Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesday-5am Cogitation on painting

Good Morning!
As long as I was still awake--thought I'd blog away--hehe!
I had been chatting with Ann about my watercolor plans--besides the trying the different brands in small palettes made from Sucrets and Altoids boxes--hehe! I have wanted to find a brand of watercolor brushes I really love. Planned to by up size 8 brushes in different brands and styles: synthetic, blends, and naturals. I have always been a small painter--so almost all my round brushes are small. Don't want to spend the money for any larger brushes until I know what I really like best, you know?
I have one really large brush--on the left (size 18). It was highly recommended by my watercolor teacher up here in Fargo when I went to her class a few years ago (5?). I watched her use it--got really brave (for me) and bought one at the local art store. It is made for an artist--Rose Edin. Don't know what kind it is--synthetic, blend, or natural--or who made it for her--but I do love it. Can do a wash and yet comes to a point when wet and has some strength and "bounce-back" or firmness to it. I am hoping to find something like it.
The other bigger brush I have (that is over a size six--hehe!) came in a set. Gold-N-Flow (the middle brush-size 10). Okay, but doesn't really come to a point--and we know how I love detail, right? Anyways, Ann sent me a Loew Cornell 7020 size 8 to try (on the right)!! Ann, you sweetheart! So lucky for me you are doing spring cleaning--haha! I now have my first size 8 brush for my future collection--hehe! And it looks like it comes to a pretty good point. Have to try it soon!
Tonight I actually did go and play with the water, oriental brushes, and magic paper--finally! Practicing brush strokes--and that paper works like a charm. Boy! I'd say I'm out of practice, but I was never in practice to begin with--hehe! Felt like I was starting from scratch again--been too long, I guess. Must rotate in painting of some kind more often, eh? Brushes are new enough to me.
I grew up with a "death grip" on my pencils and pens, as Leah says. (Leah knows from personal experience--hehe! We have the strangest things in common.) I have been used to control and doing very small work. Even painted the front of clothespins for making refrigerator magnets, for example. Have always prefered pens. Control! Control!
My experience with brushes is very limited, actually. One night class around fifteen years ago--with a teacher who convinced me I'd need a lifetime to ever learn how to paint with watercolors. But--brushes/painting always felt like something I needed to conquer--something I was supposed to learn one day. I collected supplies for about ten years after that disasterous class, but didn't really try to paint. Afraid to. Didn't know what to do the few times I did try and didn't like anything I did. The simple exercises I had learned from that negative teacher--turned out terribly. I don't like doing things I am not good at fairly quickly, to be honest. And to feel so totally inept, out of my league, and genuinely bad at something--was horrible. Why would I go back for more punishment? But GA (my naggy guardian angel) kept insisting it was something I had to learn. So, I just bought supplies....later...later...
Then a few years ago I spotted a class and felt I was supposed to go. I signed up for a set of three classes with this teacher at the Fargo Art Museum--expecting to be foolish and frustrated once again. But--she was wonderful--brave and free and fun! (Haiying has always reminded me of her--they have that same giving spirit and joy!) That was where I painted the white poinsettia and the leaves paintings. I was in college at the time, my health was in decline--so after the three classes, I wasn't able to paint. (I did do my one Bob Ross painting, tho--in one sitting--around that same time I was taking the watercolor class.) Painting--was something I would do one day, you know? Yes, GA--I'll learn to paint...later...later....
It wasn't until I couldn't finish school, ended up on disability, and my life changed so drastically that "later" suddenly arrived. I have been trying to learn by reading books, taping art shows off PBS, studying art catalogs, searching online, and watching the four videos/DVDs I purchased. I started painting wildflowers (always have been close to my heart). I did a Gary Spetz watercolor DVD (saw him on PBS) with Jennifer and her mom one summer. Was floundering along--feeling something was missing and I wasn't quite getting something....
Came across this Chinese Brush Painting group online--thru the EDM group (sketching and drawing--also new for me) because of Donn's post about the CBP group. (Thank you, Donn!!) Don't know why I even clicked on the link? If watercolors were overwhelming, why would I ever be interested in something that was harder and more precise? I knew little about it and would have sworn it was something I never would even attempt! No way! Death grip me!?
But I lurked. Was led to Haiying's YouTube videos. I was watching her paint--felt her casual delight and joy in the process--and I knew I was supposed to try this new challenge with the brush. Was like--Okay, GA. :)
The Chinese brush painting is freeing up something deep inside of me. I think it is helping me to be looser with my watercolors, also. Every art teacher I have ever had has told me I needed to "loosen up"--but I couldn't--I just couldn't--I didn't know how. Like I was behind a wall. Who would have ever suspected that Chinese brush painting was the key--the path to my looser side--hehe!
Somehow that path is to my heart. I had been painting with my head and my hands, you know? Trying to learn it in my head. I don't know how to explain it--but the brush painting somehow touches my heart. My soul. Maybe for the very reason that you are forced to let go. You cannot fuss or repair or have do-overs. I am forced completely and totally out of my comfort zone. I land someplace else--uncomfortably--hehe! So--why should I find this enjoyable? I don't know. It is terrifying at the same time--hehe!
It is slowly opening something inside of me. Probably why I come to it and then I back away again. But I have to go back, don't I? Don't I, GA? :)
And what does Miss Karma do while I am painting and thinking and typing in the middle of the night?
Life is good!

Monday, April 28, 2008


Quick note:
Dagan took off work today. They have been moving since yesterday. Takes longer with a pickup truck--can only move so much at a time. Weather has been nicer, tho--no rain or snow. Leah thought they should maybe be done tonight. Good thing they have a couple more days to go back and clean the apartment and such. :)

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Can you say procrastination!
The glass shade cracked and the bulb went out on my brass floor lamp in late 2006--hehe! I wound this cheap Tweety Bird light around the floor lamp. The Tweety Bird light fried and died last night. The bulb went out, was not burned out, broke off in the base when I tried to remove it, the metal was kind of like fried into the base, and the plastic base for the bulb crumbled into small pieces when I tried to remove the light bulb base!
So, I had to rig up another way to get light by my chair for reading and for writing my many letters.
Stacked a couple of boxes--which take up most of the whole endtable--and stole the light from the top of my desk hutch.
Who knows how long this rigging will suffice to keep me from spending money on the expensive light shade and bulb--hehehe! Works pretty darn well--and this light has a dimmer! :)

Saturday, April 26, 2008


This is what it looked like by 1am. I couldn't see out of the livingroom windows, either. Plastered with snow. Very windy--gusts up to 33 mph. Nearly zero visibility and they predicted we'd get about 6-8 inches of snow here--more to the east of us.
Cold--down to 25 degrees during the night--predicted high of around 40 degrees--but that should be enough to melt some of the snow.
Note: Dagan and Leah didn't move anything in that storm. Thank goodness they have until Wednesday to move everything out. They can wait a day or so. If it stops snowing and warms up enough to melt off the sidewalks...they'll be good to go. :)
I was still awake so I thought I may as well say a quick hello before I went to bed. :) Feeling better--but being sick every couple of weeks or so for the last two months--just wears a person right out. On R&R. Noodle days. But--life is good! :)

Friday, April 25, 2008


My days and nights are flipped--woke up to wind and snow. Karma wanted to go out for a drink of water (she thinks the water in her dish on the porch tastes better than the water in her dish by the kitchen) and discovered it was frozen. Pawed at it to make sure--hehe!

It is coming down steadily and doesn't look like it plans on quitting any time soon. End of April. And Dagan and Leah are moving their belongings into storage this weekend. :(
Karma is pacing about the apartment and crying at the porch door--complaining about this turn of events. I am feeling badly for Dagan and Leah--having to move in this weather! And because I can't be of help with the move. Every once in a while I do get down about my body's betrayal. I'll get over it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Dagan and Leah are packing. They have rented a storage area for their things and they are moving this weekend--have people to help them. Leah told me she'd rather have me help unpack later on, if that was okay? Yes. (I haven't been feeling well and have had my days and nights reversed again, anyways.) I'd probably just slow them down when they are working under a tight schedule and deadline (driving me back and forth, for one thing). Unpacking--there will be no deadline to meet. I can be more helpful then. :)

Big shifts for them! I am just so glad they have a place to stay until they can move into the house. Once they have moved their things--they can then start on the bamboo flooring, I guess! tada! About time. [This construction company is something else! They don't work after five or on weekends--even when they have the light till at least 8pm and are over a month behind! And they are mostly working inside now for goodness sake! Really don't seem too concerned about getting a good reputation with their new business, do they?]

Very loud thunderstorm came through in the middle of the night--rumbling the ground and lighting up the sky. I was awake, of course, and got to watch the whole thing. Karma likes storms, too. She watched from her chair by the window and then begged to go out on the porch--hehe! Was wonderful! sounded like spring! :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


The paints came in one day from Elk River! She had an extra blue green color, too. Thanks so much, Lynnette!!
I am definitely making an order for some art supplies in May. Empty pans and such--fun! I sat and went thru a stack of my watercolor art books last night looking for anything they had on mixing colors/color charts/triads....and I found a chapter here and there. I will read it all. And then next will be practice! practice! practice!
Yesterday was the first day I sat on the porch for a while and read. Was still a bit chilly, but I bundled up.
Haven't felt too well again for the last few days. Laid down for a nap at 6:30pm last night and woke up at 11:30pm! So, probably heading for bed again here pretty soon.

Miss Karma--the sprawler. This is how I usually see her when she's on the floor or sometimes on the desk in front of the computer screen. She stretches...
...and then lies in this goofy position where she has her front paws all curled up--her back toes curl a little, too--and even her tail is curled. I always think she looks like she is praying.
What would a cat pray for--extra treats? For me to get down one of her string toys? (Can't leave them down because she chews thru the strings.) Or maybe the little laser beam thingie to have new batteries? Or that there will be flies on the porch tomorrow? Or maybe just to be left alone to sleep? Who knows what a cat might pray for....???

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I don't know how I could have forgotten to mention--Dagan and Leah have a place to stay until they can live in the house. A couple they know has a spare bedroom and second bathroom. What a relief to know that! Leah told me on Saturday. It sure doesn't look like the house will be ready for occupancy any time soon. They can probably move their things into the lower level, since the construction company is not finishing that off. Anyways, things will be okay. It will all work out in the end, right?
Last night I took six sheets of plain paper that I had made from the packing paper and made them into cards with the foiled stamps. I can make these into bookcards, too, if I want to! tada!
Feeling a little better today. Wheeled out the art table and the betta bowl to the garage before Caroline got here. Asked her a favor--and today she wiped down my metal glider chair and little table on the porch for me. A winter's worth of dirt! Nice enough to sit outside today, too. :) Thanks, Caroline!
Funny--I woke up dreaming about typing at the computer and was moving my fingers in the air. In fact, the typing finger movements were what woke me up--hehe! I talk in my sleep, too. I know that for a fact because I have awakened in mid conversation--hehe! Good grief! Karma must really wonder about her human--chuckle!
Have a good one!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Forgot to take a picture of the dozen bookcards I put together on Friday. That ought to hold me for a while again--hehe!
Saturday morning Leah and I went to the craft garage sale at the Moorhead Center Mall.
And it was set up like a real garage sale. The tables were in a big U-shape--so that you entered and made your way around and ended up back at the register. All the participants had to do was bring in their goods priced and coded for ownership. Kay and her husband took care of all the sales! What a great deal! Each person didn't have to sit there all day at a table and have money for change, etc, like they did years ago when Leah and I were involved. Hummm??? Something to think about for the future. :)
Leah said--"get a picture of it!" We were both in shock! Never, ever have seen a stamp this large!! Didn't even know they made them this big! Must have been at around 9-10 inches tall! Huge! Must be awful to try to stamp a clear image with something that large? I have trouble with the 5 X 4s.
This is what I got for only $10.00 even!! The leaf stamp alone costs $11.00 retail!! Quite the haul. Was a good day shopping at the garage sale. :)
Then we stopped over at Home Depot to see if they had the plastic baseboard wire covers (just the top part) I had seen online. Was thinking of using them around the edges of the table top to repair the art table and make it usable. They didn't have what I was looking for.
Then we went over to Lowes (had seen them on the Lowes website)--but they didn't carry them in the store either. No point in ordering them online if we don't know if they would work--so--decided to see what they had for wood pieces. And I actually bought wood for a table top! Got a wood shelving piece that is 24 X 48 inches. Leah kept it and will work on it after she has her own garage to work in. :) We can shorten it to fit the spot I have for it. It isn't quite as deep (the table top that came with it was 30 X 42 inches--but the table will be sticking out into the room at an entry point, anyways, and I am not exactly known for my large, expressive paintings--hehe! And this wood piece is lighter than the original table top--so should be easier for me to move the table up and down to adjust the height or the angle. And since it is not white anyways--Leah said I can pick any stain I want and she'll stain it for me, too!! I think our make-shift table might end up looking pretty fine! :)
Meanwhile--Miss Karma and the talking card! So very funny--to me, anyways--hehe! This is now her new toy. My oldest friend, Linda (grew up next door to her in Fridley), sent me a belated birthday card where these cartoon voices are talking and laughing and making noise. I have been playing it for Karma and torturing her with it ever since. (Kid Channel on the Cat TV, you know, is one of her favorites.)
Well--I laid it on the floor, since she likes to lay and sprawl on anything, and she was trying to put her head into the card! She pushed it just far enough to make it start talking--and the fun began! The voices would start and she'd leap up--and then they'd stop. Three times she finally pushed it open and got it to run its funny course--and then I'd shut it again--hehe! She was leaping and pawing and jumping about until she wore herself out!
Thanks for the surprise added entertainment, Linda! I'm going to have this card at hand for a long time--hehe!

Last night I just had to play a little bit with the new-to-me stamps and the foiling supplies I purchased recently. Messy--but fun! Not the best picture of these. I tried and tried--couldn't capture the shimmer of the foil. But you get the idea. Definitely going to be playing more with the new sticky embossing powder!
I took one of my new pain pills yesterday so I could be out and about and not hobble like an old woman. They work well for my rare trips out of the house--hehe! A little too well--chuckle! Shouldn't have also been playing with the foiling yesterday. What the heck--I'd be on R&R today, regardless, right? *she laughs* Was a really fun day! Also--beautiful, warmer, and sunny. Today--chilly and grey. Good day to rest. :):)

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Blogger was acting up this morning for uploading pictures, but patience--patience--and here are some pictures! Painting is being done.
Beginning to really look nice! Looks like they have covered up all the uneven stuff?
They must save the stairs for last for some reason?
These are the kitchen cabinets--which Dagan and Leah told the contractors not to have delivered yet--being stored in the master bedroom. They do not listen very well, shall we say. Leah told me that they can't have the cupboards installed until she and Dagan have put down the bamboo flooring.
Walls are looking better and better.
Leah should be over in about an hour or less--and off we go to the craft garage sale on this beautiful sunny morning!

Friday, April 18, 2008


Karma! Karma!
Took her with me in her stroller to walk out the stroller box to the dumpster yesterday. At first, as you can see below, she just tried to push her way out with her head--but she was quiet. I think she was so shocked when I actually rolled her out the apartment door that she remained quiet almost all the way down the long hallway to the elevator. But then she started to cry. She cried all the way to the dumpster and back. Inside, outside--she just cried and cried. Just like when I hauled her out in her carrier before. She is just not happy when she's not at home, eh? I think it could be more the movement than anything. ??
I won't let this stop me from trying to bring her outside again. I'll try it a few more times. Try sitting downstairs in the lobby in one of the big chairs and not moving, too--see if she gets quiet? Things went better than I expected with the collar, but worse than I expected with the stroller--hehe! Never know with Miss Karma.

I had a request for a bookcard made with the packing paper/embroidery thread clippings paper. Made up one for you, Ruby! :) Working on filling it up right now!I have been slowly working on the smelly latex--am up to seven layers. I need about ten layers--have to let them dry inbetween. Good puttery project for me. You can see the sample one Leah made of the dragonfly on the left.Then we'll pour some Plaster of Paris in these latex rubbery casts to make moulds. They don't have the sharp detail that the originals do, but I think they'll work just fine? We'll see. I just wanted some extra snowflakes when I make up 60 Christmas cards. That latex stuff is really stinky--but it works. We have to be extra careful with the Plaster of Paris moulds because they will crack and break easier than whatever they make the originals out of. That Leah--she comes up with the ideas, doesn't she? :)

Yesterday wasn't very windy--my direction anyways--and it was sooo nice out. Low 60s, but felt warmer than that awful windy day when it was supposed to have been 70 degrees out for the first time. Had the porch doors wide open and actually even had the living room windows open for a spell--first time this year! :) Beautiful day again today! I'm washing clothes.

Tomorrow morning Leah and I are going over to Moorhead Mall. They're having a "craft" garage sale. Anybody can rent a table for $5.00 and bring all their unwanted craft supplies up there to sell. Only runs four hours (10am-3pm)--and we're going to try to get there as close to the beginning as we can.

Leah and I actually rented a table several years ago. First time I ever got rid of a single rubber stamp. And I have been collecting them since high school--before they were popular and there was such a thing as a stamp store--hehe! Anyways, I might find something I can use for birthday or Christmas cards--or who knows what else? One Man's Trash, right? Will be fun! Later....

Thursday, April 17, 2008


This is what I did in sessions all day and night yesterday. I folded the cardstock and embossed the words for the inside of the cards. Then I cut all the pieces out to be ready for construction. Have to wait a while for all that hunching over construction, but it feels very good to have gotten this far. :)
My stretcher/lounger cat had a good day, too. I am finally going to get rid of the box from her stroller today (under the folding table). Karma had been having fun napping inside of it as I moved it around the apartment, but I think it has finally lost its appeal. The thrill is gone--hehe!
It is ony 57 degrees but there isn't too much wind. It feels warmer than the day it was supposed to have been up near 70 degrees. I have the porch doors wide open and even cracked windows open! First time this year for the living room windows! Spring is here.

I cooked up some more nukable food, too, so--after a day of resting my good old trigger points--I am hoping to start back on the papermaking. All set to go--again. :)
Dagan and Leah never showed up yesterday. Forgot. If I don't write things down anymore--I forget. If Leah doesn't put it in her phone--she forgets. I finally called last night to see if they were still shopping--hehe! Leah said she'd stop by today, since she's out and about doing the cigarette run anyway (part of her second job--she fills cigarette machines one day a week for Valley Video).
They got all their kitchen appliances picked out last night. Leah's been over at the house every day painting. They still aren't ready for Dagan and Leah to start laying the flooring yet. Maybe this weekend? I can't do a lot, but I can go over and help pack boxes--my and my timer--hehe! Probably next week. Leah wants to wait till the very last to pack up the kitchen, of course, so that may be the half week after that? Time is flying! They are going to just love it! :)
Happy Spring!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Been two months and the box was still sitting here. I don't think they want the damaged table back. I decided to open it up and see if the base was damaged, too. Looks like it might be okay? I'll have Leah look at it when she and Dagan stop by tonight (after picking out kitchen appliances!) to pick up some packages that have been delivered here.
I think I might have come up with an idea of how to cover the chips and crushed corners? Found a PVC wire cover online--goes along a baseboard and comes in 5 foot strips. Might work to go around the entire table top edge IF we can figure out how to cut it at an angle smoothly to fit it on like a frame, you know? And if by 3/4 inches they are measuring inside the cover. I'll see what Leah thinks--my tool girl! :)
Karma loves pawing the plastic wrap.
I saved the box, just in case. Made a trip to the garage yesterday with this big box and Karma's old carrier--and dropped off a bag of trash, too. Used my little green cart, of course. Sounds like an easy project--BUT we had a wind advisory yesterday with gusts up to 40mph!! The big box worked like a sail or a windbreak--depending on which way the fickle wind turned. Soooo funny! I was either pushing very, very hard just to move the cart against the wind or trying not to sail away and be dragged along! The hardest part turned out to be opening the garage door! It takes two hands and every time I let go of the cart it went rolling away--dreaming of the Indy 500--and I became a reluctant sprinter. I finally had to remove the big box and hold it against the garage door with my knees in order to get the door unlocked. Was an adventure! I am still chuckling! Experiences like that just crack me up!! I bet I looked pretty funny--entertaining--hehehe!
Anyways, I was trying to think of all the things I should do to free up the kitchen for papermaking again. One of the things was cleaning the betta bowl and the aquaruim. My betta died many, many months ago. So long ago I can't even remember. But the bowl was filled with live plants and I kept thinking I'd buy another betta. I have cleaned the bowl twice since he died--algae. This time I moved all the live plants into the 30-gallon and emptied out the betta bowl. Going to just wait--maybe store it in the garage again for a while before I get another betta. Maybe use a couple plastic plants next time--hehe!
Got out the Python hose and cleaned the aquarium. Did a 50% water change. The fish are happy! Was overdue.
Last night I made some potato and cabbage soup--and some rice. Now today I can make up a little more food and I think I am all set for a good long papermaking marathon. :)

Oh--William Sonoma. They sent me back an email with a link.
This product page has different information. Tells all about the set of 2 and buying each chopper separately. I sent them back a link to the page I had saved after I ordered the chopper (that I showed you previously)--which has only one price--one item to buy--but talks about the set. They just said too bad, basically. Very odd, don't you think? Just strange that my page is different from the page that is there now. Computers! Not a big deal. But they didn't even offer to sell me the smaller one for the difference to the set price. Just politely told me I had to order a small one if I wanted one. So much for customer service, eh? Just thought I'd fill you in.

I didn't need to use it yet when I made the soup last night as I still had pre-chopped onions in a jar in the frig. I cover them with oil and they last a long time and are ready for frying.

It was supposed to have gotten up to around 70 degrees yesterday, but with the awful wind it sure did not feel that warm at all. Today is cooler (mid-50s), but then it is supposed to be warmer again (low 60s) for several days.

Well, lets see what I can get done today? Oviously feeling better. :)
P.S. Leah was over at the house painting yesterday!! They can't start on the flooring yet. I told her I could come over and help her with some packing when she needs me. :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Pictures of the house.
They were almost done sanding the sheetrock at this point.
Front room.
Looking up to the kitchen/living room area.
Looking up the stairs.
Master bedroom.
Where bathtub will go in master bathroom.
Where vanity will go.
Going to be the shower in master bathroom.
Going to be the watercloset (toilet) and linen closet.
Looking from master bedroom through the walk-in closet to the laundry room.
Downstairs bathroom.
Downstairs linen closet (that they told them they didn't want).
Downstairs bathtub.
They've started working on the outside brickwork.

Hard to believe that they will be moving in the end of April--two weeks from now??
Hope all goes well--and fast--for the next couple weeks--hehe! :)