Cobwebs & Magpies

Boy...there are lots of cobwebs around here! Someone hasn't been taking very good care of this place...

This is just a quick note to let you know I am fighting my way back - I have missed all of you and hate how much time has gone by. I'm really trying...and should be back soon. I will have an enormous announcement when I do return.

What's that? Oh, you want a clue to the announcement? I guess that's the least I can do. Here is the only clue I can give right now...

Any ideas?

I miss you guys!!


I'm Sorry - But Thank You

Yes,  I admit it - I'm a terrible hostess. I've not posted anything in way too long, and left all you wonderful people floundering around. Not that you flounder without the presence of the Queen - I'm not that disillusioned. I just mean it's so rude to go visiting someone and have them just disappear. I apologize for my poor manners.

Then again, if I were to always apologize for my poor manners, I doubt I would get anything else done.

I've been battling the back thing...and frankly, am quite sick of it. However, I do have some great news I want to share with you guys...but it will have to wait. This post will be quick, but I wanted to dedicate it to a special friend.

Are you familiar with FishHawk from As The Crackerhead Crumbles? He is a wonderful man, who continues to be my friend even though he certainly must question my sanity. Often. I truly believe you should be appreciative of those who make a difference in your life - and he has. He's been a very good friend and has listened to my whining and complaining.

How many men do you know who will do that?!

He is a true gem - and if you haven't had the pleasure of reading his blogs (the other is The Crackerhead Chronicles - fascinating stuff!), I encourage you to do so. He has a heart of gold and has given me hope. That is a big deal when one is stuck in the mud.

I'm a stick in the mud?

I also wanted to thank everyone who left comments on my last post. I have the sweetest friends and blogging buddies in the universe - and I know it. I was so touched by the kindness of your comments...I actually let the kid live. Ha ha

Thank you for loving me when I'm not real lovable - and for being the best friends in Blogland or anywhere else!



I don't feel good. Hive Girl is making a recovery - although she still has hives. My oldest teenager has worn me out. Last night was the latest round, and because I wouldn't allow him to go outside - at 9 pm, 20* outside - to meet with a kid who just got out of juvie (and is a well known drug user/dealer), he flipped out. He pulled a knife on himself - and every time I would say he could not go meet this nefarious punk, he would cut his wrist.

Before I get a bunch of comments and email about what a horrible parent I am, let me make this quick point: he's been diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar. We've been in therapy since he was 2 1/2 - he's almost 17. He's been hospitalized 7-9 times in the psych ward. I have to call the police on him when he becomes violent. I've been through this with him countless times - and the "cuts" he was making on his wrist were extremely superficial, most not even breaking the skin like a scratch would. As a former paramedic, I know what the laws a current mom, I know what needs. That is not said to be arrogant - this is just so cyclic with him, I know how the ordeal works. I also know what calms the situation down...and what escalates it.

I didn't mean to go off on that lil' tangent...but I really don't want a bunch of comments/emails saying he should be hospitalized, he has issues, etc. I'm already aware of these things - remember, I've done this dance for about 14 years. And I've done it all on my own - not like I had his father or a husband involved, or to lean on.

So...he's worn me out. I'm sure the stress is what's gotten me sick...but I feel something akin to something really rotten. (I'll spare you the mental image I was going to paint - I don't want anyone spitting Corn Flakes or Diet Coke on their screen. Or having nightmares.) I'm going back to bed.

Before I retire to the Royal Rubber Room (aka master bedroom) of Castle Crazy, I wanted to share something I feel is important. Most of my buddies who read my blog, write blogs themselves. While checking out Mama Asid's ENTREPOD blog today, I came across an informative post. "How bout a Lil Bad Behaviour, Honey" should be required reading for anyone running a website - whether you run/own a domain, write a blog on Blogger or Wordpress, or program websites in any form or fashion.

Mama Asid, aka Re, is a wonderful person - with talent coming out of every pore she has. She's a talented BadGals Radio Wonder Woman, podcaster, amazing blogger, wonderful website designer, and just all-around "more smarter than me" - especially in reference to running great websites that are clean, informative, tackle interesting issues, and frequently updated. Basically, she's the Super Woman I aspire to be. I have no idea where she gets all the hours in the day - or how she's learned all this stuff...but she has. Plus, she has a heart of gold...and she shares all this knowledge freely. Awesome!

Read the post I linked to. I'll admit I don't fully understand it - but I'm smart enough to know it's important. I've followed her advice - and in the spirit of wanting to help and protect my blogging buddies, I think it's worth your time and consideration, too.

That ends my Public Service Announcement for the day. Go about your business...I'm going back to bed. I apologize in advance for not sprinkling this post with pictures. You can find a beautiful picture of a flower on Re's post I pointed you to.


Wanna Win a Flip? The Video Boss & Patina Soul

Yeah, so do I. I only wish I had one to give away. Ok, so I really wish I had one of my own to tell you about.

Since I don't have one - or have one to give away - here's the next best thing: I know someone who does. His name is Nate Hines and he runs an interesting blog. All you have to do to enter is click on the picture of the Flip below, and enter. What could be easier??
Win a brand new Flip Ultra HD!
By clicking on one of my links to enter, you're also giving me another chance to win. He's actually giving away two Flips (one to a random winner and one to the person who has the most referral entries)...and I would actually flip to get one. Seriously. You help me to win the second Flip by clicking on my link, and once I receive the Flip, I will post a video of me flipping. Just for your enjoyment. (And enjoyable it will be, since I haven't done a flip in at least 20-25 years!)

Once you've entered, you'll be tempted to stick around Nate's site and check things out. Nate has some great articles on his site - I learned what ThumbVu is. If you're a website owner or blogger, you should be interested in it, too. He also gives you some tips on how to "Promote on Facebook". I like that he does this in video format. 
I've been taking some classes from Andy Jenkins (The Video Boss) about why video gets more viewers, completes more sales, etc. His newest video classes focus on helping you to make your own video - and each session he does is jam-packed with information.
So there ya have it - my two PSAs for the week. You're sure to be the court jester if you don't enter to win Nate's Flip Video. What are you waiting for? Go to Nate's site and enter. Then, when you have a few uninterrupted minutes and want to absorb some fabulous information (in an entertaining way, no less!), head over to Andy's site (The Video Boss) and learn why "Video GETS MORE Money than ANYTHING". I'm usually not into stuff like that at all - but Andy makes some great points and really is entertaining. (Not to mention I think he's kinda hot, too.)

And one more quick note...have you been to Patina Soul? What a blog!! Not only is this blog gorgeous, but there is a massive giveaway going on. You have to act quick, tho - it ends tonight. I'm sorry! I just found out about it like 2 minutes ago - but it's too good not to pass on to you lovelies.

Thank you for all your well wishes about Hive Girl. She has almost morphed back into the Princess. I'm still on pins and needles - but her breathing is under much better control. The hives are obnoxious (she was diagnosed with chronic urticaria) - but not life-threatening. I'll post more about the condition in the future.

I actually have several exciting new things to tell you all about...and I will - very, very soon. Promise.


Is This the Apocalypse?

Photo taken as I wrote this post
Since Friday night:
Benadryl - every four hours. Around the clock.
Hydroxyzine - a prescription antihistamine. Twice/day. On a dose higher than given to adults because it knocks people out. She has no effects.
Prednisone - a dose high enough to make her doctors worry she could suffer long term effects. Twice/day.
Albuterol - three times/day. Also, every 4 hours as needed for breathing problems.
Advair - twice daily.
Epi-pen - as needed.

We. Still. Have. Hives.

Where - on that list of medications - is xanax for me??

Although I'm not sure which, I am sure this is going to kill one of us.


Google Thinks The Queen Sucks

Right off the bat, let me say I'm confused.
I looked back at my blog, and I have well over 100 comments. (I have many more than 100, but I'm too lazy to count them all.) On around 250 posts. According to Google Analytics though, I suck. And I'm awful lonely.

I've checked my stuff on GAG (Google Analytics Gauge) several times over the years. I never get any information. There is always some issue with my blog that prevents GAG from reporting. I always dutifully fix whatever issue GAG claims, only to remember to return a few months later and find another issue. This has been my relationship with GAG.
Nanny Goat in Panties 
After reading Nanny Goats in Panties today, I was curious what some of the search terms are that people use to find my blog. I turned to my trusted nemesis GAG to figure it out.
Apparently, according to the figures displayed (rather largely) by GAG, my blog has enjoyed a sudden popularity, although it's a bit confusing when looking at the raw data. You see, to this point The Queen Speaks (um, the name of the blog you're currently on) has never had a visitor. Ever. My statistics have remained at zero. They haven't budged. It has been the one thing I could count on in life.
Surprise! While checking GAG this morning, I was shocked. Stunned. Amazed. The Queen Speaks (that's the blog you're on, remember?) has enjoyed a sudden surge in visitors. This little ol' blog has gone from a record low and high of zero, to SEVENTY-SEVEN! I'm not kidding...look:
Isn't that impressive? Just don't look too closely at the top half of the screen shot - it says all my stats remain at zero. I was very excited by this news. It was like learning all the voices I hear aren't coming (only) from my head. Until I looked at this page:
How can this be? I just had a surge in people finding my blog - a whole 77 of them! How can I be down 100% - when I started with nothing? Wouldn't I have to remain at nothing - or get less than 0 visitors - to fall 100%?
I'm so confused. I don't know if I should have 77 thank you notes engraved, or bring back the black veil in anticipation of my 100% drop.

On a side note: I apologize for not responding to comments and generally being rude lately. Remember how bad Hive Girl was? Of course not - I had no readers. (Does that mean I also made up the comments?) The reaction she had when I originally posted was nothing compared to the latest go 'round.
As of Friday, she went into full anaphylactic shock. She almost died. We now have an epi-pen that she cannot go anywhere without. We are going to see an allergist/immunologist this morning - I will post more about it tomorrow - but please keep your fingers crossed we figure this out. Even with the epi-pen, there aren't any guarantees. I'm pretty unflappable - just look at my children. They scare me but haven't run me off...yet. However, I am really scared about Hive Girl's condition.


Beautiful Blogger...Who Ya Talkin' About?!

I am so stoked to receive an awesome award from a wonderful blogger. I can't believe she is bestowing it upon the Palace - especially considering the other people she gave it to. Nanny Goats in Panties? Oh cha...I bow to NGIP. I'm sure she's wondering in what realm we belong on the same list, too!

Veronica, best known as The Chickenista, has another blog. Yes, I said another. She has like three...News You Can't Use, Now What, and The Chickenista. Plus she home schools her kidlets. (She also drives a pick up and carries a shotgun!) Um yeah. I don't think anyone will be calling her lazy anytime soon. Geez, Veronica - way to make the rest of us look bad!

The rules of this award:

-Thank the person who nominated you for this award. Thank you, Veronica, my little Chickenista...THANK YOU!!
-Copy the award & place it on your blog. Check!
-Link to the person who nominated you for this award. Check!
-Tell us 7 interesting things about yourself. Ohhh boy. Doesn't say they have to be "real".
-Nominate 7 bloggers. Easy enough!
-Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate. Check!

   Interesting Things About Me:
1. Altho it's been off the air for at least 25 years, I can still remember every single word to the "Lee Press On Nails" commercial. I swear. If enough people comment that they want to hear it, I'll post my rendition...which, by the way, is much better than the woman who did the original voice over.
2. I was Miss North Carolina Teen. It was so long ago I'm pretty sure they didn't even have newspapers back then.
3. I am the "black sheep" in my family - in the biggest way possible, in every way you can think of. Sometimes I wonder if my parents were serious when they used to say they picked me up on a fence post.
4. If I could live life exactly like I wanted, I would live on a ranch that overlooks the ocean. (Like on a cliff.) My home would overlook the ocean and the horses (and a few other small animals) would be safely pastured on the opposite side of my house! I would basically be a recluse - doing art, riding my horse, drinking iced tea, Coke with grenadine, or Mocha Frappuccino on my veranda.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
5. I "talk" to more people online in one day, than I talk to in person, or on the phone, in a week.
6. I can't watch news stories, commercials, etc about the mistreatment, or abuse of children. I will do anything to not watch/ hear about those things - but if I can't escape, I immediately get teared up - and it will upset me for days.
7. I amuse myself - I find myself quite funny. I can't help it. I am a complete dork. I crack myself up at least once a day.

And now...onto the Beautiful Bloggers I'd like to pass this along to...

Being the rebel that I am, I could not narrow it down to seven. I just couldn't. Every time I looked at the list, I could not decide on someone to remove. I had no problem thinking of others to add - but this is the barest list I could come up with. So...I suck. Sorry about that.

I am so honored to know so many incredibly creative people. I cherish everyone who reads my blog - please know if you didn't find your name on this list, it is not because I don't treasure you and your beauty. It's impossible not to celebrate each of you - and the unique gifts you bring to the world. I love all of you!

Thanks again, Veronica!


Caran D'Ache Neocolor II

My latest toys supplies arrived - and I'm so excited!
I absolutely love As the name suggests, they are the premiere online place to purchase art supplies. Located in Chicago, IL, they are a brick-and-mortar store, and accept phone orders as well. I have been a huge fan of for awhile now - and for some very specific reasons:

  • They are the one company I have referred friends and other artists to, over and over. They've never let me down - and I know they will take good care of anyone I send their way.
  • Fast shipping.
  • Free shipping on loads of products. Orders not shipping free do not have over-inflated shipping fees. Finally - someone gets it!
  • Amazing prices. Almost everything I've bought from them has saved me money. For example, I recently purchased a silk screening kit at for around $35. After hours of searching, their cheapest competitor wanted $47 - and that was a sale price! I'm terrible at math, but isn't that around a 26% savings?
  • Fantastic communication.
  • Great selection. If you want something and they don't have it, they'll go to the ends of the earth to get it. That's just how their customer service is.
  • About their customer is phenomenal. Phe. Nom. En. AL. You will not hear me say this often, but I have never had less than a 5-star interaction with anyone representing that company. Five-stars doesn't begin to adequately describe their awesomeness.

I have been exceptionally blessed to be associated with such incredible people and such a fine organization. It is rare for me to have such loyalty to a company - but that's just how good is. I personally guarantee you simply will not find a better art supply store, nicer people, or better prices...anywhere. That's a pretty huge guarantee - but I say it knowing it's true.
Which brings me back to my recent order. I got the Caran D'Ache Neocolor IIs - and I am so excited to play with them! There was an article by Susie Monday in the Dec '09/Jan '10 issue of Quilting Arts. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists - her blog is full of great information and inspiration. The article in QA, Rainbow Printing with Water-soluble Pigments, was just like her work and her blog - informative, inspirational, interesting. About halfway through the article I knew I had to order some Golden's Silkscreen Medium and Neocolor IIs. I haven't had a chance to play with them yet, but stay tuned. I'll post my results when I've got something to show.
I just love getting new's like being a little kid again!


Silver Clay

I've been in love with silver clay since I first learned it existed. The price was a major factor for me - it's daunting to relax and learn when you know the material you're working with costs big bucks.

It's a funny thing, silver clay is. I have a lot to learn - and so many ideas. It doesn't go very far - you don't get a whole lot for the money. That said, the pieces turn out beautifully - even if you're clueless, like I was. I should mention, before I began, I looked over several books, read tons and tons of websites, and spoke to a handful of artists experienced in silver clay. From my research and discussions, one thing was clear: just jump in.
My very first attempt was a couple of charms, where I really got a feel for the clay and the torch. (Sorry! Didn't mean to burn you or get my little needle pick stuck on you!) I made an art doll and crown from molds I'd made for polymer clay. I don't know how my little crown prong broke - but it did. I also forgot to add holes to these so they could be used as charms. - so a new use will have to be found. Maybe broaches?

Each of those pieces is a nice, substantial weight. I was instantly impressed and smitten. And wielding the torch totally rocked!

The last two pieces are an egg and a nest. I came up with a funky make a necklace from these pieces. Two sides of the nest - which looks kind of like a bucket - will attach to a chain, while the little egg will gently balance in the middle of the nest, the top of the egg poking above the top of the nest. We'll see if it turns out as cool in reality as it is in my mind.

Still need lots of practice...but this could definitely be addictive. So many awesome possibilities!

Oh - have you checked out the new forums at Cloth Paper Scissors? Quilting Arts released their revamped site not too long ago - and now CPS has done the same. Stop by and check it out - it's a great place to meet other artists, make new friends, learn new techniques, and post some work.


Meet Mother Wackadoo

I've been on a creative streak. I started Mother Wackadoo a few weeks ago, then put her in my clay box and (accidentally) forgot about her. How rude!
After discovering her yesterday, I finished her up. It's hard to see, but pink Angelina fills the background in the top triangular hole. A triangular purple and gold cab is suspended in the lower hole. Mother Wackadoo has been textured all over her body with doodles. Her head is large because she always has a lot on her mind. The blue portion of her head is textured with large swirls, the orange part is striped, and each of her shoes have a small flower doodle, as well as tiny vintage gemstone cabochons. Another tiny vintage gemstone cabochon adorns her ring finger. We're unsure whether her socks are mismatched due to the haste in which she grabbed them (have to keep up with those kids!)...or whether the kids have her so worn out, she just doesn't care. She's also a little batty - but what mother isn't??
The 18g sterling silver wire is squiggled, demonstrating her frazzled nerves. Even though Mother Wackadoo is stressed, her face is remarkably calm. Has she withdrawn into her own world, resigned herself - and made peace with - living in constant chaos, or is this a look of catatonia?
Mother Wackadoo is made up of incongruous, disproportionate parts - but she's perfectly balanced. She is symmetrical and different at the same time; completely adaptable. Her outstretched arms indicate the handle she has on the balancing act of motherhood. At the same time, her openness - arms held out - illustrate her readiness - and her desire - to hold and comfort her children.
Her semi-gloss sheen is courtesy of Diamond Flecto Varathan Varnish. This shows her outer strength and protection. I think it's also Mother Wackadoo's attempt at presenting her best self to the world - she may be worn out, run down, stressed, and in need of a vacation - but, like mothers everywhere, she keeps all of that hidden under her shiny appearance.

She will soon be available for purchase - along with the rest of my art - on my new website. It isn't quite ready yet - but watch for information on this exciting new venture!
Have a fantastically creative week!


Ol' Saggy Britches

Yes, he actually thinks he looks good.
Then again, this is the same boy who wears droopy drawers.
 What else can I say??


Hive Girl, Girl Scout Cookies & Good People

I've been MIA for several days - which is unfortunate since I have news about Photobucket to share with you. That will have to wait for now, since I'm still caring for Hive Girl, formerly known as the Princess.

Her hives were so bad they were in her esophagus - so on top of being extremely itchy, she was throwing up like crazy. Poor, pitiful thing! Although she's seen some great doctors about this, I think we're going to go in a different direction. The dermatologist thinks the outbreak is due to an allergy. She was tested for allergies when she was little, after she choked on a peanut. The peanut got lodged in her main bronchus, which was removed endoscopically at the hospital. Her PCP thought the incident may cause a nut allergy, so we had her tested. Good thing the tests were negative - can you imagine her being surrounded by all these "nuts" (brothers, uncle, etc) if she were allergic?!?

I'm going to make an appointment with an allergist. Maybe they can figure out what's causing this. It's getting scary - the girl who has a sensitive immune system and serious asthma - is now having trouble breathing when she has these "attacks". Her upper lip and fingertips turned cyanotic (blue from lack of oxygen) for several long minutes during this attack.

On an interesting and happy note, one of her friends from school adopted a little Haitian girl. They've been in the adoption process for awhile - and everything was sped up due to the catastrophic earthquake.

It's also Girl Scout Cookie Time. Since Hive Girl has been so sick, she hasn't been able to sell cookies like she wanted to. If you live in an area where you can't get cookies - and want some - please let me know. I will pay shipping on all cookies, so you just pay the box price of $3.25. Please email me for information.

Enjoy your week!!

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