Sunday, November 30, 2014

Start of the Holiday Season

The holiday season has started.  This was the first year in a long time I had both of the girls here for Thanksgiving.  Despite being in a small three bedroom apartment (with Lady K, two dogs and a cat), we seem to be doing well.  Let's see if Texter survives the overnight shift at Walmart during the holidays - the next month will tell.

But Lady K got her picture made with Santa.  And "Ma" here did some Photoshop playing.  Now lets see what the next few weeks bring....besides presents!

I have a full slate of things I need to plan and organize before the start of the new year.  2015 is shaping up already to be exciting on many levels.  I really can't wait.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I Did It!

I did it!  52,018 words.  Despite school homework, a new expansion of World of Warcraft, working, and life in general, I did it!


I have to throw out about 2/3 of what I wrote as being total rubbish!  I like the first 1/3 of what I wrote, but the last part was just getting word count down.  What I have now doesn't even qualify to be called a rough draft.  So there is a lot of work to do, but I am pleased with my idea and where I want to take it.  I just need to take it there slower and more thoughtfully.  Juliet Hayhurst is a lady after all.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mandala Monday - Believing in Yourself

Yesterday I wrote about all the plans I had in my head and wanted to accomplish over the next year (or so).  I forgot to add I have two book plans started also.  But I was/am feeling a bit out of sorts and unsettled.  I had used the picture of the tree branches in a homework project and liked the look of the stark black and white.  It looks cold and lonely and, well, wintery.

The mandala above was created from that picture.  I have always loved the look of bare branches against a winter sky.  I really love how they turned into lace for this piece.  And the background for the mandala was set against a splatter brush I created for a homework assignment.  I love just how the hint of white against the black really works.

But I have come to the conclusion that part of my unsettled feeling is that while I want to 'put myself out there' and do these things, there is a part of me, that inner critic you could say, asking me 'who do you think you are?'

No, I haven't written any books on art journaling or journaling, but I have journaled on and off most of my life.  I have a huge box of journals (still in storage, by the way). I have read extensively on the subject.  I know how to stand in front of a group of people and lead a class (did it for a couple of years at work and was paid to do it!)  These are subjects I know and love and I think I can share that love and knowledge.  But it's taking those first steps that are scary and making the final commitment to actually doing rather than just "fixin' to".

Which leads me to another thing.  I realized where some of my feelings were coming from when I was talking to a friend/co-worker who is probably going to be making a big move at work.  While I will miss her interaction a couple of days a week when we work together, she is PERFECT for the position she is trying for.  Her issue - she doesn't necessarily have all the paper requirements they are looking for.  But those things she doesn't know about those things, she can learn.  She's not a dummy.  And she is willing to learn.  What she does have is a passion for children and books.  And she has been a teacher, so she knows how to plan and lead and nurture children.  But she has doubts about her worthiness for the job if she does get it.  I tell her "Pffff"...she is more than worthy for the job and they would be so fortunate to get her into it.

So we both need to pack up those inner critics and send them away on a vacation somewhere.  For a long vacation....and I need to get back to writing for NaNo!  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Winter Funk

Winter has officially come to Montana.  We have a chance of having snow for Thanksgiving.  I have both my daughters, my grand daughter and Texter's boyfriend all here now.  Although Texter will be living the joy of working as a cashier at Walmart overnight on Thanksgiving evening and Black Friday evening, we will be together for the first time in a long time for Thanksgiving.

So why do I feel so....blah?  And unsettled?

Do I have too much on my plate right now?  I have school, work and NaNo (which I am way behind on).  I also have a TON of ideas for programs I would like to do next year at the library.  Journaling, art journaling, letter writing, starting a writing group, Camp NaNo, NaNo again in 2015...the list goes on.  I want to do the Documented Life 2015 'challenge'.  I have plans for this blog.  I want to get outdoors more (but not in the freezing weather!).

I have so much I want to do and I haven't even had a chance (or a place) to pull out my sewing machine since January or February.  My Dr. Who scarf is languishing, along with a couple of other knitting projects.  World of Warcraft just released an expansion and I have been playing that a bit and I had forgotten how much fun I have with some friends on that.

Maybe I am overwhelming myself.  I need to step back, take a deep breath, relax and let it all flow more.  And organize!

School for the semester will be over soon.  NaNo will be over next week (better get to writing!).  December, while may be a bit crazy with baking and Christmas plans, will be my time to get things on paper and out of my head.  

But I do plan on sitting back and doing some relaxing and knitting and TV watching.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Alien vs. Predator Poster

At least one benefit of getting up at 5:15am with Lady K is I did have a chance to finish up on my homework assignment in one class.  We had to create a movie poster, or at least a parody of one.  Here's my take on the assignment....

Not really sure who is the alien and who is the predator though.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mandala Monday

This is Leafcrone.  She is my 'main' on WOW.  To interpret, she is my main character I play on the online game, World of Warcraft.  I created her about 10 years ago (THAT LONG!) when Savoria started playing the game with her friend, Poogles, and I wanted to be an alert parent and check out exactly what was going on.

She is/I am a feral night elf druid.  In other words, I can turn into a panther and stalk around killing things, gathering herbs and crafting potions.  And yes, I am 57 years old.  And yes, I love it.  There are people online I have known for 10 years now and watched them, via the internet, have kids, etc.  Of my daughters and myself, I am probably the most consistent player, just plodding along, doing my 'thing'.

Why do I mention this?  


Yes, I have homework, I have NaNoWriMo, I have reading, I have a million other things to do and I have moved from level 90 to level 95 in the past few days, sacrificing other things so I can squeeze in a few hours here and there of play time.  And I have to play through the 21st as that is WOW's 10th anniversary and I want to see what 'gift' I get for it.

At one time, I was paying for three accounts monthly, so we could all play.  I have a road trip in the near future to meet up with a couple I have played with for years that live in Boise.  (We are trying to decide to meet up in Boise or all go to Salt Lake City.)  I enjoy the game, the questing, and all the other things which make up WOW.

So, before you poke fun and turn up your nose at me and my 'gaming', remember the next time you sit down at your stupid football or baseball game, or load up your golf clubs, I'm sitting here turning up my nose at you.

Off to do my dailies!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Frantic Friday

At least that's how my mind has felt recently.  Well, not really frantic, but rather FULL.  Full of ideas and things I want to get 'organized' and 'on paper'.  Things I want to do, and go do...yep, just frantic.

But I slowed down a bit to do some more photoplay with a favorite picture of Lady K from this spring.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

More Homework

Today is going to be a real struggle for me.  I have a major paper in Ethics due on Friday and some major computer design 'stuff' to do, and the World of Warcraft expansion is out today.  Do I act like a responsible adult or not?

Anyway, here is my homework assignment which I did get done for one class.  Actually, I went a bit overboard with it and did two extra pictures.  

I really like the effect on this one.  Well pleased with it.

Once again, Fluttershy to the rescue.  I like the look of stepping through a doorway.

And once again, back to a favorite picture.  The picture itself is lousy, but I really love what it represents to me.  We should all be this happy all the time.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mandala Monday

After spending most of my days off on photoshop tutorials for class assignments, I decided to depart a bit from my usual mandala and create one       using some of the techniques I learned over the past few days.  I have to say I am loving this one.

A few layers, a bit of gradient and beveling and embossing, flipping and rotating and there you have it.  I think it's yummy.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

It's Been 10 Years!

I recently answered a survey and was asked how long I had been blogging.  To tell the truth, I didn't know exactly.  I knew it had been 'a few years', but not sure exactly when.  So I went and looked.  January 1, 2005 was when I started.

In that posting, I listed several knitting projects I had on the needles or planning:

1. Charlotte's Web - finish up one for Carol and start/finish mine

2. Several Reverse-Bloom Flower Washcloths from Weekend Knitting

3. Three adult and 2 child size Later 'Gator Mitts from Stitch and Bitch Nation (awaiting
more yarn from LYS)

4. Participate in the Sockalong group

5. For myself, Gisele from Berroco Sweater Girls #228

6. Also for myself, Shoalwater Shawl from Fiber Trends

7. Clapotis for (still have to get the fibers for this one)

As I remember it...

1.  Charlotte's Web shawls - did finish both and loved Koigu yarn.
2.  Did the washcloths and I think I gave them all away.
3.  Forget how many of the 'gator mitts I made for co-workers and friends.
4.  Never made the socks.
5.  Can't even remember this one!
6.  Is still in the bag, waiting to be restarted, yet again.
7.  Still have and love and forget to wear it half the time.

10 YEARS!  The end of 2014 will be 10 years of blogging.  Some good, some bad, some getting better all the time.  I started out for me as another form of journaling and a way for friends and family to see what was going on in my life.  There are some gaps in posting.  But overall, I think the posts have gotten better, as well as the artwork and pictures involved.

I already have on my calendar a date with myself for some serious 'blog' planning for 2015.  Where I want to go, what I want to do and post.  I think I need to include in that a celebration of sorts - maybe a monthly give-away during 2015 to keep the celebration going.  We'll see...

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Big Blessings in Little Things

Last night I did something I would have thought about in the past, but never did.  I gathered up Savvy (Texter and "B" came for awhile, but she had work to get to) and a couple of work buddies for the Helena Art Walk.  This is an event where businesses downtown open their doors to artists and visitors to meet and wander.

The evening was cool, but clear (which is not going to be the case in a few days) and my lure for the others was a meet-up at Triple Divide for drinks.  This has become a go-to spot for Savvy and myself.  A small hole-in-the-wall feeling spot for drinks, just off the main drag, warm and inviting.  Best of all there are great vodka and gin (both made on the premises) based drinks served up by a great bartender, Josh.

The giant chess board

After a couple of drinks, we started wandering up and down Last Chance Gulch.  Unfortunately, we didn't get to see but a fraction of the artists out there.  Savvy and I picked up a couple of pieces of pottery and cards for artists we want to revisit.

But the best part of the evening was the fun and laughs with CS and PS from work.  These two women have become friends that I just happen to be lucky enough to work with.  We had a great time looking and checking out clothes (no, I am not actually going to film myself trying to get into the hot pink leggings).  Without the drinks and pottery purchases, this could have actually been a no-cost night out.  Instead, it was a relaxing evening spent wandering around and great conversation - silly conversation at times, but fun.

In the past, I would have suggested such an evening out, but then not gone, thinking instead of all the things I 'needed' to be doing - homework, housework, early to bed for work.  Or thinking about the noise and crowds (not too loud and just the right amount of people out).  I wouldn't have gone.  Instead I gave myself 'permission' to go and have fun.  No guilt attached.

But I am so glad I followed through this time and went.  I feel recharged and revitalized. Savvy got the name of an artist she really wants to buy a couple of pictures from (grown-up art and not just posters) and I got the card from a photographer who stated she would be very happy to give me some pointers on printing and framing should I decide to 'go public'.  PS and CS, long time residents of Helena, know everyone, everywhere.  And I know there will be at least one fun evening in the near future when we four get together for Thai food (which I and CS have never had) and some painting/ceramic painting.

Next time we are starting earlier (Savvy will just have to make her own way there if working!) and seeing more of the artists.  And more time for more drinks along the way!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Voted in Montana and Other Interesting Ideas

Yesterday I voted for the first time in Montana.  I went over to the fair grounds (basically across the street from me) and entered the voting area.  I knew this was at least one of two polling places (the other being the library).  Inside were at least six precincts set up for voting.

Ok, this is weird.  I'm use to lines and only one precinct per polling place.  Got my ballot, voted and went to put it into the 'machine' to count it.  Nope, one part goes into one locked box and the main ballot goes into a second lock box.  Not at all what I am use to after years of voting in North Carolina and Texas.

Which got me to thinking about numbers.  (Actually, what really got me to thinking was an article about celebrities in Montana and that Ted Turner owns more acres than the population of Montana.)  So I did a little number crunching and was amazed.

Montana is 48th in population in the United States with 1.015 million people over 147,164 square miles.  On the other hand, North Carolina is 28th with 9.848 million people and only 53,819 square miles. The Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area is home to 2,037,430 people.  So Montana is about 3 times as large with only about a tenth of the people.  Sounds good to me so far.

Then I had to be really curious and take a look at the Phoenix area for Savvy.  Arizona is 113,998 square miles with 6.627 million people - almost 6 times that of Montana.  And the Phoenix area is considered the most populous state capital in the United States, with 1.513 people in 517 square miles.  So the population of Montana in a handful of square miles.  No wonder Savvy didn't want to drive there.

Then I got curious and decided to take a look at my old stomping grounds, the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  The 4th largest in the country, this combined 'city' is home to 6,526,548 people, 1.258 million of them in Dallas alone.  So Dallas has almost as many people as the whole state of Montana.

No wonder I love Montana so much!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Mandala Monday and Pre-Halloween Fun

Triforce Halloween Pumpkin

Halloween was pretty busy at our house this year.  Lady K was hold enough to really trick-or-treat.  Not understand it, but old enough to grab candy for me herself.  Texter was involved in a bake sale fundraiser and baked for two days solid, bagging brownies and cookies until she was just sick of them.  She also managed to carve a couple of pumpkins for the front porch between batches of cookies.

Triple Divide Mandala
Savvy and I on the other hand made a pre-Halloween stop at Triple Divide Distillery to finally try them out.  Mainly because I had seen their Facebook page with the Candy Corn Drink on it and wanted to try it.  Savvy had a Lavender Love to start with.

This was our first time in Triple Divide and were very pleased.  The bar itself is pretty with the thousands of pennies embedded in the top.  The bartender was nice and very willing to talk to us about the drinks (it was a slow night for them too).  The place is small, so you won't get a huge crowd in there were you can't enjoy the company, which is really nice.  I enjoy doing what Savvy and I did, going in and having a couple of drinks and some good conversation.  Mainly our conversation this time was pouring over the menu of drinks and discussing what might be good.

Since there is a limit on the number of ounces you can consume there (taproom laws), our second round of drinks were a Last Call (raspberry syrup) and a Fall Harvest (cranberry).  Triple Divide is most definitely on our places to revisit again and again.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Halloween Update

My concession to Halloween decorating consisted of taking a huge spider web and draping it around the porch.  Then throwing about 60 plastic, black spiders on it.  It did look a bit creepy.  I had one kid give me a "great decorations" when he came to the door.  The next day I just gathered it all up and trashed it.  Love simple decorating.

It took Miss Ladybug all of two stops on the Little Tykes Halloween Walk to learn how to grab a handful of candy and put it in her bucket.  It was a bit cooler than we expected, so Texter and I walked down to Starbucks for a hot drink and a bit of a warm up.  Miss Ladybug was in possession of my sweater by this time.  And she took Texter's 'glasses' while we were there.  She looked so grown up.

Halloween night she had to go out again, mainly because she didn't like the kids coming to her door and taking the candy.  Aunt Savvy and Lady K made a few rounds of houses with Lady K in footie PJ's.  I can't wait until next year when she really understands what is going on.  Aunt Savvy will have to be on her toes to keep up with her trick-or-treat partner.