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An Island New Year 2018

Catherine’s monitor screen lights up.

DARQ:  Hi and Happy New Year’s Day. I’m still on the island and still enjoying the warmth of the sand beneath my feet. And, yes, Catherine, before you have apoplexy, I shucked my velvet slipper-shoes to enjoy a dawn walk on my little stretch of beach.

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CATHERINE: So you celebrated all night?

DARQ: Yes, and it was a marvelous party with fireworks, food, and all sorts of libations available at three different bars around and in the swimming pools . . . Just a warm, peaceful, wonderful way to begin a new year of being on your planet Earth.

CATHERINE: And the dress? What about your dress? 

DARQ: You did a great job. The gown was all I had envisioned from the sketch I gave you out of that Erte fashion book. 

Erte JPEG 2017 Xmas gown 

CATHERINE: I know what the sketch looked like, what I want to see is you wearing the thing!

DARQ: Okay. Ta-dah!

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CATHERINE: Wow!  With your hair down and that flower accenting your tresses, you look lovely!

(A loud yawn ensues from Darq), then she says:  I’m going to head on in and catch a few Z’s. All too soon I have to leave this paradise. You can expect me at the farm by week’s end.

CATHERINE: We’ve got snow here, about 6″ but the temps are going to be single digits for the coming week with below zero wind chills. Bundle up  and dress warm.

DARQ: Hmm. Maybe I can wheedle a few more days out of this island stay.

CATHERINE: Coward. You can’t overstay your welcome no matter how warm the tropics are!

 DARQ chuckles, then says: So true. I’ll see you soon. Enjoy your New Year’s Day!

(The connection ends.)

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To one and all who visit this blog, Darq and I wish you

A Very Happy New Year’s Day and wonderful 2018!

Catherine E. McLean

 

Darq will return for Valentine’s Day wearing a new outfit. Be sure to visit.

****Note to Sewers and Crafters – Darq’s outfit is a sparkling velvet fabric that is lined with a shimmering silver-gray satin. This is the first time I’ve used a backdrop twice, but I liked my sister’s handiwork with the frosting for the palms. It’s very cold  here in Western Pennsylvania and 6″ of snow on the ground. Besides, when I look at this tropical setting, I feel warmer and thinking about Spring.

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Posted by on January 1, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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An Island Christmas Greeting!

Clicks signal an incoming message and then —

DARQ:  Hello, Catherine! I wish you the Merriest of Christmases.

CATHERINE:  Same to you Darq!

DARQ: I hesitate to expound on the weather here, well, it’s heavenly —

2017 DARQ fullview lt IMG_6813_1

CATHERINE: Oh, how I envy you being in the tropics. Hey, what’s with the bear?

DARQ: Actually, it’s bears, plural. You see, the theme of this island getaway holiday is Christmas Bears. I’m holding a stuffed bear in my right hand, a genuine Teddy Bear, and in my other hand is a bear of a gingerbread cookie. The cookie-bear is holding a green striped candy cane.

CATHERINE: How can you be sure that you have a genuine Teddy Bear? Stuffed bears are just stuffed bears.

DARQ: Because the ribbon around its neck says Teddy Bear. Beside, the MIB — my Men In Black bodyguard detail gave this cute little bear to me as a Christmas gift.  Speaking of Christmas gifts, I received your gift, Catherine  —  the Erte-Inspired Creation is gorgeous! I can hardly wait until New Year’s Eve to wear it.

CATHERINE: I’m glad you liked the gown. So when do you leave for the New Year’s Eve party? And is it in some alpine-ski area?

DARQ: No. I’m celebrating New Years right here in the tropics!

CATHERINE: Lucky, lucky, you. I get snow and single digits. Brrrrr!

Darq chuckles.

CATHERINE:  Okay, before you go imbibe more punch or frolic on the beaches, let’s see the shoes.

Darq’s cheeks flush.

CATHERINE: Darq?

DARQ: Ah . . . Well, you see, it’s like this —

2017 DARQ barefeet sand IMG_6786_1

Catherine gasps before saying:  OHMYGOD — you’re barefoot!

DARQ: Yes, I am.  You can blame it on the MIBs.

CATHERINE:  Huh?

DARQ: They talked my host into resurfacing this section of beach outside my guest bungalow to resemble the sands of my homeworld. At home, I never wear shoes on the beach. No one does. But I did put on a new coat of nail polish. (Darq wiggles her toes.)

CATHERINE: Blinged out toenails. No two toes the same color.

DARQ: Of course not. Readers of JEWELS OF THE SKY wouldn’t expect the heroine to deviate from that little quirk, now would they?

CATHERINE: No they wouldn’t.

DARQ: Oh, I have to go. It’s time for our Christmas luau.  Merry Christmas!

CATHERINE: Merry Christmas!

(The connection ends.)

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Darq and I wish you a wonderful Christmas Day! 

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Stop by New Year’s Day to see Darq’s party gown, another Erte-inspired creation.

 

NOTE TO CRAFTERS AND SEWERS:  Darq’s muumuu is a silk-polyester border print,the design is a composite made after browsing Pinterest for ideas.

As to the palm trees, that’s not paint on them –  it’s cake frosting. My sister, who loves to decorate cakes came for lunch and a visit. She also brought her cache of frosting tips and jars of food colorings.  I whipped up a batch of simple frosting (powdered sugar, shortening, and milk) and divided up the mix into four bowls. My sister then piped the bark and leaves using leaf tips.  She had the easy part, the frosting of the palms.

2017 Nancy piping finale IMG_6757

The hard part was mine  — scaling and cutting-carving the palm forms out of corrugated cardboard, then reinforcing the trunk sections and fronds with Popsicle sticks to keep the thin areas rigid.

Once dry, I slid the palms onto the cloud board, used brads (through the coconut area) to secure the trees to the cloud board.

By the way, those are real rocks, sand, gravel, and pebbles used for the “beach.”

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Posted by on December 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Christmas 2015 & Karaoke ?

CATHERINE chuckles and sets the black T-shirt Darq gave her under the Christmas Tree:  This is one great T-shirt, thanks, Darq.

DARQ:  I thought the saying appropriate considering you’re a novelist who makes up stories!

CATHERINE:  Very fitting–I love it!

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DARQ swats aside another dangling ribbon:  Good grief, Catherine, I know you decorated your Christmas tree with all 36 of those fair ribbons you won this year, but really, it’s like plowing through a jungle.

CATHERINE:  Stop exaggerating. I see you found the gift your squad of Men In Black left for you.

DARQ: Yes, I did, but with all the gifts that were piled under the tree last night, it was shoved back, and way around to the other side of the tree.

CATHERINE: Stop complaining and go open your gift.  You’ve been curious ever since it arrived. (Catherine begins opening another Christmas gift.)

A minute later, Darq has her MIB gift unwrapped and squeals: “Karaoke!”

CATHERINE:  What?

DARQ scrambles to the nearest blank wall and starts singing into the handheld microphone–the MIBs gift to her–

IMG_4305 2015 Xmas Karoke Darq JPEG

Darq’s voice booms through both stories of Catherine’s farm house: Have yourself a merry little Christmas…

CATHERINE grins and says:  Okay, okay, enough with the caterwauling–I mean singing. Go unwrap something else. Save the tunes for after we open all the presents.

When Darq finishes opening her gifts, Catherine says: Beside the karaoke mike, what else did you get?

DARQ: J’adore perfume, a box of Belgium chocolates, and a CD of tunes that accompanied my mike. Oh, and a stocking full of cookies, M&Ms, and chocolate covered cherries. If I don’t suffer a sugar-high, I’m going to get fat eating all this candy.

CATHERINE laughs, then says: What gift do you like the most?

DARQ eyes Catherine: The three you gave me.  The Christmas Tree earrings–  IMG_4334

The Christmassy slippers– IMG_4309And this lounger you made for me, why it’s as colorful as Christmas wrapping paper. (Darq’s voice changes to a lower, quieter tone): It’s especially heartwarming to wear this robe because it’s like something I’d wear on my homeworld. And beautiful and comfy.

CATHERINE: It should be.

DARQ: What does that mean?

CATHERINE:  I bribed Agent M with four dozen chocolate chip cookies for a look at some Wysotti clothing catalogs.  Now, grab that mike and let’s sing a wish to everyone who reads this blog–

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be . . .

Have a wonderful Christmas Day.

**** DARQ will be attending another New Year’s Eve party at an undisclosed location, and wearing a new Erte-inspired outfit. Stop by New Year’s Day to see what she wore.

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Posted by on December 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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A Letter to Darq

August 10, 2015

Hi, Darq,

Got your note and noted it was delivered four weeks after you wrote it–likely the MIB bureaucracy and all that security scrutiny of theirs.  Anyway, so happy to get your pictures. Loved the one of you and hubby Atlatl at sunset along the pier. And, wow, that picture of the turquoise sea with that huge wave cresting over was astonishing. You’re as good a photographer as I am–maybe better! LOL

As to news from here? August is like Christmas for me because of the annual fair. This year’s was a milestone one, my 30th consecutive year of exhibiting. So, yeah, I went all out. I entered 38 projects and came away with 36 ribbons, 60% of those ribbons were first place blue ribbons. Which brings me to the photo below of your Valentine’s Day, Erte-inspired outfit, which took a first-place ribbon!

Fair week also included my volunteering in the home show building, which I’ve been doing for the past dozen years or so. And the Tuesday all-day stint left me bedraggled going into August 5’s Release Day Celebration for my third novel, HEARTS AKILTER.  And get this–I made a HEARTS AKILTER keepsake for myself–an apron (see picture below), which won a blue ribbon.

Speaking of HEARTS AKILTER, I’m on a blog tour to promote the book. The tour includes a Facebook Party with a group of other authors. There’s a $50 Amazon gift card as one of the prizes, and I’m giving away a gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press (publishers of HEARTS AKILTER). This Facebook Party is something new to swallow up my time to promote. LOL

Anyway, I’ve posted the blog tour stops, and I’ve also posted more information at my hub website about the Facebook Party.

Continue enjoying your R&R, Darq, and I look forward to your returning to Earth and visiting me this fall,

Catherine

IMG_4070IMG_4092 Apron TRIMd Pix

 

 

 

 

 

****Details of the Facebook Party are here

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Happy New Year 2015!

Telephone rings at 5 a.m.

CATHERINE, only barely awake, picks up the phone from her bedside stand, and mumbles: Hello?

DARQ: Happy New Year, Catherine!

CATHERINE, grumbling something unintelligent, takes a deep breath and comes more awake: Happy New Year to you, too.  Where are you calling from?

DARQ:  The party. I’m on my way out the door.

CATHERINE:  I thought you were staying until Sunday. Was the party that bad?

DARQ, her voice lower:  “It was a nice party but, well, boring.”

CATHERINE: I thought my staying at home was a boring way to spend New Year’s Eve, but you went to some ritzy party!

DARQ: Not so much ritzy. The place was an architectural wonder.  All slabs of rock, cement, metal, linear–think Frank Lloyd Wright-ish.  And the interior–all white, black, chrome, glass–so pristine that no one dared get drunk or spill anything on the gold carpets. Standing around making polite talk is not my idea of welcoming in a new year.

CATHERINE: No saving grace for the place?

DARQ: Well, there was the view.  The towering mountains covered with evergreens. All dusted with snow. A full moon.

CATHERINE (hears helicopter blades revving up): So you’ll be home soon?

DARQ:  No. Change of plans.  I’ve been invited to New York City for a couple weeks to take in the lights and a play or two. I’ll let you know my ETA later. I have to go, but I’m sending you a picture one of the MIBs took of me in the Erte-inspired outfit you made me. Everyone raved about it.  Gotta go!

There’s the click of the disconnect, and Catherine brings up the picture Darq sent:

IMG_2761 12-2014 ERTE NwYr Window

 

*** Note to fashionistas and those who sew —  Below is a frontal view of Darq’s two-piece outfit. The skirt front has a “waterfall” effect, which took me two days to figure out how to make. The most expensive about the outfit was the pair of tassels that hang off the belt at the side seams. Making those tassels took three skeins of metallic gold embroidery floss.

IMG_2774 12-2014 ERTE NwYr POSED

And here is the Erte illustration that I worked from:

Darq-Erte NwYr2014 illustration And, yes, Darq’s wearing a new pair of shoes.  Blingy-gold (and made from duct tape).

 

***This blog will update January 15 with a look at Darq’s NYC visit (and outfit). Follow this blog to stay abreast of Darq’s adventures on Earth.

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Posted by on January 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Highlights of Christmas 2014

CATHERINE:  As promised, here’s a look at–

DARQ:  Let me tell the picture story of my Christmas day.

CATHERINE:  Okay, tell away.

DARQ:  The Christmas tree (an artificial one) was a-glitter with lights and sparkling ornaments of silver and kiwi-green.  With all the gifts piled under the tree, I  was hard pressed to ferret out my presents. At times it felt like I was drowning among the brightly wrapped gifts.

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However, I manged to find my three presents– Ta Dah!

IMG_2696  Xmas2014 DARQ Presents

What did I get?  Well, the contents of the bag was from my MIB detail and Santa. It was a red stocking filled with various wine samplers.  The little box held Catherine’s gift to me of earrings–and yes, I am wearing an old pair of red shoes (no new ones) and my Ugly Christmas Sweater (which, the more I wear it, the better I like it!).

IMG_2700  Xmas2014 DARQ Earrings-MerlotAnd in the big gold glittery box was–

CATHERINE: Hold it right there.  No revealing what’s inside that box.

DARQ: Why not? It’s the outfit you made for me for the upcoming Downton Abbey themed New Year’s Eve party I’m attending next week.

CATHERINE: But we won’t be revealing that Erte-inspired outfit until New Year’s Day, so don’t spoil the surprise.

DARQ: Can I just say it’s black and gold and white?

CATHERINE: No.

DARQ: Can I say it’s beautiful?

CATHERINE: Okay, you can say that.

DARQ: The Erte-outfit Catherine made is simply — BEAUTIFUL!

CATHERINE: Now that we have that settled, how about guarding the cookies so my husband leaves a few for me?

DARQ:  I’m on it!

IMG_2708 Xmas2014 DARQ cookies

CATHERINE and DARQ:  We hope you had a very good Christmas and will stop by New Year’s Day to see Darq’s Erte-inspired outfit of black and gold and white!

**** Catch up on all the Christmas activities by scrolling down.

***Unfamiliar with Erte?  He was the Father of Art Deco and a designer of 1920-30’s haute couture – check out last New Year’s Eve’s gown, as well as the Valentines, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter outfits made this year.

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Posted by on December 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Ugly Christmas Sweater ???

DARQ: No, no, Catherine, don’t you dare open this post with “The Legend of the Ugly Sweater!”

CATHERINE:  Why not?

DARQ:  Because people stopping at this blog will read it and not scroll down to see my Ugly Christmas Sweater. They won’t know what happened at the Christmas Party.

CATHERINE:  Ah, yes, the Men In Black holiday party–where everyone was to wear their ugly Christmas sweaters. So, how was the party?  The sweaters?

DARQ:  Here’s the official photo they took of me at the party.IMG_2534 2014 Darq UglySweater 01 USE

CATHERINE: Wow, your sweater lights are a-twinkling!

DARQ scowls: At least I wasn’t lit up like some.

CATHERINE:  So, how did your Ugly Christmas Sweater fare? Did it win first place?  Any placing?

DARQ:  No, I didn’t win the prize for the Ugly Christmas Sweater.  El-Emn did.

CATHERINE:  L M?  That name doesn’t sound familiar.  Is he a new guy on the MIB detail that’s assigned to you?

DARQ:  No, not L and M the initials, EL-EMN.  He’s an octopod from a planet called Zanthara.  He’s greenish-gray, golden eyed, with eight tentacle arms.  He knitted his sweater himself–a reindeer on each arm–and his ass was covered by Santa’s sleigh, which was a vibrant red and on the backside of his sweater. That sweater had fringe and tinsel, lights–

CATHERINE:  Your sweater has fringe and tinsel, lights. Blinking lights.

DARQ:  Yeah, but not quite like El-Emn’s!

[DARQ exits and returns with items in hand]DARQ-UglySwtr Rbn-Btl jpeg

CATHERINE:  That’s a pretty gaudy ribbon you’re holding. So, what did you win it for?

DARQ, her cheeks taking on a deeper hue:  For Most Beautiful Alien in an Ugly Christmas Sweater.

CATHERINE, holding back laughter:  And here you were worried that with all the sweater’s loopy, white fluffy yarns you would look like a Yeti!

DARQ, scowling:  That Meh-Teh tried to hit on me.

CATHERINE:  What’s a Meh-Teh?

DARQ:  What you Americans call a yeti.

CATHERINE: The abominable snowman is real?  No way.

DARQ: Yes way.  They are like Big Foot, dimensional aliens.  Just passing through the dimensions, so to speak.

CATHERINE:  Unreal.  Oh, never mind.  I see you’re holding a bottle of liquor in your other hand. Its got tons of ribbons curled on it.  Did you win that in the gift exchange?

DARQ:  No. It was . . .  um . . . well . . .

CATHERINE:  Out with it!

DARQ:  Okay, okay.  It was for the Best Footwear To Go With An Ugly Christmas Sweater.

CATHERINE, grinning:  You and your shoes!IMG_2512 2014 Darq XmasSweaterSlippers

DARQ: These are sweater-slippers, not shoes.

CATHERINE: I know that.  Horns, jingle bells, red and green surrounded by snowy-whiteness–

DARQ: ARGH!  I’ll just take my snowy-whiteness and Ugly Christmas Sweater out the door and change into something more appropriate.

CATHERINE:  And I’ll finish this post with the Legend of the Ugly Sweater.

The Legend of the Ugly Sweater  Legend of Ugly Sweater jpeg

There was an awful present

Underneath our Christmas Tree,

Hand sewn by Aunt Tilly.

Made especially for me,

The gift that ruined my childhood,

Forced to wear it Christmas Day.

When asked if I adored it,

I’d always shout, “NO WAY!”

But now I wear it proudly,

Without shame and with no fear.

Contest after contest,

my ugly sweater wins each year!

–Unknown Author

****Make JEWELS OF THE SKY your Christmas gift or give it as a gift.

Available in ebook and paperback at

Amazon.com as well as

Barnes & Noble  and other book outlets.

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Go to Catherine’s Contact Page to be notified when this blog is updated.

Updates are when events develop

(and with Darq wearing clothes and shoes made for the occasion).

 

Coming events include Christmas Day, a New Years Eve Party (another Erte-inspired gown), the Boston Pops, a Broadway play, and others.

Comments and conversations welcome.

And be sure to scroll down and see what Darq’s been doing.

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Posted by on December 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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