Monday, January 31, 2011
A lovely BLUE orchid! I had the Orchid Open-House on my calendar for over a month now which was going to be at the Atlantic Avenue Orchid and Garden Center. And much to my surprise when I got my reminder email, they had a picture of this wonderful, unique blue orchid. I was in love. I have been wanting a bright red one, but this one took over.
I had my day all planned out (based on the fact my scratching had subsided from my allergic reaction to Glade fabric freshener.) Got there early and went into their orchid house and these were the views.
and this…. and still more of this….
and yet more….
And after a winter of colder than normal temperatures, the day was beautiful outside as well as in. I was really pleased with the seminars. They were quick and resourceful. They had a great little buffet set up (hey, it’s about the food too!). Signed up for their drawing and have all my fingers and toes crossed in anticipation. I have already put on my calendar to keep an eye out for April when they have more classes on orchids.
This garden center, at least the orchid/tropical plant section, is really nice. The people there are all so down to earth and friendly and ready to help and answer questions. Even in the madness they were smiling and laughing and having a great time. Places like this make it worth while to get out and shop local.
Enjoy a few of the stars of the show…….
Now when I look at my pile of schoolwork…..
it doesn’t matter if I’m blue.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Well, I’m still hanging in there and still ‘creating’. The everyday thing is sometimes tough. This week has been bad because I have been a scratching or knock-out thing due to something I got into. But I did do them all and am looking forward to February’s prompt. Of course, I still have to get past the last couple of days of this month and I saved my toughest “highly prized” items until last. But boy has it been fun. I can feel myself getting just a little more comfortable with every thing I do.
January 22 – Trees – I love trees. All kinds of trees. Trees in the summer, in the winter, colorful fall trees, trees fuzzy in spring. I love the texture of the bark and shape of the leaves. I love the sound of the wind in the trees. I love the fruit and nuts from trees. I love trees!
sun coming through the window. Actually, I love being up before the sun comes up and watching the day get started. I am lucky in that my desk is by an east facing window, so I get the sun coming in and lighting up my little table by my desk where I put my books and coffee and plant.
January 24 – If there can be comfort food, then there has to be comfort clothes. Those clothes which you can put on and all the cares drop away. It doesn’t matter that they are unfashionable, baggy, misshapen. Unfortunately, a couple of my sweaters have been taken over by Savvy for the same reason. And how can you argue when big hazel eyes look at you and go “but they smell like you” with a little pout.
picking out fresh produce, lugging it back home. I fix jams and jellies in the spring and summer from the fruits. I adore fresh tomatoes. But just to go out and savor the variety it amazing. Luckily, we are also in a very forward looking area and so many of the farmers are turning to specialty vegetables and more organics. You can beat what we have here. Except for the little containers I might manage to grow in my yard.
January 26 – Transportation – Yes, I know I should be relying on my feet more, but the luxury we have to being able to get just about anywhere at anytime is amazing. I can get to school, to work, to the art stores, meet with friends. I do try and plan my outings so that I don’t just have idle driving, but I love the ability we have to get around these days.
January 27 – Cards and Letters – I love cardsand letters. Of course, in order to get cards and letters you need to send cards and letters, but I am trying to be better. I joined postcrossing.com just so I can get postcards from all over the world.
January 28 – Birds – If you love trees, I guess you have to love birds. Big birds, little birds, chirpy birds, colorful birds, birds that hide in the leaves and scare the heck out of me as I walk by. I am lucky enough to be by some water where there are several gray herons.
So beyond the things I prize, I am enjoying watching my abilities with watercolors and using some different techniques. Also, and I plan on taking a picture of it for next week, is how the sketchbook is looking. It’s all poofing out with the pages I have already done. I am so excited, I have 28 completed sketches! Only 337 more to go.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Ok, I will admit it, I can, without any effort, fall into the “loser”, “geek”, “hopeless” category. But that is just because of some of my guilty little pleasures, which I have been indulging in while not feeling up to par. I’m sick, ok! Humor me a little. Like right now, as I write this posting, I have a Yanni concert running on Netflix in the background. When I am studying or reading, I usually have something for a little background noise going.
But this is my biggest guilty pleasure in a long time and Savvy just shook her head and sighed and walked off when I showed her my proud purchase. YES, FOR ONLY 4.99! At Borders (and I got 10% off that because I am a premier member with them.) 16…count them 16…movies in one package!
Sixteen movies with men with enormous oiled pecs in little skirts running around with big swords. How can you not like that? I remember Saturday afternoons growing up plopping my butt down on the couch to watch these movies. And they served it up for me in one collection. The question now is exactly how much reading, writing, homework and artwork I will get done. Best yet, it keeps the girls in their rooms for fear they might have to watch them. Hehehehehehe – evil mom laugh.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
There is a really great site I love to keep track of…lots of inspiration from this lady….daisy yellow. How can you not like something that cherry. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago she started a check up on her 2010 reads. This got me curious about my own amount of reading, especially since I have a stack of books which need to be read and I’m sitting here at the computer. I did manage to log most of my reads, but not all, so I feel pretty confident this is not an overage of my book reading count.
- What is on your reading list for 2011? Check out my goodreads account. There are a ton of books on hand to read.
- What was the best fiction book you read in 2010? The Girl Who…. trilogy by Stieg Larsson
- What book was the biggest let down in 2010? Really can’t remember. I try to put them behind me if I don’t like them.
- Do you remember the first short story you wrote as a kid? What was it about? Don’t remember. I do have a poem I wrote about the lark and a picture I drew of mice – with really long legs.
- Do you keep track of the books you read? I try to. Am tracking most of them on goodreads.
- How many books are on your TO READ list? 171
- Where is your favorite reading spot? in bed
- How many books (fiction + non-fiction) did you read in 2010? 74
- Do you read more than one book at once? Oh, my yes. I have 3 by my bed now. And one in my work bag and another in the card.
- Do you read more fiction or non-fiction? Probably more fiction, but I do like non-fiction, especially those where people are relating their year in the life of stories, whether they be cooking, traveling, gardening.
And the worse part of all this book addiction is that I have volunteered for my county library book sale just so I can get in an hour early on the last day to get a head start on the $5 a box sale. That’s so sad. My goal this year is to go back and pick up a lot of the classics. I am finding I am going back and reading a lot of them now since I am hooked on the parodies which are coming out now. And until I get my Kindle (hey little Kindle fairy!) I need the real thing to lug around.
Well, better get off the computer and back to the books!
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Boy, oh, boy, it was tough a couple of days getting my sketch. In fact, I will admit some days I do two. But I do have a sketch for every day thus far, so I have complete 21 sketches. Supposedly, one theory is that if you perform a routine for 21 days in a row it becomes habit. Well, we are getting there. I am already impatient to know what next month’s theme is going to be.
January 15 – Friends…..
are highly prized. I made the letters a little tree-like because (1) I like trees and (2) I need to be more ‘rooted’ in my friends. I find it very had to ask for help and am surprised I have the number of people who care and are concerned about my well-being.
January 16 – Books…
are loved and treasured here in my household. I can’t think of anything I would miss (in a material sense) than books if I had to lose something. I like the feel, the smell, the stories, the possibilities of books.
January 17 – Scents….
are important to me. I like fragrant things. I almost always have incense or candles going in the house. When planting flowers, I want fragrant to be one of the first descriptive terms. What I really like about this picture is the watercolor on the nose. I was really pleased with how that turned out. I might be getting use to using watercolors. That, and I find myself creating the same lettering and am thinking of it as ‘my’ lettering now.
January 18 – Fibers!
My first ‘love’ in any kind of art form was needlework. I love the colors and the textures of threads – cotton, wool, silk. Then I got involved with knitting and crocheting. Tons of choices in textures and sizes and uses of fibers with those handcrafts.
January 19 – Naps
I am not really pleased with the design and how it turned out. But I LOVE naps. To me, naps are wasted on the young. You need to be older to appreciate the opportunity to lay down, put your feet up after a long day/week at work and enjoy 20-30 minutes of down time. Love me some napping!
January 20 – Rainy Days
Actually, rainy days and napping need to be combined. There is nothing better than napping on a rainy day, listening to the rain on the windows and roof. There ought to be a law making it mandatory to take a nap on a rainy day.
January 21 – Night Skies
Once again, I like the way my watercolors are turning out – especially since I am completely self-taught with regards to this medium. But to go out, on a moonlit night and to be able to stand and watch the sky. I am fortunate enough to live in an area with trees. To see the moon peeking in and out of the tops of the trees is out of this world. One of these days I want to get good enough and a camera good enough so that I can take pictures of the night.
So another week has passed. I got this posted. My goal is to make it “Sketchbook Saturday” through the end of this challenge. One can only keep their fingers crossed. And I already have today’s sketch done, which I am proud of. But no one gets to see it until next week.
Monday, January 17, 2011
With my vacation drawing to a close, and a trip to the grocery store to stock up, I prepared ‘Sunday Night Dinner’.
Pork roast was on sale. I brought one home and cut in in half because it was too much for just the 3 of us, even wanting leftovers for next week. I was going to cook it, dredging it in flour, and browning in oil before roasting. However, I decided to take a different tack and doing a herb-crusted pork roast. However, I couldn’t go all the way without a little extra fat…..
I put a strip of bacon on top. While it was sitting with it’s little herb crust, I also made some baked apples. Brown sugar and some nutmeg (Texter can’t do cinnamon.)
I did miss the gravy. The roast was good and flavorful, but there is something about that ‘browned-in-Crisco’ and gravy made from the drippings which I really, really missed. But the meat was really tender, so there will be sandwiches and leftovers for lunch for work and dinner this week. Poor rice – it would have looked so much better with gravy.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Two weeks have passed in the challenge and I am managing to still keep up. I do have to confess some days I do 2 sketches or sketch and finish one and just draw one. But they are getting done and I am pleased with what I have been producing. I told myself right from the start they are going to have to be quick and easy sketches as most of the time I will be doing them at work. So there is very little really detailed work, but I think I am trying just to get more comfortable with ‘my style’ and the different materials I can work with.
Picture 1 – Laugh – What is the world without laughter? I can’t imagine not laughing with my friends and family. This I sketched and then went back with watercolors. I am not good with watercolors, but I am slowly learning what I can and can’t do with them.
Picture 2 – Write – I enjoy writing and the ability to write anything and everything I want, without fear (just my own internal critic), is priceless. Of course, I am not saying it is any good, but at least I can write. I layered the background with strips of an old book and a copy of some handwriting from one of my old journal pages. I inked over it with stamp pads and used my Prisma wide point to write the word ‘write’ and then outlined with Sharpie.
Picture 3 – Art – Without art, or all kinds, the world would be a dull place. But the ability for a person to express themselves, in a variety of forms is fantastic. I know when I do one of these little sketches, I feel really relaxed and good. I inked with stamp pads the background and then wrote over it with Sharpies. “Art” is one with oil pastels. I recently learned I could smudge them, so I am still learning with them.
Picture 4 – Music – Well, Savvy and Texter would be beside themselves if they didn’t have their music. And fact you can listen to different types of music depending on your mood. Love me some Pandora online! I tore strips of a sheet of old music and layered the background and them inked over it with stamp pads. Music is written with oil pastel crayon and smudged a little.
Picture 5 – Computers – The first thing which comes to mind is the internet. For without the internet, this challenge would not even exist. I know there are people who say we have become too dependent on computers, but they are a fantastic place to be. You can create (digital photography is amazing), communicate, learn….the things you can do with this tool is countless. Don’t think I could make it without my computer now. This was sketched in mechanical pencil and then outlined in Sharpie and water colored in.
Picture 6 – Pens and Pencils – Having said I depend upon my computer, at the same time I am a great believer in writing with pens and pencils. I love me some writing implements – if I can keep them away from Texter. She is a pen hound! But the joy in picking up my fountain pen and hearing the scratch on paper it makes, that gives me chills of delight. Once again, I sketched in pencil and then water colored the sketch.
Picture 7 – Walking – I don’t do it enough, but I enjoy walking. Just opening the door and walking. I prefer it without the dog as she thinks walking time is the time she needs to sniff and smell everything, so my walks become a little choppy. I like getting the camera and getting away in nature and taking pictures while I walk. Just me, alone and quiet. It is so restorative. Sketched in pencil and colored in with Sharpie and Prisma pens.
So there are my highly prized things for this week. As I said, I am pleased with the outcome of them and look forward to next week.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Here is the newest addition to my orchid family.
For some reason I feel it is a ‘he’. The purple is actually darker than the picture shows. One of the things I like about this particular orchid is he is petite (size doesn’t matter), dark purple and if you will notice on the lip, how it is ringed in white. I love that. There is an iris, called ‘Batik’ which reminds me of this orchid. I think I got interested in orchids because I love iris so much and they look so much like orchids. I always thought of iris as orchids for us ‘poor folk’.
I like the fact that these orchids come in clusters like they do. So delicate looking and yet so hardy. After all, if I can grow them anyone can. The orchids have fulfilled their purpose this winter by supplying me with a view inside my house which inspires tranquility and beauty. In other words, they do make me overlook the fact I need to sweep up dog and cat hair – yet again.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Actually I have been so busy doing the things I want to do this year, I have forgotten to post about my word for the year…..
I see this year as a year to renew and redo my body, my spirit, my goals, myself. I have a ton of English classes this semester at school – basically to reinforce my desire to write (and hopefully write well). I want to whittle down the tummy and stress. I want to eat better (and less). Walk more, cycle more, “do” more.
Monday, January 10, 2011
I am officially out of control. While on vacation I have gotten to do some reading. The only problem with this is that with time to read and surf the web I have a list of books I want to read which would fill a good-sized bookstore.
If you will notice I have fiction, nonfiction, romance, science fiction all mixed in together. I am not just reading one type of books, but any and everything that takes my fancy. And the library is an enabler. Our local library allows me to request books online and they email me when they have them ready for me. I go in and pull them off the shelf. Of course, that is after I have made a pass through the new book shelves to be sure there isn’t anything else I need.
I have a notebook quickly filling up with books to read which I either haven’t checked to see if the library has or if it doesn’t, books I want to find somewhere else. I am a little miffed that my library system does not seem to acquire “art” books – those geared toward art journaling and the like. Of well, guess I will have to hope the gift fairy brings me an Amazon gift certificate.
I have started sitting down with something to write with when reading (except for romances) to take notes of other authors, sites, words I need to look up. Problem there is that leads to wanting even more books. So I had better get busy reading – who cares about housework! Oh, I forgot the couple of books I checked out for myself which Savvy is reading first.
Saturday, January 08, 2011
Ok, I have made it through week one of the Sketchbook Challenge and think I have done quite well. I am pleased with my efforts thus far. The theme for this month is “Highly Prized”. Since once I go back to work my sketching will be done between calls there, I went ahead and listed 31 highly prized things so I wouldn’t have to actually think about my theme for that day’s sketch. I then attached it to the front of my book where January’s sketches start. So far that has been a great asset. I can flip to the front of the book and see what my sketching theme is for the day and proceed from there.
Day 1 was actually using the idea of 1/1/11. The first day of the year is always a chance to start afresh. And I liked the symmetry of 1-1-11. Used a little doodling to add some addition interest. I used Prismacolor markers for the color and my Sharpies for the outlining and doodling.
Day 2 I didn’t really have a lot of time and didn’t color it in. Which is ok. Makes it a little different I think. More of a sketch. But it is “study”. I am glad I can go back to school and study what I want to study.
Day 3 was a really fun day. This is my “sunrise”. If you look you can see 3 ‘suns’ rising upward. I love sunrises, especially really colorful ones. They make you so optimistic for the day. They were drawn in pencil, then outlined and doodled in Sharpie and colored in with a set of Faber-Castell pencils. I took the pencils from Savvy as she wasn’t using them.
Day 4 is “nature”. I love being in touch with nature, whether by having plants indoors or a walk outside. Once again, sketched in pencil, outlined and doodled in Sharpie and colored in with pencils.
Day 5 is “food”. Looking at me you would see I haven’t missed a meal. And I am learning to appreciate food more. Not only that I have a ton of it available to me, to to learn to savor and watch what I am eating more. Unfortunately, from school and work I have the habit of bolting down my meals at lightning speed. I want to be more mindful and appreciate each meal I have.
Day 6 is “pets”. I love them all, despite at times they are a big pain in the ass. I can’t make my bed all neatly and tidily. Why? Because Noel will get on it during the day and push the covers around to her satisfaction and form a nest in for the day. She can lay at the end of the bed and look out the window for monsters trying to come near the house. Blaze and Carroll are my kitties born behind my bed. We have had them for about 13 years now and they are definitely a member of the family. I won’t discuss their girth and personality….both of which are large!
Day 7 is “coffee”. The figure in the middle of the coffee cup was contributed by Savvy as we were waiting for the bookstore to open yesterday. Love my coffee. I like that first sip of hot, sweet, milky coffee. Unfortunately, I guess, I have never grown out of the habit of a lot of cream and sugar in my coffee – the way my grandparents first made it for me when I was little. But early in the mornings, when the house is still quiet and the day hasn’t become crazy yet, coffee and a little writing and surfing on the internet are great. Then on days I work, it provides a nice ‘sweetness’ to my morning of hectic scurrying to get to school/work and answering phone calls. I also enjoy those days I can go to the bookstore, get my coffee and look through magazines and books for ideas and inspiration and unwinding.
So that is my first week of sketching. Day 8 is already in the ‘book’ so to speak. I pulled out my little watercolor set to start using more watercolors rather than pencils for adding color and texture to the pictures. You can wait until next week or check it out on my Flickr images to the right.
Friday, January 07, 2011
While flipping through cooking magazines at the start of the holidays, Texter pointed out a recipe she thought she could live with (and I don’t know which one it was in-sorry). It was for a quick, and yes, nutritious snack. Looking at the ingredients, I calculated Savvy would enjoy also.
Just four little ingredients, it has become a superstar hit with Savvy. The ingredients are graham cracker, nutella, banana and toasted coconut. As it happens, Savvy wanted a coconut cake for her birthday, so I had extra toasted coconut on hand. Boy, is it good. Just enough for a couple to hit the stop for something sweet. Problem is, Savvy wants to make it a meal!
We have become, over the past couple of years, fans of nutella. I just used it (and didn’t take pictures), in the non-cinnamon rolls I started making. Oh, my goodness, were they great. Now I found out there is a Nutella Day! Guess I had better start getting busy on trying out some more recipes calling for this yummy spread.
Thursday, January 06, 2011
One thing I have picked up on over the years is to occasionally pick Savvy and Texter’s brains for interesting internet stuff. Of course, when I find something I think is interesting, “Oh, I saw that ages ago on YouTube” is my usual response from them. However, Savvy can usually make me smile with her gleanings of the web. She recently picked up this book, you might call it, of cartoons. They are all about 4 panels long and feature cute, whimsical figures…..with a really twisted meaning. Enough to make you do a double take and giggle.
Called Kawaii Not, these adorable icons and cartoons are well worth keeping tabs on. Created by Meghan Murphy, this illustrator has become a source of grins for me – and we can all use some grins during the day. But without Savvy jumping on her book at the bookstore, I would never have known about her. Savvy had a few dollars to spend at the store and knew Meghan’s smart cuteness was in actual print form and snapped it up. I’m going to snap it away from her just so I can put on my desk and flip it daily to a new cartoon and a new giggle…..if I can. Savvy doesn’t like it when I poach her things.
The problem with Savvy getting the book however was that she insisted on ‘reading’ and showing it to me. Not that that was the problem. The problem was I was driving at the time and trying to read the cartoons as I was driving. Not a smart thing to do. Of course, it was even worse for her to sit there and snicker as we were going along and I couldn’t participate. Darn that rush hour traffic! What I think I like about them is that they suck you in with their ‘cuteness’ and then you realize you are shaking your head in agreement with the caption. They make you think! I like that.
So it is profitable to keep tabs on what it ‘in’ and ‘out’ on the web. I can tell you tons of ‘out’ stuff, but I relay on the girls for the ‘in’ stuff. Now if they will only share when they first discover it instead of making me wait!
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
After walking through the snow, huffing and puffing like crazy, I realized how out of shape I really am. I have doubled my resolution to exercise and drop some pounds during the coming year. Of course, Savvy is watching my salt intake, which makes me feel like a drug addict looking for a score at times. I have to sneak salt.
However, this is the reason why I can’t get on the Wii and do the Wii Fitness routines.
Blaze can look at you, if disturbed, like he is going to come after you while you are asleep. At about 20 pounds himself, I would hurt myself bending over to pick him up and move him. Besides, if he moves, then I don’t have an excuse to not exercise. Stay, cat, stay.
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Somewhere, presumably in this house, is a folder with recipes and ideas for stories to go along with them for my family cookbook project. But where it is exactly, I don’t know. I have cleaned and looked and unloaded and still can’t find it. Actually, I think it ran off with the blue zippered bag which had some of my markers and colors in it. I hope they are having a great time together. I just hope they are not lying somewhere, laughing at me. Lost items tend to do that when you misplace them.
I hate when this happens. When you know something should be right ‘THERE’ and it’s not. In fact, it’s NOT anywhere you can find. I know I will run across it one day (hopefully, not in the too distant future) and I will bang my head on the wall because I know I overlooked it a 100 times. So if one day you hear a distant BANG, BANG, BANG that’s my head against the wall. But be happy, because you know I found what I have been looking for.
The second frustrating thing is while I do have a copy of the recipes on disk (but not on the computer since the computer crashed since then), I can’t reload it onto my computer without doing this massive gyration. You see, MY computer is the desktop. It’s old, but reliable and chugs right along, which isn’t the problem. The problem is that the doors to my CD and DVD drive do not open. I never really used them in the past, so now they are playing me back for that lack of usage. In order to get the documents back on my computer I would have to load onto one of the girl’s computer and then onto a flashdrive and then onto my computer. My usage of one of their laptops for even a small amount of time is reacted to with the same horror as if I was running naked down the street. In fact, it would be easier to run naked down the street. I can understand, but it is annoying.
So then this all sets off my laptop yearning. Sometime in the next 3 months I plan on getting my own laptop and retiring dear old desktop to backup. It deserves a rest. It has gone through 3 of us using it, down to one using it. It has crashed a couple of times, but then with the abuse it has received I am surprised it hasn’t turned up it’s toes completely a couple of years back.
Back to looking. Where’s my needle in the haystack?
Monday, January 03, 2011
I received a Christmas gift from a friend and treated myself to some new orchids.
I set them up as a room divider rather than sticking them in a corner. The plant on the left is not an orchid, but helped fill up the top of the shelf.
And it is fragrant. This is my first cattleya and my first fragrant one too. I got a couple which were finishing up on their bloom time, but would give me an idea of what they looked like.
The fourth one seems to be a dark purple one and should know what it looks like in a few days.
So, new orchids. They make me feel happy.