I am glad you chose to visit! My blog is a compilation of the many hats I find myself wearing. On any given day I may be an encourager, an instructor, or just a lady who is venting. You, dear reader, will probably identify with my triumphs and my tribulations! These snapshots fit into my Life Scrapbook I have named A. McInnis Artworks. I hope you will find something worth your while.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"The Unknown Quantity"

Henry Van Dyke was quite the interesting person...

Presbyterian minister and a poet with a love for life.

One of his quotes (that I love) is the following:

"Use what talents you possess.

The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best."

In life, we often shy away from doing something that we very much want to do because
of our fear of possible failure.

What if everyone who has done something really worthwhile had not acted but instead feared? What if one rejection or maybe a dozen rejections or even failures had scared away

the likes of Einstein, Bell or Salk?

So what if you aren't the best...artist, singer, musician, teacher?

How will you ever know what you could have been without trying and actually putting the talent you were given to some worthy purpose or use?

Don't be the bird that is afraid to sing because you aren't the best...

what a silent sad world that would be.

Dwell in possibility,

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Magazine Page Crafts

Isn't this the cutest candleholder ever? I've gone "whacko" over items made from magazine pages and old books...If you are a crafter, then you know the drill. Something keeps catching your eye and it won't go away. Your brain spins with ideas of how to use the "whatever" and everywhere you look, you see something you could translate that specific craft to.

These circles of flattened magazine pages are rolled and stitched together.

They encircle a clear glass cylinder.

As soon as I got home, I dropped a candle in and fired her up!

So pretty on the coffeetable.

While we are here, this is a closeup of my prized (and only) piece of Buck Run pottery.

This couple does beautiful detail. Notice the handmade acorns...no molds used here!

Back to magazine art!

While shopping at The Outlet at Country Originals in Jackson, MS, I also found these Christmas ornaments. "Now, this is something I could do!" I thought.

Here we go.

The wheels are turning! Look at the detail and time spent on these things!

I Googled magazine crafts and up popped...garbage cans, boxes, trays, vases, on and on!

What an imagination some people possess.

Should I even tell you what I paid for them?

Yes!! $4 each...that's almost a crime.

How creative and how cute!! These would make great little gifts or remembrances...hmmm...now let me go look through some magazines I need to get "rid" of...

PS...wait until you see my old book creations for Christmas!! Coming soon to this blog!!

PSS...my thoughts and prayers are with those in the path of Hurricane Irene.

Mississippians know what it's like and we don't take hurricanes lightly.

Be safe,

Join me at

Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday and Inspiration Friday at The Picket Fence

and Wednesday's Bunny Hop Party at Bunny Jean's Decor and More

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Sky Is NOT Falling, Henny Penny!

Tonight as I was washing a few dishes, I happened to glance upward while standing at the sink and my Fenton Hen (that the Hubster gave me for our 23rd anniversary ten years ago) caught my eye. It's time for Pink Saturday and I have the hardest time coming up with pink items to contribute to Beverly's wonderful link party.

So I decided that the rosy comb of Henny Penny would do the trick!

She sits on a small wall pedestal between two of my four "over the sink" windows and two brown transferware plates guard her top and bottom!

This piece is from the 2001 Folk Art Collection. Fenton, for those interested, was founded by Frank and John Fenton in 1906. Since that time thousands of beautiful Fenton pieces have been bought and loved by collectors from all over the world.

My grandmother had a glorious collection of cranberry Fenton...she especially loved cranberry coin dot. There are few "glasses" that can match Fenton for clarity and beauty.

Henny was designed by Robin Spindler and is different from their other animal figurines, which are usually transparent with added painted details. Henny's black glass is overpainted with feathers and details in my favorite color combination...cream, black and caramel...her comb is a rusty rose.

Most Fenton glass is stamped today, but this piece bears the paper label that was so popular from the 1920's until the 1970's.

My son has also given me several pieces of Fenton through the years, and each piece I have is a cherished reminder of him.
I say, if you have to wash dishes, you should have the best of scenery to look at while you do it...my yard and Henny Penny... can't get any better than that!

Have a great weekend,


Thursday, August 25, 2011

May I Speak Frankly?

Ooops! I almost fell. I'm climbing up on my soapbox!

Now, here I am ... right on the top. Let me relay to you what caused this ascent.

Picture it...me, in Hobby Lobby (can you imagine?) I am walking around and I see a man and his wife getting a buggy. She is talking VERY loudly... she says, "Oh, this is just ridiculous!! I am so sick of these businesses getting out their Christmas stock while it's still summer! Look, LOOK! It's everywhere. This just makes me furious!!"

The husband sheepishly grins and sort of ducks his head. Somehow I think he's been down this path a number of times before...big, loud wife making a spectacle of herself. I wanted to tell him, to get his big boy drawers on and tell the loud speaker to pipe down, but he looked so pitiful I refrained. It sort of reminded me of the Olsen couple on Little House on the Prarie who owned the general store...you know, the one with the spoiled little girl named Nellie? Mean Mrs. Olsen and meek Mr. Olsen.

Enough about that, but it did bring up something that bothers me about her rant. I hear the same comment all the time. Particularly at school. I start planning the school holiday decorations months in advance. I buy everything on sale and hand make almost everything we use. That doesn't happen overnight...AND GUESS WHAT? THE GOOD FAIRY DOESN'T WAVE HER WAND AND "POOF" IT INTO BEING EITHER!! "What? It's not even December & you are already making decorations!!!" (Sigh...grrrrr).

Let me explain, there are people who either (1.) don't have lots of moola to spend and have to shop sales year round in order to give gifts at Christmas OR (2.) who love to handcraft items for friends and family.

Get the umbrella (as the insurance man says) It's getting ready to rain hard cold facts!

There has to be a place where crafters and artists can buy their supplies. Hobby Lobby fills the bill. As does Dollar Tree, Michaels, and several other stores. If you are making your own gifts you can't wait until December 1st to begin.

These remarks usually come from somebody who has NEVER handmade anything for anyone. Once I labored for weeks on a counted cross stitch piece for my mother. I had it professionally framed and wrapped it like it was for Queen Elizabeth! When she opened it on Christmas morning, she was appropriately pleased.

During the holidays she asked me to teach her how to do counted cross stitch and I did. From the moment she learned to cross all her X's the same way, she was never the same. She cross stitched every spare minute of every day. She made a new ornament for everybody in our family every year. Baby gifts, wedding gifts, church welcome gifts, you name, she stitched it.

One day, I stopped by and as we were talking she looked at me and said, "I never realized how much time and effort went into those things you cross stitched for me. I'm sorry."

I said, "Mother, most people don't have any idea how much love & time goes into something made by hand. Thank you for realizing it."

Every year when I pull out those stitched ornaments from her, my heart fills with thankfulness, that she loved me enough to make something for me with her own hands. And guess what??? I'm glad Hobby Lobby had all those Christmas Cross Stitch books displayed in summer so she could get a head start on her gifts.

Now, start knitting those socks,

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bring On Autumn!!

Have I fallen off the other side of the earth?! NO!! I had to take a little break and get the first two weeks of school "under my belt" and now I am "rarin' to go"!
Health report: knee issues are much better. Blood pressure sky high. On an anti-inflammatory diet and using Visalus as a protein booster. (I have lost 5 big ones!)
To more important things:
I made a bet with my Facebook friends that I could push Autumn a little closer if I bit the bullet and began my decorating a little early. I usually decorate for fall in stages...September: leaves...October: add pumpkins to the mix...November: turkeys strut all over the house in the midst of leaves and pumpkins!
It was so darn hot Saturday that I had to put the decorating off until today.

I added colored leaves to my usual centerpiece. I had bought the pumpkin scented candles last year when Bath and Body works had them on sale. They smell so "fallish".

The bittersweet vine doesn't show up in the above picture very well, but it's woven around the light fixture.

I love Bittersweet...I wish we had it in abundance in the South...

but alas, I have to be satisfied with the silk kind... :)

Remember my great Pottery Barn find? I walked in the store, just to drool, and this iron and burlap basket was on sale!! I filled it with cloth pumpkins, wheat sheaves, and leaves. I know, I sort of got off the beaten path and threw in the pumpkins too early...couldn't help myself.

I made the pumpkins from an old Vogue pattern years ago. There's a prettier large one under all the others, but it's holding everybody else up.

The cascading acorns are actually bells that go on the back door, but the Hubster doesn't like the jingling noise whenever he opens the door...so I found a more suitable place to hang them.

Iron and glass tray contents are changed frequently...this is a corn husk doll I found at a garage sale years ago. The lady had one for every month!! I bought Misses October and December.

The details on both are beautiful.

My small buffet holds my McCarty squirrel and the berry wreath that will eventually surround my pottery turkey on the dining table in November!

The squirrels at my house have just about gotten the best of me this summer. When we had dogs they didn't so much a shake a bushy tail in my direction. They are so bold now and just make a big mess everywhere! I like the pottery ones though, no mess, no bother!

I usually have this container filled with green Granny Smith's but I couldn't resist exchanging them for the two green ceramic pumpkins I found.

Please, don't tell me I'm rushing it...it has been so very hot, humid and dry in the South this summer. School has been in session for two weeks, football games began last Friday and I AM READY FOR SOME NIP IN THE AIR!! Bring on the Candy Corn Mix!!!!!
I hope tomorrow the temperature drops 40 degrees. If it doesn't, it isn't my fault.

Join me at Table Top Tuesday and Metamorphosis Monday!

I've done my part,

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Woven File Folder Re-Do & Blown Out Knee

Not that anybody wants to hear my troubles...HOWEVER...went back to the knee doctor today...another aspiration and cortisone shot...YIKES! I am determined to walk with a Southern Belle gait once again...limping and worse, walking with a cane, is NOT my style! The cane has a claw foot and looks like something Darth Vader would use. I tried to find a more colorful one, and don't say "Mod Podge" it, I tried. You can't because you can't move the adjustment bar. Drats!

Limped into HobLob for a 15 minute visit..that's all I could stand...but picked up ribbon and paper for my project above. Now this was quite a nice little $3.99 basket from Ross, but somehow it wasn't calling my name.

Found this cute paper and grosgrain ribbon. Perfect! Now, home for a recovery nap and I'll be good as new...well, not exactly, but close enough.

I wove the ribbon through, added a bow and WhaLa! Cutest file in town. I also covered the file folders with the polka dot paper. I know, I know...who cares if you have polka dot files? Ummm, me, that's who.

BTW: Did I tell you that I had to park at the bottom of a mammoth hill at the dr's office today? It was raining...I knew I couldn't traverse the hill in "my condition", so I stood there under my trendy lime green umbrella and waved until the golf cart man, er escort service, came and picked me up.
As we were riding, the rain and wind were hitting me square in the face and I had really sprayed my hair so it wouldn't get all messed up during the knee aspiration...so you know what rain+wind+lots of hair spray equals, don't you? Let me put it like this, a bug hit my hair and fell dead in its tracks. I looked quite lovely when my name was called in front of at least 100 people in the waiting room. I tried to straighten up and not limp, but alas, it was for naught.

May your knees be strong for a very long time,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Case For Sterling

Today many young women are skipping the tradition of choosing sterling silver flatware when they marry.

Their reasoning seems to be (1.)it's expensive and (2.)they think they will never use it.

If you married in the late 70's or 80's you know that Fry Daddys were the big ticket item for all newly weds. Every size, every color, every shape was made and as soon as that package came through the door, you knew exactly what it was.

If you married in the 60's or early 70's, fondue pots were huge. BUT sterling silver still reigned as King of Gifts. When I graduated from high school in the 60's presents flowed from every well wisher in town it seemed. Most girls received lingerie, various things for a dorm room or STERLING SILVER TEASPOONS! One of the most fun days I remember is going to Lickfold's Jewelry Store and picking out my silver pattern when I was a senior.
To this day, I love my Gorham pattern (Buttercup) and wouldn't trade it for anything!

Recently, I began thinking of the silver pieces I had stashed around but wasn't using. You know, they tarnish, they look pretty fancy smancy...but I questioned...What was I waiting for? A visit from Queen Elizabeth? Why not get some of it out and actually enjoy it? So I did.

I arranged some in my media center right along with my birds nests and redware pottery.

Then I added some more...even mixing nut dishes with old football books...I'd say they go together quite well, no pun intended.

Old silver and hand carved crochet hooks felt right at home in a pine needle pitcher.

Silver baby spoons, demitasse spoons and souvenir spoons found a new resting place in my trio of green serving birds.

I thought one of my paper weights would look pretty in this compote. Now, I know what you are thinking....you are saying...but what about the tarnish? Well, slightly tarnished silver is ok. It's actually quite pretty.

Today's metal of choice seems to be pewter and while it's really nice (and I have several pieces) somehow it just doesn't have the elegance that sterling does.

BTW: Sterling is 92/5% Silver and 7.5% other metal..usually copper while Pewter is 92% tin, 6.7% antimony and 1.2% copper.

There is something twinkly and sparkly about silver.

A pair of silver earrings seem to bring out the best in a lady's face, especially the eyes.

There is something refined, dignified and elegant about a silver coffee or tea service. Call it what you will...it might be a thing of the past, but it's quite a lovely thing.

Crystal and silver are the very best of friends.

You could say I'm living in the past. Or you could just admit it...silver makes a beautiful table exquisite.

May all your silver be sterling,