Monday, July 14, 2014

Blog Hop with a Difference/Getting to Know Me

Well, hello, Blogland! And welcome to a blog post about me! Hey, I think most of my posts are about me, but this one is really, truly different. It is meant to let you see my creative process. How on earth I am going to describe this, I don't know yet. But I have to thank my friend, Desire Fourie, for inviting me to participate. Desire has a wonderful blog in South Africa, called Doing Life. She is a very talented designer, both of cards and scrapbook pages. And her photography! Well, let me tell you, it is fantastic. She captures whatever she sees with such beauty and clarity. I love looking at her photos! Do check out her blog, if you aren't already one of her hundreds of followers! You will be glad you did!

You know, it still amazes me that we can keep in such immediate touch with people on the other side of the world. I grew up in the '50's and 60's, (yes, I am older than dirt), so I have seen many surreal technological changes, and I do appreciate them. They have made it possible for me to get to know talented people like Desire! But it's still a bit discombobulating to think about how much things have evolved since the 50's.

When I was little, here's how your mom called you home for dinner: she would stick her head out the back door and just holler your name, and you would come running from wherever. (Or, if you were like me, you would answer when someone else's mom called, pretending to be that kid, thereby getting him/her in a great deal of trouble later. Yes, yes, I really did that.) Nowadays, you call the kids on their mobile phones. Or text them. Crazy. That is, if you live in a location where you can let your children play in the neighborhood. Sadly, some areas are too scary for that now...

As a youngster, we played our music on a turntable. My dad had breakable records, so we had to be careful. Now we have digital music that we carry around and listen to with earphones. In between those times we went through iterations of tape players. More crazy. How things have changed...

And shopping. I am an expert at internet "click-and-buy". The remote shopping we did when I was a child was to order from the Sears or Spiegel catalogs. You would mail in your choices and wait weeks to get your order. Now, it's Amazon Prime, Baby. That's what I'm talkin' about...

OK, I am certainly digressing. Unfortunately, it's the way my mind works, (or misfires). Anyway, now we can create something and share our projects with the world instantly. If I think about that too long, it makes my head hurt.

I have been asked why my blog is called 9 Hawks and a Dragonfly. That's a good question, but you may be supremely bored with the answer. Here goes anyway: several years ago, when I was driving into town, I saw a lot of hawks. (I do live in a town, but at the outskirts of it. And I live a long way from Phoenix proper.) Anyway, there was an abundance of hawks soaring above me that day . Unusual to see so many along my route. So I started counting them and realized there were a total of nine. And then, when I was at a stop sign, a dragonfly buzzed my windshield. I happen to love dragonflies, as well as hawks. So I thought to myself, "Self, you have just seen 9 hawks and a dragonfly." And the thought stuck with me, for some reason. So, when I decided to start a blog a few years later in 2011, I figured that title would be golden. No one else would have tried to use it. And, you know what? I was right! Imagine that...

Here's a fairly brief creative history:

I began crafting in the 50's when an old lady in Whitefish, Montana taught me how to knit. I would tell you her name, but now I am an old lady, and I can't remember it. I taught myself how to crochet. Over the years I have made many knitted and/or crocheted items. You know, before knitting was "cool". I seem to be out of sync with the times. Surprise, surprise...

I also made hobby horses in the 60's for my nephews. I believe I used boot socks for the heads, yarn for the manes, and broom handles for the bodies. I also made Beatles' dolls. I embroidered John's, Paul's, George's, and Ringo's faces on the dolls; I gave these to the four nephews I had at the time. I was a teen-aged Beatles' nut fan. (Although I didn't scream when my sister, Barbara, took me to a Beatles' concert in Minneapolis in the 60's. I was a restrained fan.)

I took a portrait class in junior high, which got me started with sketching. Loved that class, but after framing one portrait I seemed to have lost interest. Was I just on to other things? Your guess is as good as mine...

I must have been fascinated with paper mache. I say that, because I made sculptures out of it, both in junior high and high school art classes. In junior high I made a one-eyed-one-horned-flying-purple-people-eater, as in the song of that era. It was purple and orange and shaped like a fat flying saucer on a neck. A few years later, as a senior in high school, I created a bust of a boy I was dating. Oddly enough, it looked a lot like the sculpture from junior high, except it was brown and had a definite nose. My junior high sculpture was submitted to an art fair. I have no idea where it landed after that. My boyfriend's bust, (that's a weird visual), was given to us by my parents after Gary and I were married. I guess Mom and Dad got tired of looking at the monstrosity. Gary and I carted it from one home to another until at last it fell apart.

I wanted to take some art courses in college, but they were all filled by art majors. Which I wasn't. I got a science degree instead. What can I say? My left-brain won that battle. The only regret I have regarding my education was that I never got that interior design degree I truly wanted...

Over the years I have designed and sewn many things from cotton and/or muslin, like cats and rabbits, for craft fairs. I have also designed my own mohair bears. Never made a dime selling anything. Supplies cost me more than what I brought in. So I gave up on crafting for money. And I never got into sewing clothes. My experience in Home-Ec in high school ruined that for me. (It took me an entire week to put a zipper in the dress I made--I had to tear it out so many times I almost ruined the fabric. It literally gave me nightmares.)

I did take up One-Stroke painting for a time. Had a lot of fun with that during my "country" phase. Painted some murals in our home and in the nursery of our granddaughter, Kelsey, as well as a few in the homes of other people.

Then I eventually got into scrapbooking, thanks to our daughter, Angela. I enjoyed it, but Gary asked me "what good is it?". Angela made albums for our granddaughters with the same sets of photos I had to use. He saw no sense in duplicating the effort. At the time, I belonged to a scrapbook club at the community center in Trilogy, where we used to live. And my club friend, Ellie, introduced me to card-making. Gary seemed to appreciate the change--I was now making things I could give to others, which I guess made more sense to him.

Anyway, I love making cards. And somewhere along the line I went from simply stamping images to coloring images. About the time I started my blog, I guess. And I invested in Copics. The whole set basically. Except for a few grays. (I have those in my hair now instead.)

I think I have come quite a long way in my coloring. That's thanks to lots of practice, and to a couple of Copics classes, the classes I have taken from Suzanne Dean, and now the classes I am taking from Alyce Keegan.

July 2011:                                         July 2014:


I wish I could tell you that I have a particular design style. But I don't. Sometimes I am moved to go overboard with embellishments, and sometimes I actually do CAS. It depends on which of my many personality disorders has control at the time. I don't consciously copy anyone, but I am sure I am influenced by all the fabulous creations that I see each day, while commenting on challenges, blogs, or Facebook. I like to create cards for people's birthdays, etc. for my weekly DT assignments. That seems to have worked out really well for me so far.

I have been on several DT's, (design teams), and am currently on only one--The Outlawz Friday Coloring Challenge. This is because I wanted a bit of time to vacation and breathe, and to work on the coloring class I am currently taking from Alyce of Kit and Clowder. I may apply for another DT in the fall, after our trip to Cancun. We'll see. At the moment I am enjoying my down-time, which I use for lots and lots of reading--I am a reading addict. (I go through spells where all I do is read. Until I become super-saturated, and then I do other things as well. Like sleep. Or eat.)

I love taking photos, especially when we are on vacation, (hopefully near the ocean), or out to dinner. We are foodies, for sure, and really appreciate a good glass of wine and an amazing meal. And I do have fun with my blog. I know my sense of humor is a smidgen weird, and not for everybody, but I hope you have enjoyed it. I keep promising to blog about our May trip to Kaua'i, and I still plan on doing that. In the meantime, here are a couple of photos from that trip. I so miss that ocean, and can hardly wait to get back to it!

I have tagged three amazing women for this blog hop! They will be blogging next Monday about themselves. I do hope you spend some time visiting their blogs. It will be well-worth it!

I have known Kathi all my life. No, just kidding. But it seems like it. She is a friend who "gets" me and my sense of humor, (or lack thereof.) She is such a talented, creative soul. Love all of the "artsy" creations she has for you to see on her blog. And love the fun way Kathi describes how she went through her creative process for each item. She uses so many fab techniques it makes my head spin. (Of course, that could be due to old age, too.) Do stop by her blog and, if you are like me, you will learn a thing or twenty.

I have known Sharon for at least a couple of years. We met on the internet, admiring each other's work. She is another wonderful crafter from across the pond. Sharon has made some of the most gorgeous cards you will ever see. Her style is enchanting, and she always adds such fabulous embellishments. She also has the cutest granddaughter evah! I enjoy seeing Sharon's lovely photos of both her creations and Evie Maie. Oh, and Sharon has a cool dog named Abbie, so do check her out as well. 

Shelly and I have cross-commented on each other's blogs for many, many moons. I do so love to see each card or ATC that she posts on her blogs. Shelly is another accomplished crafter, who tries out so many cool techniques for her creations. She is a "Technique Junkie". I learn new things on her blog each time I visit, though I am not patient enough to try most of them! Shelly loves to create Asian-inspired pieces, as her daughter lives and teaches in China. Do drop in to see her beautiful work!

I have taken a great deal of liberty with this assignment. I did not answer the general questions in any particular order or come up with cohesive thoughts. But that's what you get with a demented mind like mine. I do hope you were not bored. Thank you for visiting, and I hope you come back again!

Have a very pleasant week!


  1. Absolutely fantastic!! I really loved reading this post :) I am honored to be tagged by Desire with someone of your talent :o You are amazing!! :) Looking forward to seeing more of your awesome work now :) LOVE the name of your blog LOL and how you got it!

  2. Thanks for another wonderful read!! I feel I know a little bit more about your many facets - what a very talented, crafty (in the good sense) lady you are :) All that creativeness and a top SOH to boot !!

  3. My dearest Penny this was not only insightful, but a real joy ride reading all about you from the early days (yes I also grew up in the sixties, so can dearly relate, not so sure about the fifties though) to our current crazy fast paced techno driven 21st Century. I sure do hope that you will publish an autobiography one day, as it will definitely be a best seller. You have the knack of keeping one hanging onto every word and being disappointed having reached the ends of your blog posts. Also I adore your photo journals of all your wonderful globe trotting trips, you are so blessed to be able to do this, enjoy every moment of it. I cant thank you enough for being one of my tags for this hop with a difference, you definitely lived up to it awesomely.
    Lots of hugs from your penguin family's Mom in sunny South Africa
    {Doing Life – my personal blog}

  4. Penny...I am in awe of your many things you have you have photos of the beatles dolls you made? And reading your post made me chuckle several times!!
    Dr Sonia
    Cards Crafts Kids Projects

  5. Now I have finally sat down I have managed to read your blog and digest it rather than skim it like I had to yesterday.
    I must say I relived some memories of bygone days - don't you think life was so much simpler then? Loved reading of your many crafts over the years and so glad you stuck with card making.
    Thank you once again for inviting me on this hop. I have had replies from two blogger saying yes and awaiting the third reply.
    Please continue to keep us entertained with you wonderful tales and fabulous cards.
    Have a lovely week.
    Hugs Sharon. x

  6. Your design and coloring skills have gone from "Really Good" to "Spectacular", Penny. Bravo. :)

  7. Your coloring is beautiful! I really enjoyed reading about all your crafty endeavors. We went to Cancun on our honeymoon, I loved it. Have a wonderful time and hope you are doing well. Hugs Kim B

  8. We have very parallel lives. I'm falling asleep so I don't know if we'll end well. Penny, are you heading to Florida anytime soon, We have to get together.'

    By the way my new neighborhood had a pair of hawks and hundreds of dragonglies, which I too love.

  9. Finally! An answer to why you named your blog! I always wanted to ask you, but I kept forgetting! Typical for me.

    You know I love your sense of humor and your way with words. I don't think I've ever made it through one of your blog posts without cracking a smile. Smiling exercises a ton of muscles, which lately is all the exercise I get.

    Your coloring skills and die-cut usage always is amazing. I have seen improvement in both lately, which means you're putting your classes to good use.

    Thanks for tagging me! And I also feel as if we're life-long friends!

  10. Penny, thanks for sharing. Your card is gorgeous. I love your coloring and you are such an inspiration!

  11. I love reading your posts- and it is delightful to get to know you better : ) I love seeing your fab coloring- it was beautiful to begin with, and now is even more beautiful! You definitely have an eye for color- and I too wish I had taken some art classes way back when- it is never too late! Hehehe Thanks for tagging me- see you next Monday : )

  12. I was certainly not bored! Penny, this is an amazing post, so informative and very entertaining!( I'll definitely be back for more) I also grew up in the 50's and 60's, and have to agree that life was very different then!!
    I've flitted about your blog, admiring your beautiful artwork... your colouring skills are amazing. Thank you so much for the lovely comment you left me... I'm honoured to be amongst such illustrious company on this 'hop'!

  13. Wow, what can I say to all of that? You always entertain me Penny and I love reading your stories. Right brain or left brain, when you use it all it is a superior thing! I can remember regaling many people with stories of your talent: for decorating, for plants (remember them?) for your art and your many craft ideas (I still use the shoe bags). Now I have a whole shelf of your cards to show off that wonderful talent. I love you, my baby sister.

  14. I love your stories! I also cannot sell my crafts to make money, I gave up and just give them away! You have tried a lot of different things and I can feel your excitement towards the things you have done. I enjoy your work and look forward to more visiting!
    Have a great day,
    Hugs Kelly

  15. You definitely have a knack for story telling, Penny! Loved reading through your creative and personal story. I grew up in the early 70s in a small rural town. No yelling by my parents, though. It was the porch light for us! When it came on it was time to get home for the night. LOL!

    Your coloring classes have certainly paid off! Beautiful coloring of the images. We had a certified Copic class in Anchorage a few years ago. Unfortunately, I passed on the opportunity!

    Thanks again for sharing your story and your talent!

  16. It is amazing to know that people are interested in so many different crafts and hobbies through out their lives. Most move on to different one. I on the other hand have retained interest in most of them. Trouble is you can only afford so many. LOL.



Thank you for visiting my blog! I appreciate the kind comments more than I can say! :^)
Hugs, Penny