Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I've been posting things I didn't notice lately--ROFL!!
Back when I took my shopping trip I caught Karma licking her mouth and never noticed it. And when I posted my new calling card double photo I posted the wrong one that had my phone number on it. I had taken another photo--but forgot to delete the first one, of course--hehe! Leah told me that if you double click on it you can see thru the black sharpie anyways. Oh well.
Got a mind like a steel sieve!

Another licking photo. :)

I forgot to show you what happened with all the paper that Leah and I had made so far. Absolutely cracks me up!!

The ones on the right--those are the ones that we just let dry on the table and then pressed under books. Our normal method.

The ones on the left--I fussed with for over two weeks trying to press them as they dried. I used newspapers inbetween each sheet to absorb the water and had to change them like four times--on and on--futzing and futzing. Finally I thought they were all dry and oh so nice and flat. Worth the trouble, right? Piled them up and set them on a shelf in the bookcase.

A couple days later I notice them. They had all warped together! Massive waves! Do you believe it?! ROFL!!

So--the simple method we were using all along works the best for us. Just let them totally dry on the table and THEN press them under books. Or we can use a press when Leah makes one. :)

So funny! I keep chuckling just looking at them. The best laid plans, eh? hehe! Live and learn.

Sunny this morning! Third gorgeous day with cooler temperatures. Extra glad since PitaPaseo has no AC. I'm going out about 11am to start the car and make sure it will kick over--just in case I need a ride to my appointment at 1pm. I don't think so. Pita's been starting nicely. But it's been a while since I have driven her--a week ago yesterday. Just want to double check. Can't afford to miss another appointment or I am not allowed to make another appointment for six months.

And then Caroline is coming later--at 3pm. So I need to get moving--pick up cat toys and gather the garbage together. I'm probably the only person in the world who lives in a one-bedroom apartment and has six wastebaskets! ROFL! :):)

Monday, June 29, 2009


Such a gorgeous day in the 70's yesterday! Karma and I didn't do too much of anything, really. I read a lot--on the porch--tada! Karma snoozed, of course.
Left all the windows open last night and the fans going. Woke up early because it was downright chilly in here this morning! Got down around 50, I think? A little nippy. Ahhh!
No plans for today. Tomorrow I have both a dentist appointment and Caroline--coming a little later than usual to clean to accommodate me. No sun this morning. Clouds and cool. Feels like fall! ??

Happy Monday!! :):)

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Painting again yesterday. Real painting on the left--obviously--chuckle! Another one that's going to be recycled into handmade paper--hehe! I am struggling with the amounts of water on the paper and how to tell how much paint/liquid is in the Chinese brushes. I know my colors aren't the same and that's okay with me right now. But the blending slight color into white flowers...whew! What a mess I made of that! The color raced wildly about and wouldn't behave at all. ROFL!! Oh well. I keep playing and playing and learning and learning. And I am really enjoying myself regardless as to whether the finished picture is a keeper or not. :)
Before I recycle my failures, tho--I will look to see if there are any parts of them I can use to cut out for the fronts of small cards. I may find I can avoid the real blooper areas and get a few decent cards out of them, you never know, right?
I had to take down all the various inspirational paintings...
...and rearrange them because I had run out of room--do you believe it! :)
Left to right starting at the top left:
Barbara, Sibylla, John/Spruce
Haiying, Barbara
Ann, Haiying, Ann, Sibylla
and center bottom:
Haiying and Howard.

These wonderful, generous, talented people are all from our Chinese Brush Painting Yahoo group. I feel so honored that they have sent me paintings--me! Newbie me! That's why I call this my "Inspiration" wall. Can you blame me? :):)

This is the first day in quite a while where I could have the windows open!! All night! And hopefully all day! Gorgeous out! Supposed to stay in the 70s and might not rain--chuckle! I can read on the porch today--tada!! Bye! :):)

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Amazing! Two days and the order arrived from Blue Heron in a tube mailer!
Peach Sap Powder or Peach Glue--rat whisker brush--and the three "fountain" brushes. You can see the clear tube part of the three brushes where the water gets sucked up into the handle. :)
I think Henry said in one of his videos that the rat whisker brush is actually made from rabbit hair? Then the white one is a goat/wolf hair combination brush. Then there's a synthetic and rabbit hair blend. And finally a small wolf hair brush. TaDa!!
You can also buy any of the three separately.
I put the Peach Glue into a small jar. Figured I'd get confused down the road if I wrote "glue"--just might forget what it was for and try to glue something with it--hehe!
Very hot and very humid day all day yesterday. Karma flip-flopped on the new glass table...
...because she has to try out everything new around here, of course.
When she came in her fur felt damp! And the heat exhausted her, of course.
A huge line of bad thunderstorms was heading towards Grand Forks in the early evening. People started sighting tornadoes. They preempted ABC, CBS, and NBC up here for close to three hours--until around 9pm. Six tornadoes were sighted, but I don't think any of them hit the town of Grand Forks? I was flipping about to other channels, but I don't think anybody was hurt? Not positive what the damages were.
Anyways, because of the weather and all three networks covering it at once I didn't get to see the tributes to Michael and Farrah, but I have no doubt that there will be a lot more--about Michael Jackson, at least.
I remember him as a small boy with his brothers. He was so cute! Was turning into a handsome young man--so talented! I never could understand--like most of us--why he hated what he looked like so much that he ended up looking so deformed and bizarre. He was a wounded soul--in many ways.
The storms rolled over us here about midnight as I was going to bed. Listening to the thunder and seeing the lightning flashes light up the bedroom--I chuckled to myself. I get that every night with the thunderstorm on my sound machine and the blue tooth recharging on my headboard--ROFL!!
I do so LOVE thunderstorms!! And the real ones are better! :):)

Friday, June 26, 2009


My new "profile" cards came from http://www.zazzle.com/! I love them!!
Had never done the build your own business cards before and I learned from my mistakes. I knew I needed to pick a format where I could enlarge the print and was able to use bold. These are easier to read--no problem! :):)
I picked a two-sided card. (Blocked out my phone number in the lower right-hand corner since I'm slapping this up on the Internet--hehe!) I wish it was my own artwork...but maybe some day, right? They'll make them from your own photos or artwork, too, I believe. :) I just love them!! :)

And what happened to the other batch that you could barely read...???

Annoyed the heck out of Miss Karma and put them through the shredder! I'll make handmade paper from them--so they won't go totally to waste, I guess. :)

Karma's been enjoying the heat when it isn't raining. Her cat grass has come up and it's been close to 90 lately! Whew! Hot and sticky!
Wednesday I made an order to Blue Heron Arts (http://www.blueheronarts.com/ and http://www.youtube.com/user/blueheronarts).
He sells these water brushes I have never seen before that have real bristles! He shows on one of his YouTube videos how you can fill them like a piston fountain pen. You stick the brush in some water and screw the piston back up to suck the water into the brush handle. Anyways, I'll post pictures when I get them.
I also ordered a rat whisker brush and a packet of the peach powder. You put the powder into the water you use for CBP and it helps keep the strokes from bleeding as much on the rice paper. :):)
That was the last of my stimulus money. I did my part for the economy in small ways, I guess--from a larger papermill to these pretty cards to a rat whisker brush--hehe! :):)

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Okay--you have to laugh! I rolled the cart around and it seemed okay--so I filled it back up and went to push it into its spot...
...and a wheel fell off right away--hehe!
Honestly--I didn't want to deal with it right then--so I pushed it in, leaned it against the dryer, closed the doors, and walked away. After all--it won't go anywhere, right? hehe! I think it is time to confer with my tool girl, Leah. :)
Warning! Been thinking--hehe!
I know poor people are often treated differently in the United States because Dagan and I were on food stamps when he was little. I saw the looks of disgust. I have been evaluated from down the nose of many a soul in my poorer times. My fortunes have gone up & down and up & down from middle class to working class poor to below poverty level to homeless (teenager) in my lifetime. I have been with and around people who loved to wave their actual wads of cash in other people's faces and watch the way most salespeople treat them with deference. I am familiar with different sides of our society.
But I have never been the one treated with deference.
I've been an avid reader and writer since I was about nine. I am extremely nearsighted and need good light to read. All my life one of my fantasy items was to have a really good bright reading lamp with a dimmer. [The other was an antique roll top desk--but I'd have had no place for it most everywhere I've lived and I know the trouble other people have had moving with their roll top desks. Guess that's one of those unanswered prayers in my case, eh? ROFL!]
After dealing with workman's comp for a couple of years and finally finding two jobs I could do to make ends meet. They were in the same senior building and I put in an average total of 113 hours a week. One was in lieu of my apartment rent and the other was having four different positions in the office at once for $8.00 an hour.
Anyways, I was able to buy some decent furniture while I lived there--tada! And I went into a lamp store in Minneapolis to buy my fantasy lamp. The lady clerk halfheartedly asked me if I needed any help. I told her I was looking for a good bright floor lamp for reading. She steered me to their cheapest models, of course--but they didn't fit what I was looking for. When I headed over to the Holtkotter lamps she didn't even follow me. I know the look. She expected me to check the price tag and probably head out the door shortly.
This was about 12 years ago. The lamp was I think $318.00 on sale--marked down from $500 and something. When I asked her if we could turn it on so I could see how bright it was--well! Suddenly her attitude changed--hehe! She was more gracious and helpful and alert--altho still doubtful until I wrote the check--ROFL!! I remember she told me that the German Holtkotter lamps were the Cadillac of lamps. Was probably the most extravagant purchase I've ever made.
Okay--move ahead almost ten years--the glass shield has cracked off, my spare bulb burned out, I've moved to FargoMoorhead area, and have no car. I checked around online back then and found a place in Boston that carried Holtkotter lamps. The lamps had gone up to a little over $700 by then and it would have cost me about $50 with shipping for the glass shield and a bulb! I procrastinate--for over two years--ROFL!! Everything is timing, right?
Times are hard all over. Today--Holtkotter also has a new, more contemporary version (rectangular instead of round lamp shade and longer swing arm) of my pharmacy floor lamp. They run closer to $800 now--but--I can find them on sale everywhere online from $518-649.00. And all their lamps seem to be on sale. Yup--times are hard.
When I showed up at the Drake Loft asking about a glass shield and bulb for my Holtkotter lamp last week--me--I was kind of given the royal treatment. As I told you, she took down my information and called me back. She had called the Holtkotter headquarters about the bulb shield--and she called the other store in town for me, as I said, to find the bulb for me. I thought that was so nice of her! But it hadn't occurred to me yet why she was being so nice.
When I went to pick up the bulb at The Lighthouse--(I'm chuckling already)--well, I told the lady I needed a bulb for my Holtkotter floor lamp and I watched her perk right up! Oh--aren't they the most wonderful lamps, she exclaims in that soft tone I'd heard clerks and salepeople use on the folks I watched throw money around over the years. The lady went on about the quality and workmanship as she looked up the proper bulb for me for my "top of the line" lamp.
Confession. Confession. I wandered over to the Holtkotter lamps I saw across the aisle from the service desk and casually glanced at the pricetag on a floorlamp with two lights ($998.00 on sale) and kind of looked it over like I just might be interested while she rang up my one light bulb for $12.93. How totally silly and shallow of me.
Then I drove over to the Drake Loft to pick up the glass bulb shield--FOR FREE! Yes--the company sent me the replacement shield for nothing. I guess they are being extra nice to people who can afford one of their lamps these days--ROFL!! The lady was soooo nice to me as I picked up the glass shield. They get this certain tone and cadence to their voice that I have heard but never had personally directed towards me--hehe!
Timing is everything. Hard times and I saved over $35.00 getting my lamp up and shining again.
I do not normally get free parts!
I told Dagan the story when he came by and got the mouse going again--and we laughed! If they had all only known that I went without my treasured lamp for over two years because I could barely afford to fix it--and I live in low income housing--etc, etc....ROFL!
It's funny--but it is also sad and unfair that people with money get treated differently in this world--or in this country, at least. Just as people without money are treated differently.
Times are changing, tho. The majority of Americans are one heart attack or accident away from losing everything, as they say.
This morning. I've lived in some form of low income housing or subsidised housing four times in my life--and I have never seen this! I saw two of these big moving trucks pull up yesterday, but they didn't unload. The other was Mayflower, I think. Amazing!
It costs thousands of dollars to hire a moving company to box and move you. I have never, ever seen a family move into low income housing or even the cheaper apartment buildings with a genuine professional moving van and movers! I have rarely even seen anybody use the cheapest of cheap apartment movers little truck like I had to--(because I can't lift and at the time Dagan had his hernia and Leah's asthma is the worst in the cold weather--was February). I especially live in the U-Haul, borrow somebody's truck, make a hundred trips in the hatchback world--hehe!
Jobs are being lost. People who absolutely believed it could never happen to them...have had it happen to them. The old American "if you work hard you will do well" anthem is not being heard so much anymore.
I was the working poor. One accident away from homeless. I did have an accident and then, while trying to claw my way out of my financial hole by going to college, one long slow freefall into a series of chronic health problems--and I landed here. Whew! Avoided being homeless, tho--tada! I am beyond grateful!! :):)
Times they are a changing.
Maybe after all the dust has settled this will be a very good thing in the long run. Things were so crazy and ridiculous with the designer shoes and bags, gold chains, designer pets, Hummers, SUVs, bigger-or-more-is-better mentality. I always thought those materialistic values were dreadful "goals" for people. We've been bombarded with that for decades everywhere we turn. I think it is a good thing for that to change.
I love the fact that now we consistently hear about going green and recycling--about volunteering and helping each other! I am absolutely loving that! About time!! :):):) I think we are headed in the right direction again. May be a rough road for a while--but we can do this! We can change--and be the better for it in the long run.
I believe in us. I believe in humanity. :):)
Think positive and have a great day!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Yesterday was a day for things breaking or not working. This cart (it's upside down, of course) sits between my washer and dryer filled with the washing paraphernalia. I was doing a short load so that I could wash the dish cloths (for ironing the handmade paper) and a sock fell down behind this cart. I had to pull the whole cart out and up over the edge of the carpet...
...and the back wheels broke right off! So I tried to glue them back in and the cart has been sitting like this in the hallway ever since. I sure hope the wheels hold up when I try to fill it up again!
I puttered about and filled the two storage boxes I got on sale at JoAnn's. The black one...
...and the white one. Can't use the cover on this one because it holds the spritzer bottles and such, but that's okay. :)
The other thing that happened right after I finished the blog and was checking emails--the wireless mouse died. Since the other one I was using on the laptop had previously died, I couldn't really access the Internet. (I have the worst time with those little finger pad thingies on the laptops!)
Dagan stopped by after work with an extra mouse. He did the exact same things I had done that he had taught me, right? Turned everything off, unplugged and replugged, etc. But for Dagan--the man with the magic techie touch--it worked again just like that! But he left me the other wireless mouse! So now I have one for the laptop again without moving them back and forth.
He had to take off because they were going to a meeting at 6:30pm for RepowerND. Leah is still sick with the bad cold and cough, poor thing. Dagan wondered if she'd still want to go. Well, they went. I saw them both (in separate close-ups) on the 10pm news on ABC--sitting in the audience in a 30 second spot about the starting up of a local group of www.RepowerAmerica.org. :):) Funny I happened to leave the TV on and didn't change the channel. I don't often watch the actual news program. I get the weather online a lot. I'll have to let them know I saw them--hehe!
80s yesterday--so Miss Karma spent most of the day on the porch soaking up the heat.
She was only inside in the late morning-early afternoon as a storm rolled thru and dropped some more rain upon us.
I think she was overly glad to see the sun and feel that summer has arrived and settled in.
I was in the apartment with the AC on. :):)
I guess I'll see if the wheels on the cart hold up today. ?? :):)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Good Morning!
Busy day yesterday. I drove up to The Lighthouse and picked up a bulb for my floor lamp--picked up the shade at the other store on 13th--stopped at JoAnn's--and finally at Bed, Bath & Beyond.
At BB&B I picked up a small glass-topped table for the porch.
At JoAnn's I got a couple of storage boxes for $1.99 each and a corner punch for 40% off.
BB&B--flour sack towels for ironing paper, some boring pants hangers...
...and a tub that will work for the new larger papermill. I know it is too larger and won't fit in the sink, but it will work until we find something closer to the perfect size. I can always use it for something else--and if we don't find anything better--this will work, at least.
Here are the lamb shield and the bulb.
Karma and I had to rest up for a few hours after my two-hour shopping trip--hehe!
Then I figured out how to install the bulb and shield--tada! Cleaned and rearranged both the end tables. Wow! All that room now!
I wasn't used to being able to see the surface of this table anymore--hehe!
Now I can keep all my "stuff" mostly on this one--near at hand. :)
I was lucky it didn't rain while I was out and about. We even have the Red River 10 feet above flood stage again--third time this year we're dealing with flooding! Not as high, but still--good grief! They had on the news last night that a Fargo golf course was just now able to open holes 11-18. That is how much rain we've had. Water sits on our lawn here with the grass peeking out of the top of the puddles in places--and we're expecting scattered thunderstorms again this afternoon. Wish we could send some of this rain to the places that are so dry!
Going to be very quiet around here today, I can assure you--hehe!
Hope you have a great day!

Monday, June 22, 2009


When we are done playing--or I am done playing--if I leave the toy hidden Karma will wait for some time for it to move. Sometimes she will doze off--waiting--hehe!
Eventually she will pull it out by the string with her teeth--after she thinks it is definitely dead, I guess.
My penchant for talking to inanimate objects encourages her to believe other things in the apartment are alive--ROFL!! Well, the plants really are--hehe!

I have talked to "everything" since I was a small child. Always felt everything has its own energy or vibration or whatever you want to call it. No surprise to anybody who knew me that I named my cars--hehe!

Karma hears me tell the buzzing dryer or the dinging microwave--I'm coming! I'm coming! Just a second! Or sees me stroke a ragged collar on a favorite old t-shirt and hears me sympathise with its getting old. Pleading with a disposable pen not to run out of ink just yet or asking my fountain pen if it's empty. Questioning delectables in the oven if they are done. I pat machines and give them encouragement if they are faltering. Tell the computer I am going to shut it down so it can rest and heal itself (and it often does). Admire a pretty paper I have just chosen for a card--You are just perfect! I have even been known to apologize to eyelets and such before I pound them with hammers--ROFL!!

Naturally--I talk all the time to Miss Karma. :):) I try not to talk to "things" in front of strangers who don't know me--but it does slip out on the rare occasion--hehe! And now you are all privy to a lesser known fact about me.

So this is why Karma lives in a magical world where she never knows if something just might move on its own. I have found that most of my cats are ardent fans of magical thinking. I'd add my dogs, too--but dogs will eagerly believe just about anything--hehe!

And I just said--Okay! Okay!-- to my timer. ROFL!!! Bye! :):)

Sunday, June 21, 2009


My free bottle of WN medium for watercolors arrived yesterday! For buying the watercolor set of tubes I got to pick a free medium. I thought I'd try Iridescent and add some sparkle to my watercolors one day. I've already heard that you should use separate brushes because you never get all the sparkle out of them--hehe! Heard that discussed in the Everyday Matters group. Oh--the things you can learn online, eh? :)
The last picture went into my recycling bin. Started a new one--and cleaned off the palette--hehe!
At the end of my session yesterday I switched over to Chinese brushes. I'd been using western watercolor brushes on these because they are drawn on western watercolor paper. Since I recently switched over to the Chinese watercolors, I guess I certainly could use the Chinese brushes--duh!
I know using western watercolor paper isn't teaching me how the Chinese brush and rice paper work and dance together--but it still gives me some experience with the brushes. They really do seem to hold more liquid in the belly of the brush. I am learning how to drain some of that liquid from the body of the brush by touching it on a paper towel first--and about reloading the tip. Hints I have learned in the CBP group and on YouTube videos. Interesting and challenging for me. :)

I'm honestly less concerned with if the paintings turn out right now than in learning about the paint and the brushes. I took a 140 lb. watercolor tablet I bought on sale and filled it with tracings of these pictures I found on the web. Very cheap way to learn on my own, right? Back when I traced all of these I had very limited experience with western watercolors, had no Chinese brush painting supplies, and had not found the CBP group on Yahoo or even YouTube, for that matter. I just figured if I kept trying over and over again--even if they all ended up in my recycle bin (for making handmade paper) I would have learned something by the time I was done, right? If any of them turned out decently (a few already have!)--more the better, right?

That was my plan and I'm sticking to it--ROFL!!

Don't worry that it bothers me one iota to put most of these paintings in the recycle bin. I am delighted and amazed when they don't end up there--hehe! I have not put any expectations onto myself--my abilities or my personal learning curve.

I used to stress over the perfection of each project--so this is an exceptionally freeing experience for me. A wonderful lesson for my soul! And I have barely touched my toe in the water when it comes to the spontaneous style of Chinese brush painting. Whew! Talk about loosening me up!!

Baby steps. Baby steps. :):)

No rain yesterday! But very hot--mid 80's I saw once. (Didn't watch the weather on the news.) I was painting inside with the AC on--hehe! Watched The Golden Compass movie again. Puttered about and played with Karma.

One of the things I do--fling her string toy under the dresser--snug up the string--and don't move. She comes and sits there--waiting and twitching most expectantly. Occasionally I tug it forward like a quarter of an inch or even just tighten the string up--just to watch her entire body jerk forward and back at that same moment. Silly--I know. Makes me laugh.
And endlessly fascinates Miss Karma. Talk about cheap entertainment, eh? ROFL!!

Today--laundry. :):)

Saturday, June 20, 2009


It was windy enough that the carpeting had dried out between rainfalls--so Miss Karma enjoyed the heat all afternoon.
I went out to the garage to see what I had for plain frames. What I would like is a frame and mat like the one on the right for Sibylla's goldfish, but that one was too small.
I found a plain white wooden frame. The cream colored mat is all wrong, but it gives you an idea of what it could look like framed.
Karma snoozed.
In the evening I finally set up the folding table to paint again. Karma almost fell asleep waiting for me to kick her out of the chair. All that heat wears a cat out, eh? ROFL!
I got this far and quit. This one is definitely not a keeper, but it got me back in the swing of things a little. I am dreadfully out of practice. May take me a few paintings to get back to where I was--hehe!
I made these up in the first place just to give me practice. I'm always shocked if one turns out halfway decent--hehe! (Less than half of them have been presentable--but I think those are pretty good odds for me.)
I have been playing around using western brushes. Just switched over to Chinese brushes last night--which presents a whole new challenge. And these pictures are all on western watercolor paper, too. I know! I know! I need to finish these or skip some and move on to the rice paper. Hey! One small step at a time for the rookie painter--hehe! :)
I'm really having fun and enjoying myself. Even when I ruin them--hehe! :):)
Happy Saturday!!