My Green Velvet Life

Where everything sticks.



Quiet Ladies Get Their Way & Look Good Doing It

Every weed is but an unloved flower. — Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850–1919), American writer

For many years I tried really hard to kill these beautiful lady bells. I didn’t know what they were and naively treated them as a troublesome weed. Every year they would just come back. Eventually I gave up and discovered their gorgeous purple bells. But, next problem, they grow quietly and stubbornly in places I do not choose. I have no say in the matter.

Now that I am softer and older, I just smile at them when I walk by. They know they are messing with my patience, just like each of my daughters did at around age 13. And, like my daughters, they know I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Any weeds sassing at you lately? Or are you too busy looking for love in all the wrong places to notice?

Happy Birthday Freedom!

Have a safe and beautiful holiday in the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Heaven Can Wait . . .

Stretching his hand out to catch the stars, he forgets the flowers at his feet.  — Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), English jurist, philosopher & legal reformer

The Memory of Dandelions
If tomorrow we lost
little suns at our feet.
Yellow till
white fairies danced.
White till
they quietly flew
skipping away
on the dew.
There’d be today
I’d wish you knew.

I have a big life. I need a big purse. –poetgranny

I love a good purse.  Over the years, I’ve learned that shopping for a purse is really not as stressful as we sometimes make it.  The trick is knowing the features you absolutely insist upon.  My list:

  • Big & roomy.
  • Sturdy–no floppy walls!
  • Classy.
  • Strong straps-not too long or short.  Even better if adjustable.
  • Good sturdy lining in a dark color.
  • No cutsie features that add weight and/or take up valuable real estate(although the cute doll does come in handy for blog pics).
  • A top zipper to keep everything completely secure.
  • Of course, these demands can go out the window for a special ccasion.

I don’t have the time or patience to change my purse often so my strategy has always been to buy one good purse–not really pricey but reasonable quality.  I use it faithfully for a few months, sometimes for only weeks if the quality ends up being a disappointment, but always without emotional attachment.  This is a helpful attitude when it promptly goes bye-bye to Goodwill while I go shop for another one.

That said . . . big red purse, I love you!

I’m sure you have your own list.  Go forth and find your purse!  You might just find it at Artsy-Crafty Babe.  She makes beautiful purses, often using vintage fabrics.  Very chic and reasonably priced too.   I do get a bit envious every time she scores yet another stack of vintage sheets . . .  You’ll enjoy visiting with her even if you’re not after a purse at the moment.

Oh, did you like my big purse quote?  It’s my piggyback quote from Aretha Franklin: “I am a big woman.  I need big hair.”  (I can relate Aretha!  Although I’m a total loser at the big hair thing.  My hair just does what it wants.)  Do you have any piggyback quotes you’d like to share?  No?  I bet you could make one up.  Would love to hear from you!

The Stuff of Life is Glitter

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.  —Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931), Lebanese American artist, poet & writer

Happy Birthday to My First Lady
She is the little girl who dreamed
she would grow into life–
The comforting, beautiful shell of life.
But she grew so fast and so big
she shattered the fragile glass.
She could glimpse horizons
beyond today.  But not today.
Today she’s too busy catching
the lovely, falling glitter.
 — ©2010 poetgranny

Happy New Year!

This is the time of year for pondering the purpose in our lives and the stuff cluttering our lives.  Yay!  Do I sound too perky?  Yes?  Probably because I love to organize.  It’s therapy for me all year long.  I actually feel a bit haughty, like the lady who shows up at church every single week and then has to put up with the clumsy holiday-goers a couple times a year.  Yeah. I’m so ahead of you clueless-plastic-bin-shoppers-at-Target!  Surely heaven has reserved special-plastic-bin-angel-wings just for me the faithful!

Seriously, this time of year I’m on to more serious stuff, like fine-tuning my picture organizing.  I’ve also been thinking a lot about pictures and life lately:

  • The big picture of my life.  I turned 50 today.
  • Playing with pictures, aka altered art.  I’m learning Photoshop Elements, which is the non-pro version of Photoshop.
  • How a seemingly meaningless object in a picture can wrench a heart with its story.  I posted what I thought was just a baby picture of my niece K. on Facebook.  Well it was so much more to her.  To her it told the special story of her Lamby, a favorite toy given to her by her Granny.

Yet even the most beautifully organized and displayed pictures cannot begin to tell the messy stories of life.  If our days and minutes were indeed as neat as our photos we’d all be, well, just flat.  And boring.

So I am paying homage to my 50 Years on Earth with my Very First Lady.  My very first digitally-altered (Photoshop’d), vintage photo lady, that is.  If you are not familiar with altered art check it out!  Think doodling, glittering and tattering old pictures and text (“real” or digital).  I have several links on my list, including and

I’d like to thank Jane at for her inspiring artwork.  I happened upon her blog a few nights ago and haven’t been the same since!  She’s now on my list too so visit her any time.

May Your Shells Be Broken and Your New Year Blessed with Glittering Goodness!

The School of Life: You’ll need glue.

Of this our true individual life, our present life is a glimpse, a fragment, a hint, and in its best moments a visible beginning.  — Josiah Royce (1855-1916), American philosopher

We visited a friend the other day.  She has Alzheimer’s.  I am ashamed that it took me many months to gather the courage to go.  Very lame.  But I finally went.  It certainly helped to go with other family members.  Now I know that it doesn’t matter how scared I am.  It just matters that she feels loved and cared for.

On our way home, we all wondered, does someone with Alzheimer’s really not recognize people?  Do they really not know what they want to say?  Or do they know, deep inside, who you are and what they want to say, but simply cannot express themselves outwardly?  At first, everything she said seemed bizarre.  She stared away and showed no emotion.  But as we sat and listened for a while, some of her still very fragmented statements started sounding familiar.  It seemed like she was trying to tell us certain things but could not organize the words.  It was if she were trapped in her own body, desperately trying to catch and toss to us the pieces flying about inside her heart and mind.  A terrifying thought.  It would be much easier to believe that she’s simply living in a happy fantasy land.

It seems like we are all slightly trapped at times.  We have the input spinning around with our thoughts and emotions but sometimes find it difficult to express ourselves effectively. Or perhaps worse, we believe we are communicating clearly but those around us are wondering . . . Each of us is limited by our language, opinions, emotions and our bodies.  Even with Google, how could any one of us understand everything?  How amazing that we very often actually manage to say or do exactly as we intend.  And when our words fumble or hurt, well, that’s when real friends love us anyway.

After visiting my friend I knew the perfect art project for this post.  I save foil candy wrappers.  Holidays are the best time to get different colors–I keep a special “wrapper basket” next to my candy dish.  These tiny bits of color flying around (at my house they literally fly around), so often discarded, can be made into shiny paper mosaics.  You can make paper ornaments, greeting cards, banners, fridge magnets, etc.

I made a couple of greeting cards.  Please keep in mind I’m not nearly as talented as most kids!

Coat your paper with glue and quickly press torn bits of wrappers onto the paper to make your picture.  Then, if desired–while the glue is still sticky–sprinkle with glitter or sand.  You could also do on cardboard, wood or whatever.
If you’d prefer to go a little slower, you could glue your wrappers on the paper, then coat the glue around the wrappers for the glitter.  I’m lazy so I do it the faster way.
For greeting cards, try using sandwich-size zipper plastic bags for your envelopes.  It’s a little kooky and will be much easier for the receiver to open the card without tearing the paper or causing too much glitter to fall off.
I added stickers, and on the first card below I added a little bit of leftover Christmas garland.


Thank you friend for a perfect lesson in listening, patience and friendship.  I will visit you again soon.

I’ll catch your fragments.
I will paste them into my
own fine mosaic.

         — poetgranny

Painful, sweet life.

Every heart has its secret sorrows which the world knows not, and often times we call a person cold when he is only sad.  — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), American poet & educator

There is so much sadness in the world.  Let’s all be gentle with each other.  Let’s not assume others are inconsiderate or selfish or lazy.  Assume they need a little TLC.  I’ve never met anyone at the grocery store with a sign that says I lost my baby son today.  One single act of  kindness could save somebody from going over the edge.

Don’t let people fall within your reach.  Maybe in your patient smile they’ll find a place to grab onto life again.  How many falling stars did you catch today?

What’s in Your Art Gallery?

There is no abstract art.  You must always start with something.  Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.  — Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Spanish artist

All of us have an artist wondering around in our souls.  So many of us just don’t pay attention, whether we’re busy, tired or simply unsure of ourselves.  And so we think we’re not artistic.  I said exactly that about myself a few posts ago.  Hmmm . . . did you notice my first sentence?  Did I really mean wondering not wandering?  Like there’s a little guy hanging out in there, finger painting on your rib cage, wondering why in the heck you don’t let him out to play once in a while?

I like Picasso’s quote because it reminds me that we don’t have to conjure up anything out of thin air to be artistic.  We just need to relax and notice.  Notice the used coffee filter, the dog’s hair flying across the room, the quick kisses before seeing the kids off to school.  It’s all beautiful material meant just for you (just what you’re thinking when you are vacuuming!).  You certainly don’t need to make one single piece of art out of any of it.  Just living is the best art of all.  And thanks to our amazing gift of memory, we each have our very own art gallery full of everything we love.  Does your art gallery have any finger paintings?

If you look closely at my flower fridge magnets, you’ll see some familiar things: orange juice lids, shiny coffee can liners and bits of yarn.  Here are instructions, along with pictures of one I made tonight (the others I made last Christmas).

If you’re not familiar with some of the items you can get them in any craft or scrapbooking store.  You can make as fancy or glittery as you like.  It’s your garden!

You will need:
metal orange juice lids
foil coffee can liners
paper (anything you like–I used an old greeting card for these instructions
glitter (optional)–if using glitter you’ll also need regular white school glue to coat your flower
very large glue dots (much easier and safer than a glue gun)
bits of fuzzy yarn
paper brads (fasteners)
large round and flower paper punches (optional)  You can also simply cut with scissors.  Most craft stores put their punches on sale every so often.  They make great gifts for anyone who likes to be creative with paper, etc.  Warning: They are very dangerous for children and should never be used without adult help.
Punch or cut a circle out of the coffee can liner.  If punching, you’ll notice it is a little tricky getting the liner into position because it is thick and stiff and wrinkly.  I have pretty good luck if I first press out the liner with something heavy.
Using a glue dot, attach the punched circle to OJ lid.
Punch or cut a flower out the paper.
Push a brad through the center of the flower and then push open the tips of the brad so it is fastened.
Attach paper flower and yarn to coffee liner/OJ lid:  Put one large glue dot in middle of liner and take another glue dot and pull apart to make  a few small ones–put them around the circle, then twirl your yarn around and press into glue dots.  Press the paper flower with brad into the large glue dot in the center.
Press a large glue dot onto magnet, then press onto back of lid.
Take a picture of your work!  It will serve as a good reminder for days when you’re not feeling very talented.

Last Christmas, I found an aluminum pan to use for my little photo session.  This would make a very fun arrangement for give-aways at showers, birthday parties, Mother’s Day brunches, visits to elderly care homes, etc.   The little round aluminum pans would be an adorable way to show off individual magnets for a teacher or co-worker gift.  

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