Monday, January 25, 2021

January 25, 2021 Monday--12:45pm

Good afternoon.  

Lots of pics and subjects this week so grab a cup of coffee or tea and we'll settle in for another chronological chat.

Blogger is making the paragraph spaces for me today so I have no control, just so you know.  I have a hard enough time getting center alignment so I'll let Blogger win that round.  ;)

The partridges are around often since we've had snow and freezing cold.

Annie keeps and eye on the Critter Cafe.
We still see the lone partridge.
But I was thrilled to see my first jackrabbit this year in the daylight!!
There's been a few of them coming in the dark now but this was the first one who came boldly in the late afternoon.  :)
Been too long since I have seen a picture like this!  I love to see the jackrabbit, partridges and sparrows all sharing the food.
I get so excited!  My heart soars!  
I'm like a little kid, I know.
We had the Inauguration and Celebrate America on Wednesday.  I could physically feel the relief.  Cried .hopeful tears.
On Thursday our latest quarantine ended and Leah came over that night.  I didn't get a before picture but my two plants were not doing so well.  Phil had sent (more than I had thought) tendrils behind the bookcase and Spider was dropping babies down in front of my desk so I couldn't get into spaces very easily.  They both had a lot of dead leaves.
They got hauled down to the kitchen table to be pruned.  Phil was chopped up into pieces.
I ended up with three plants in the end.
Spider got moved down to the top of Ian's bookcase by the window so she can make as many babies as she wants.
Phil is smaller but in the same center spot.
Random cuttings have been placed in a rectangular pot to see if they will survive to be plant number three.
Leah also took a bunch of Phil cuttings to a friend of hers, too.
Leah was talking to Dagan on the phone to help set up something called Plex on my TV.  They got an antenna that will pick up broadcast TV (so Dagan could watch football).  It is not aimed to pick up PBS but after football season Dagan said he would fiddle with it to see if he can get PBS and still keep the other stations.  Right now it is working for his playoff games so he's not touching it--LOL!
But I can now get the regular channels (ABC, CBS, NBC) and a flurry of strange stuff I have never seen before.  I shall have to investigate.
My letter rack by the door's hooks have been getting rather overcrowded...and I will need space for another mask, too.  
So we went through 3M hooks and I now have a hook for the mask holder and a hook for the glasses holders near the light switch...
...and two hooks on the back of the door for masks.  Leah has more masks coming.
Depending on where I am going I will have one for around the ears and another one with the behind the neck and head straps.
We had snow all day on Saturday.  Leah said the boys are finally old enough to play in the yard by themselves for a while.
As soon as it starts snowing...
...the cafe becomes very busy.
Annie didn't care.  Leah had dug out a pile of cat toys from under the furniture when she was here and Annie just laid around on them all day.
I kept going on the Wanderlust classes.
The next step on the first class was to smear around acrylic paint and make marks in it.
I'm trying to use things I have never or rarely used so I grabbed this.  
I think it was from the hardware store for tiling--lol!
I added some more gesso and glued on the focal piece.
No surprise.  You're going to see Self-Care a lot this year, I think--LOL!  I need the reminders.
I did add some graphite pencil and smear it around the words to try to make them stand out a little bit but I don't know if you can tell.  I am not very bold yet, that's for sure.
But I finally finished the first class.  Told you I'd be slow--LOL!
Then in the AP journal (Advent Prompts bonus class) it was supposed to be about going for a walk.  Well, I used three skeletal leaf stamps and wrote all over the page in black ink about how with the ice and snow we had I wasn't going out for a walk--hehe!  But then I decided to try something else new...
Color Burst watercolor powders.
I wet the page and poofed the powders on.  OMG!  They are wild and took over the whole page with their intense color...but I love them.  I just have to learn how to tap small bits at a time--ROFL!  I got blue dust up my nose!
But at least I have been busy in the studio--often!  (Lots of drying time.)  I am having such fun!
I called Mom.  She was so tired she didn't seem to be able to stay awake on the phone.  But she said she didn't have any pain...was happy Trump was gone--LOL!  They were giving her morphine to make it easier for her to breathe calmly.  Not doing well.  I guess they were talking about moving her to the nursing home section last week.  But she was still in her apartment and up in her chair.  We didn't talk long.  She was pretty out of it and just wanted to nap.  I love you--bye bye.
Then yesterday was a visit to McFamily's before we are in quarantine again for two weeks (Leah's making a Costco trip on Friday).  Dagan watched some football with Liam.  
I asked Ian for a picture--LOL!
Around maybe 3:30 I noticed I had a missed call from my brother.
Mom died at about 1pm.
They were coming to get her so he had to go and we didn't talk long.
Not a surprise, of course.  
But it still jolts you.
This is the last picture I have of her from a couple years ago with one of her great grandchildren (Sophie).
I'm glad she didn't have to be moved and was able to die at home.  Since covid isolation she has been fairly miserable.  She couldn't see well anymore or hear well, either--so she couldn't even really watch much TV.  When covid hit and there was no more going to church on Sunday or visits from family or going out to eat or going off to visit was really hard for her.  She didn't like being alone.  Her health deteriorated.  They kept her comfortable and she wasn't in pain.
I love you.  Bye bye.
I didn't expect those to be my last words to her.  
But they were good ones.
I'm sure I'll hear eventually how everything went down and all that...but Mom is truly better off now.  She would have been 92 end of next month.  
So we talked to Ian and Liam about great grandma dying and who she was.  Even Ian is still at the age where it is hard for him to imagine I am his Daddy's Mama.  Funny, I was over at their place when I got the news that my dad had died in the car crash and Mom was in the hospital.  Ian wasn't walking yet.  Dad was 94.  
Ian's job is to clear the table off and wipe it down for dinner.
We had dinner.  Oh, and I did jig saw puzzles with the boys in the afternoon.  Dagan gave me a ride home.  Annie was glad to see me.
I have some pictures from Leah of the boys playing together.
Was in December--tree was up.
They are always building something or other.
Ian lost his other bottom tooth and got a golden coin from the Tooth Fairy.
Liam...enjoys chocolate--LOL!
And after all that...I get up today and there's an email from Winning Writers telling me that they are posting Baby Girl on their Winning Writers Instagram as a past winner here.
Now isn't that a nice surprise?  That was in 2009.  The highlight of my "writing career"--LOL!  I'd been published in a few literary magazines and won a couple contests...but that was the biggest contest...national...with prize money!  I even got interviewed by the local paper.  What a shock!  Nice memories.  I needed unexpected pleasant news today.
So...that's the week's adventures and travels and events.  I hope you are all doing well.  Be sure and tell the people you care about what they mean to you.  Till next week...virtual hugs.  :)
"Be patient with yourself.  Self-growth is tender; it's holy ground.  There's no greater investment."
Stephen Covey

Monday, January 18, 2021

January 18, 2021 Monday-2pm

Good afternoon!

This spot has become my peaceful sanctuary.  No news allowed.  Quiet.  And now even less stressful--LOL!

My plan to use the fancy Fabriano 10 X 10 inch art journal...

...worked well with the mandala.  No problem.

But that's because it was the perfect shape and I have done a lot of zendalas so wasn't too intimidated.  But staring at the next blank page...just couldn't get going.  Plus not sure how well that particular paper would hold up with mixed media and collage and all of that.  

Then I remembered when I lived in West Winds (in 2012-2013 maybe?) that I had some other hand-made art journals I used when I was attempting to learn mixed media through some free online classes.  I remembered I never liked the journals.  Had used some student grade watercolor paper from Dick Blick that was very thin--buckled and bled through.  Had to gesso each page before I could use it.  One of the journals was made with a different brand of student grade watercolor paper I haven't tried yet, but I couldn't remember which one.

Well, I unearthed them.  This one is the one I am using right now for the Wanderlust classes.

I have another (empty) one the same size in blue.
You can see the size of these compared to the tiny one I am using for the Advent Prompts Journal.
Funny, I wasn't intimidated when it was a very small blank page--LOL!

Then there's this even larger (empty) purple one.

Now those are some intimidating blank pages!
Could be that the purple one has the other student grade watercolor paper, but they all feel thin and similar.  I thought I had made another of the largest size but I can't find it.  I KNOW I never used it--LOL!  I might have given it away...or I'll run across it in the studio at some point.

Anyways, I worked some more on the Advent Prompts journal.  Did add something else to the childhood book page!  I remembered I recently received some collage goodies from a new pen pal, Chris, a blogger in the UK over at PearShapedCrafting.  She knows how much I get a kick out of the silly-goofy people and critter stamps so she sent me some all colored and cut out (plus some other little bits of ephemera I have been using in college)!  I figured that AP journal page could use a Jane and a Spot--ROFL!  Perfect!

On the other side (usually go in consecutive order but forgot to check how many pages this little journal had--LOL!)...all she said was write "allow" in the center of the page and do whatever you wanted.  I know--I don't have much imagination and fell back on watercolor blobs.  Oh well.
In the kind of rose-magenta journal I have about a dozen pages left to use up.
I don't like most of what was in here, but I did like the mark-making class!  In fact, I think I printed copies of these and cut them up to make card fronts out of them years ago.  I have used mark-making for creating wrapping paper with Ian many times.  It is such fun!
I also loved the blowing ink around on the page with a straw.
I liked making the homemade washi tape (around the outside edges of these two pages) from masking tape.  I am not very good with the rest of it--stenciling and such--but this was at least a better page spread.  Real feather.  I think the class was maybe something about going on a walk?
Anywho...I finally started the first actual Wanderlust class.  Took me long enough, eh?  She had us scribble wildly all over the page with graphite pencils.  (Forgot to get a picture and it's all covered up by the time I took this shot below.)  Then we were to use matte medium to add collage paper.  I had a free page printed off of affirmation circles...(self-care for 2021, right?) I glued them all over the place.  Used a piece of blue pretty painted paper from Chris, too. 
After that dried she said to take black paint and do some stenciling.  But I first coated the page with a thin layer of white gesso to calm it down--remembering that from videos.  It worked--LOL!
And that is as far as I have gotten.  I have a few more steps to do, but I am in it now!!  The secret for me--starting in a journal I don't give a rat's behind about--LOL!  No problem at all diving in.  TaDa!

We had a very tiny bit of snow yesterday and it has been snowing lightly today, too.

Just enough to clean up the earth a bit.  ;)
I had two packages say they were delivered on Wednesday but they weren't here.  All I could find on Amazon was being told to search around and wait a couple days.  Has anyone else had this happen?  I can't find any way to actually contact customer service at Amazon.  I'm going to try to call my local post office tomorrow after the holiday, but this doesn't look like it is going to be easy to fix.  Anybody have any experience with packages that have disappeared somehow?
Leah delivered a small Cashwise grocery order on Friday.  There was ice under crusty sleet-like snow and Leah walked chicken livers to my garage freezer for me (for Annie's food).  She insisted--didn't want me walking out there--too slippery.  Leah is the kindest, most thoughtful woman.  :)  
My life is filled with blessings!
Oh--was delighted to see rabbit poop on the patio!  I startled a lone jackrabbit around midnight a couple of nights.  Could only get a glimpse--they are fast.  Haven't seen one here for so long!  McFamily still has them in the field in back of their house and I have seen them there, but not here.  This one must be too scared to come until late into the night.  I'll make sure there's some food out there after dark.  ;)
Speaking of rabbits--lol!  I confess to being down the news rabbit hole part of every day.  Hopefully things will change for the better pretty soon.  But in the meantime, I am so glad to have the Wanderlust classes and bonus materials to fill my studio with peaceful hours.  So glad.  Probably the smartest thing I have done in a while--ROFL!  
I find the doing a little and leaving it to dry works great for me.  I can be in and out of there 1-3 times a day on good days.  Eventually I do plan to listen to audio books or be watching the art videos while I work...but for right now I have just wanted the silence.  It's quite heavenly.
The big covey of partridges is here.  I need to put out more seed before it gets dark...and make sure there's enough left over for the jackrabbit.  ;)  Till next week.  May this be a new start.  Feels like one.  Might be a very slow start, but a new start, nonetheless.  I am a slow starter, myself--LOL!  Take care and stay well.  :)
"An empty lantern provides no light.  Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly."