to be turned off during a computer-based test they were taking.
Furthermore, my daughter wanted to show up to school almost an hour early because she wanted to go to the computer lab.  Although the posted rules state that there is to be no downloading, e-mailing, chatting, gaming, or running off copies, the students were doing it. 
Maybe these new methods of communication are so widespread, with both students and parents that don't see anything wrong with them, that teachers have given up (or have had to give up) enforcing the rules against these technologies within the classroom.
In the junior high I worked at last year, cell phones, Ipods, Blackberries, etc, were not to be visible, and if teachers saw them, we were to confiscate them, so students didn't blatently use them,   Even so, I still had students who stayed sleepy all day because, as they bragged, they had been up all night texting, gaming, or surfing the web.  I think most students think teachers are really dry and boring in comparison with all these new inventions.  If anything kills education, it will probably be a combination of texting, Ipods, and fingertip access to the web.  Who knows what they will invent next--but I'm sure it won't have educational value.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Take out your binkie and read!

I went to a wonderful Saturday market whose review you can link up to at  There were some great bargains and ideas there and among other things I found a sweet vintage children's book called My Picture Book of Songs by Dalton, Ashton, and Young. And, yes, I committed the sacrilege of cutting the book up to make a journal.  I found an awesome 30 page blank journal at my local Big Lots for $2.00, and reinforced the binding with waxed linen thread.  Then, I chose a book of craft papers that I felt went along with the books colors and childhood themes, some lettering ephemera, glue and scissors and took it all outside and put together what I call a "conversation book" for a little boy.  Each page has a picture, a scrap of music, and a bit of lined paper on which the parent and child can add text, little photos, or clip art.  My hope is that the book would become a favorite because it can be personalized, and there are many subjects within to talk about. I'm going to give it away at a shower for a baby boy.  I hope he and his parents get many hours of pleasure from it, and that his comments written in it will make for good memories.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Teachers are angels, too

As a teacher, I have been very interested in the case of Tonya Craft who was accused of molesting some of her female kindergarten students.  In the two years since the police became involved, she has lost her house, her career, and worst of all, her son and her daughter.  Tonya was finally found innocent on all 22 charges against her.  She will need to win her children back from state custody, though.  This case is very frightening.  Mrs. Craft reminds us that the control of our lives is not always in our own hands.  At any time, someone, anyone, can say that you have done something illegal.  As I have found out in working with the state in the case of our adopted daughter who is in therapeutic foster care outside of our home, and as in the Craft case, child abuse and molestation cases are acted upon first, then investigated, not investigated and then acted upon.
Although I can clearly see the reason for swift action in protecting children, you wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of a false report.  Over my many years as a teacher, there have been a few children who have gotten angry at me and have gone home and told their parents that I have said this or that or did this or that
when in reality I had not.  A  boy handed me a note from his mother once that stated in no uncertain terms that "I was never to touch her boys head again or action against me would be taken."  I had no idea as to what instance the note was referring.  "When did I touch your head?" I asked the boy.  "Oh, you didn't," he said. "Another teacher called me a good boy and messed up my hair with her hands."  All I could do was shake my head and walk away.  The note had really scared me, and it wasn't even for me, and the age-old habit of the elderly to mess up your hair while giving a compliment was now the act of a villain!
 I have a secondary education degree, but way before I got that I worked in a fabulous high school.  During college, I worked in an elementary school.  Both had their share of problems, but my experiences there were great overall.  For the five years I have had my degree, I worked in junior high.  And as you may have already read in my profile, I am taking "a rest."  Just a few years after spending so much on a degree, I already have a tic, or two, or three.  It is as though I have emerged  from the trenches of a war in which I daily dodged drastic dangers (see, I'm an amusing teacher who even knows how to use alliteration!).  These dangers involved kids who made hit lists and brought knives and guns to school, but worst of all, would not hesitate to accuse a teacher of saying or doing the wrong thing to stay out of trouble or to get revenge. 
I hope Mrs. Craft is able to restore the mess that has been made of her life.   Teachers that have done evil against children need to be prosecuted, but angels who love children enough to work as teachers for less than my daughter makes from her monthly restaurant tips are needed in our schools without the constant fear that at any moment their world could come crashing around their ears.  If you have any doubts as to how difficult it is to teach, I challenge you to substitute a day or two at your local junior high.  Don't call me from jail, please.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to me...I mean us!

  As I told you in my past post, The Lovely Bones, Another Side of Jo, I had a pretty rocky childhood.  My birth mother left my father, sister, brother, and I when I was six. We won't even go into the bad parenting and other events that led up to her abondonment!  I didn't get to know her again until the birth of my second child, when I was twenty-four.  I always worried about how I was going to know how to be a mother when I didn't have that early example.  Let me tell you, it wasn't easy!!!
    Some of the hints and tips I learned along the way from advice, suggesstions, and the very cruel school of hard knocks were these:
*Unconditional love: I never felt it from a mom, and, therefore, wanted it desperately.  It only figured that this was something I should make sure I gave my children.  I love them NO MATTER WHAT.  Yes, Antonio, I still love you although "I can never keep nice things in this house!"
*Security: I probably overdid this for them as we never moved from the house they were born in until my son was able to buy it for himself and his cute little wife.  I worked at the same place throughout their childhood--a church school at which I was a teacher and they were my students (they weren't going to get away from me that easily!!!)  They knew that there was going to be food on the table daily, fresh, clean towels in the linen closet, and a place to lay their heads at night.  It is hard enough worrying about all that as an adult, so children should not have that day-to day worry.
*Consistency:  The Simpson's were off-limits from the time they were small until they were old enough to understand the satire and actually use vulgarities on their own without the threat of pepper on their tongue from me.  That is just an example to say that I set the rules of my house because I was the boss, and my children were not the boss O' me. I think despite their screams of  "Everybody gets to do it," they appreciated the limits and boundaries that were set and this added to their feelings of security and unconditional love, also.
*  Letting them go at the apporpriate time:  This was a toughie, especially because at least two of them lingered at home for awhile.  I was a strict mom.  I took them to church, taught them right from wrong; gauged carefully what they would and would not be exposed to or allowed to do under my roof, etc. 
BUT, when the time came, I had to see if I trusted that I had done all I could and now they have to do it on their own.  Guess what?  They are all successful, good citizens of the United States, and most of all, they give me that unconditional love that I so hungered for throughout my life

Saturday, May 1, 2010

We're all mad here!

The French Cupboard's Simply Mad about Alice's blog party was held at .
I am planning an "unbirthday" for all my whacky friends and here are a few of the party items that I hope they will enjoy.  You can purchase these items at  If  you don't find what you want, convo me for amounts, colors, themes, etc.
The various queens at my party can choose a pointy princess hat (they are "hennins", but who really calls them anything but "pointy princess hats?) or a sparkly crown proclaiming that she is the biggest pain of all.

Each guest will be given a wand in order to make each impossibility in their lives a possibility.

I will be wearing a mask and offering everyone else one, too.  Why?  Because we're all mad here!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pendant Giveaway for New Friends-Closed

My old neighborhood in Kearns had a shortage of little kids.  When my oldest daughter was about three she used to go to the fence and call out, "Friends! Friends!"  I feel kind of like that.  I offered 5 pendants recently to the next five people to follow my blog.  I have had three lovely takers, but still have two pendants left.
Friends, friends, all you have to do is sign in to follow my blog and then email me so that I can get your address!  These are the choices that remain. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Paper Flower Wreath

On the blog , there is a tutorial on how to make a wonderful painted paper towel wreath.  I can't believe how many comments this gal has gotten over how fabulous her creation is!  I had to try it, too, but gave it my own twist.  I used white v-shaped coffee filters and melted various crayon colors on them and then sprinkled part with crystalline glitter.  The rest I painted with pink and red water colors.  After drying, I cut the paper into six-petaled flowers of various sizes.  I also through in some burlap flowers like Nicole.  I glued the paper flowers together using hot glue and adhered a large adhesive gem in the centers.  I covered the dollar store wreath with burlap and then glued the flowers on the burlap.
I put the wreath around a ceramic vase I have that used to have a wreath of autumn colors around it.  The change is refreshing! I still want to try to use paper towels like Nicole did, but melting the crayons is always fun, too.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Shabby Rose Pendants

After creating several of the shabby roses that you can see in a former tutorial post, I had the idea of making these into necklaces and earrings.  They turned out pretty cute if I do say so myself!  A local craftstore was closing, to my chagrin, so I bought a lot of my materials on closeout.  The bases are made of flat wooden disks.  I got a rather large bag with three different sizes, and each works well as a base.  First, I glued some tulle scraps and some cute leaves in strategic positions, then the tulle spirals.  On the back of the wooden disk, I glued a flat gold charm through which to loop your chain. 
You can find these on Etsy. 
Oh, and I still have glass pendants to send to the next two people who sign up as a follower!  I am so excited that one I have given away went to a lady in Slovakia. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I won the job lotto

I was just reading a sister-blogger's post (Almost Josephina) about veering off our planned life path.  I can relate.  I waited to go back to college until my kids were pretty much grown up. I enjoyed the experience and graduated with honors in 2004 at the ripe old age of , ahem, "my mid-forties."  Then, I had a stroke.  I continued to work for three years after the event, but jr. high kids are a bit much for someone with a few physical hurdles to deal with.  I now have a tic I can't get rid of. 
I had felt bad about "wasting my education," but have stumbled upon my calling, I think.  I have begun to teach occassional English classes to Spanish speaking adults.  The hours and pay are great, and my students no longer hate me.  People from Latin America think teachers are the bomb, and I get treated like a princess.  When they arrive at my class they smile and say hello, then actually take notes, ask questions, laugh at my jokes, and even sometimes ask for homework and tests.  Before they leave they erase my board and put it away, sometimes they even kiss me and leave scarlet lipstick all over my cheeks.  In other words, veering off my life's planned path hasn't turned out so badly.  God promises that the steps of a righteous person are ordered by no one other than Himself, so every now and then it doesn't hurt to go with the flow instead of fighting it.  We never know what new adventure or learning experience is around the bend.

Friday, April 16, 2010

PDCC Black, White, Orange

A crown fit for a princess for the Play Date Cafe's Black, White, and splash of orange challenge.  I made this with a recycled padded plastic placemat, decorative paper, a vintage image, and pretty orange and white and black ribbon.  I am loving making these party hats, wands, crowns, and masks.  The placemats go far and have so many uses.  One of my favorites is as a template.  Easy to store and unbendable!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hi, My Name is Jo and I'm a Hypocrite!

One of my pet peeves is watching someone cook, paint, or demonstrate messy activities on tv in beautiful clothes without wearing an apron.  I think to myself: Katy is going to drag that sleeve right through that turquoise paint!...or....C'mon, Lidia, you don't want olive oil spots on that silk blouse!.... Oh, no! Martha is going to get her chain caught in that embossing machine and choke herself!  But, it NEVER happens.  They end the show as pristine looking as they started.  Even their hands are clean. 
Not me.  As I've written before, I live in a land of gitter...and now, of stains.  I've ruined my final good pair of jeans!  Can we say (or spell) HYPOCRITE?  I wasn't wearing an apron. The minute I caught my hot glue gun in midair and gave myself a nasty burn on my left middle finger, my first thought was to my jeans.  I saw the glitter glue arc in front of me and land in my lap.  Didn't burn me there, thank God, but I knew that was going to leave a mark.  Then, my finger began to hurt.  I haven't been able to use my hand for two days.  I have never had such a deep blister that hurt so bad!  But, my jeans!  My beautiful jeans are ruined!
Why wasn't I wearing an apron?  Well, I craft off and on all day.  If I want to be protected I'd have to wear the ugly thing all day.  I got it at The DownEast Outfitters in West Valley.  It is a horrific yellow and it has the name Rosalinda embroidered on it.   That's why I bought it.  It's ok to stain the thing.  If it was pretty I would like it better but wouldn't wear it because I would ruin it.  There is just no winning...unless you are the proud mother of the above baby who is wearing a wig to protect his wee head.  Isn't he?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Giveaway Contest: Win!

I have  posted 50 times!  In celebration, the next five people who sign up as followers, then email me at can choose one of the following pendants made with with large glass garden stones, a modpodged pic with gold paint on the back, and various findings firmly adhered with Goop Glue:
(Little Girl)
(Sitting profile)
(Greek profile)
(Pearled Spoon handle pendant)
(Simple profile)