Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy to be Missing the BIG Snow Storm

We just spent two days in the car spending the first night just south of Nashville, TN and arriving in Pensacola Beach around 3:30 this afternoon. We are now in the central time zone. We are very pleased with the condo we are renting and although it was very cloudy when we arrived I was still able to get a great pic from the balcony.

We just returned from a walk a couple of blocks away with my sis and her hubster to Flounders for a wonderful shrimp platter we shared and a margarita. What a great meal.

We are now back at the condo and chilling. I am going to get into some soft pants and put the feet up. I brought my special bear that I have been sketching for blind contour Friday so I have something to sketch. I am also hoping to sketch some of the birds on the beach tomorrow, that is if it doesn't rain.

I had oodles of birthday wishes on Facebook and some here on my blog and I must say it was fun even at my advanced age. I am now officially in my last year in my 50s. I am anticipating even greater things in the 60s, but that will have to wait a year.

I hope to have something arty to show you tomorrow. I hope to "see" you then.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Animal Combos

Miss 8 checked a book out of the library at school called 365 Art & Craft Activities by Rita Hoppert so that she and I could do some art together.

Today we decided to do a project called Animal Combos. We found some animals in a book I have and used a light box that belongs to my good friend Nancy and traced parts of two animals to make a new more interesting animal.

Here is hers:

She named it a fosh. It is a fox and a fish.

And here is mine. It is a combination of a Mule Deer and a Barking Tree Frog:

I call it a Barking Mule Freer.

I am so lucky to have a granddaughter like Miss 8 living close enough to spend time with and do art projects together. 

I hope you like our animal combos and I hope to "see" you again next week.


Australian Open and Blind Contour Friday

The Australian Open is wrapping up this weekend and then maybe I will have more time to make art. I have been staying up until all hours watching and I've seen some really great matches. The Li Na/Wozniaki match was spectacular as was the Clijsters/Zvonareva match. Clijsters and Li Na will meet to decide the Champion on Saturday. I really like both players, but am rooting for Clijsters.

Meanwhile I had Little Miss 3 all day yesterday and her sister Miss 8 got off the bus at my house so I had a real excuse for not getting any art done and today Little Miss 3 is coming very soon and her sister has an early release day today. I think her bus will arrive some time just after 2. I have every intention of doing some art with them this afternoon, but I have a haircut appointment late this morning and need to make a stop at the grocery store to get the pork chops that Miss 8 has requested for dinner tonight.

I did get up to draw a blind contour as it is Blind Contour Friday and hope you are not tired of my special bear that I like to try to sketch:

And here is a sighted sketch. I am hoping that the more times I sketch her, the better I will get at it.

I hope you have a very nice weekend and I hope to have something bookish and something watercolorish (you know I love to make up words) to show you when I "see" you on Monday.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Art Fun and the Australian Open

I wish my friend Nancy lived even closer than she does. We had a great time yesterday and we got a couple of books out of it. The leather journals we made turned out really nicely. We each had 4 signatures and sewed them into the leather using an X pattern stitch. I then wrapped the leather around to the front and cut it asymmetrically. I haven't decided just how I am going to attach it yet.

I really like this size - it is about 3 1/2" x 4 " and will fit in my pocketbook nicely. I made mine with medium weight smooth sketch paper. Nancy made hers with a variety of papers in a variety of colors. 

After we finished the leather ones, we tried the two needle coptic stitch. Since we both had four stations on the spine, we used 4 needles. I was surprised at how easy it was to maneuver the four curved needles, but I didn't teach this very well. I began the linking stitch with the 3rd signature and should have started with the 2nd so there is a sort of half pattern stitch between the cover and the second signature. 

Nancy's book is really nice for a first try with a beginner for a teacher. She used a really cool cover from an old book and some very old paper for the cover paper. My book had a fatal accident as I was attaching the back cover. One of the holes I'd punched in it tore through. I will have to remember to place my holes a bit further from the edge next time. 

Here are some of the "light bulbs" that I had yesterday at Nancy's:

A rotary cutter works really not only to cut paper but for leather as well
A Japanese punch is much better for getting holes in the cover board than an awl
Green tea with lemon and honey is a great go-with for book binding
Two heads are better than one
Book binding (or any activity for that matter) is more than twice as much fun when done with a friend

Last evening I got sucked into watching the Wozniaki/Schiavone quarterfinal match and wound up staying up until 2 am again. This has got to stop. I didn't arise until 9:45 this morning and then only because the phone was ringing. 

I am hoping to try my hand at two-needle coptic again this week - maybe even today so I can say that I know how to do it and so that I can be a better teacher next time. You really find out what you know (or don't know) when you try to teach it.

Before the week is out I have to:

take books back to the library
get my taxes in order for my tax lady
type up an Algebra final exam review
tutor an Algebra student (later today)
get a physical (I have the appointment already)
get a haircut (ditto)
get a package to my Mom in the mail
spend time with my kids and their kids
walk the treadmill, walk the treadmill, walk the treadmill

There are only four more days in this week so I'd better get more efficient than I've been for the past three days. 

First, breakfast, then the treadmill........


Monday, January 24, 2011

WoodBurning, Sketching, Baby Shower and More

The hubster has been playing with wood burning for about a week and is getting quite good at it. I love the smell of the burnt wood when he brings it in to show me. I want to try to paint some of them so he made me a practice piece. I have put a layer of Acrylic Glazing Liquid on it (I don't have any GAC 100) which I think will act like a primer. Once I get a second layer on it and allow it to dry I am going to try using acrylic paint to see how it looks in color.

They don't really need paint, but I thought it might be fun to try it. Here is the one he brought in yesterday.

I am so jealous. I want to try to transfer one of my original sketches to wood and burn it to see how I like it. And perhaps I will. Stay tuned.

For now I just attempted a quick sketch of this scene.

It would appear I still need to work on perspective and relative sizes.

We had a very busy weekend. The hubster's sister came over on Saturday morning and she and I went to the baby shower. This may have been the best baby shower I've ever attended. Her family were the hostesses and her aunt's house had a huge kitchen/dining area with a long rectangular table that seated about 16 people quite well and there was a large island in the kitchen that seated the overflow. Her family is warm and friendly and I felt sincerely welcome.

There were about 30 adults and 6 or 7 little girls and except for a few minor skirmishes (among the little girls, of course) it was a lovely, peaceful afternoon. My daughter and her two little girls were there and my son's little girl was there and another sister-in-law was there. She drove over from Ann Arbor and it was lovely to see her. The mother received oodles of lovely gifts and looks exceptionally cute at 8+ months pregnant. 

Afterward, we went back to my house where the hubster made dinner while his sister and I played on the computer and visited. She brought her laptop with her so I could do some troubleshooting for her. We had a lovely evening visiting and watching tennis.

On Sunday morning, the hubster made coffee and breakfast and then after his sister left for home, I took Miss 8 and Miss 7 1/2 out for lunch. We had a lovely time. The girls colored pictures while waiting for their food and when we told the waitress that we were celebrating Miss 8's birthday, she brought out a large piece of chocolate cake with three spoons. I can't have cake so the little girls worked on it a bit. 

After doing a transfer of girls to my son I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some odds and ends and then made a quick stop at my daughter's house for a little bit more holding and hugging of Little Miss 3. She felt a bit left out when she didn't get to go out to lunch with the big girls.

When I got home I was really tired so I took a nap on the couch while the hubster was watching a football game. I found that a football game is practically as good as a baseball game for taking a nap. The hubster made dinner - brown rice with black beans and fried eggs over top - yummy!! I was supposed to do dishes, but got interested in the tennis matches so they are still in the sink even as I type this. I am going to have do the dishes before I go to my friend's house this morning for our book binding learning/teaching get together.

I am getting ready for the day packing up some book binding supplies and eagerly looking forward to this. Nancy and I always have a great time when we get together and there is bound (pun intended) to be a great deal of laughter as well as some really nice books being made today. I will share with you tomorrow.

For now, I'd better get the dishes done and have a bite of breakfast before showering and packing the car for my day's adventure.

I hope to see you tomorrow.......


Friday, January 21, 2011

Housecleaning and Blind Contour Friday

My sister-in-law (who truly feels more like an actual sister) is coming tomorrow to go to the baby shower (my newest grandgirl is due in late February) and is staying overnight so the hubster and I are doing a good house cleaning. I don't have overnight company much, but it is a great incentive to finally do all the cleaning.

I am mostly done, just waiting to dust after everything settles from vacuuming. I took this opportunity to come into my work room and do a blind contour. I tried this time to do it without lifting my pen, but it looks like I did lift it to do the feet. I am going to try to get to the point where I don't lift my pen at all. The sketch next to it is somewhat of a blind sketch. I can't see the bear across the table with my glasses on and I can't see my sketchbook in front of me without my glasses. I did this without my glasses on and it was a bit difficult.

I hear the dryer blatting (I may have made up that word) and the kitchen floor is dry by now, so I need to get out and help the hubster put the table and chairs back and then I can finish the vacuuming.

I wonder what is for breakfast??

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and I will try to have some wonderful new things to show you on Monday.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Terribly Tired Thursday

I can't believe I did it again - there was a really great match between Vera Zvonareva of Russia and Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia. The young Serb came out hitting really hard and took the first set from the #2 seed Zvonareva 6-2. Zvonareva came through with the win in the end, but it took a nail biting three sets to accomplish. I can't wait to see more tennis from Jovanovski in the future. This was the first time I'd seen her play and she is really good. The match didn't get over until 2 AM and that means I didn't get to sleep until about 2:30 AM. I had a good sleep, but here it is after 10 in the morning and I've got nothing done yet.

I am tutoring in Stockbridge again today at 2:30 so I think I will wait to spend an hour on the treadmill until I get home from there. I need to clean house today as I am having an overnight guest on Saturday and I just don't feel like it. If I had one wish it would be to have enough money left over each month to hire someone to come in and clean my house. I really don't mind the day to day picking up, making the bed, vacuuming, cooking and doing dishes, but I really dislike cleaning bathrooms, washing down cupboards, dusting and scrubbing floors.

For today I have a rather poor sketch of a couple of sea shells - I am thinking Florida and walking the beach without a winter coat and hat and boots. I sketched in pen and don't know how to get a light line so I can have some contrast in my drawing. But for what it is worth, here is what I have:

I have some upholstery samples that I think would make wonderful journal covers. I may have to reinforce the spine with a bit of book cloth on the inside, but I am going to try using fabric sometime between now and Monday and I will share my results with you. Here are a few of my favorites:

I need to make some practice worksheets for my tutoring session this afternoon, so I'd better get busy. I hope to get something done today besides watching tennis, but I can't promise anything. Please come by tomorrow and see for yourself if I've been able to produce something arty.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wandering Wednesday

I feel somehow as though I am wandering through the day with no definite purpose at all. The plumber came at 9 am to replace the kitchen faucet. Is there really a law that says all plumbers must expose their butt crack whenever they bend over???? I had to leave the room. I am not a big fan of butt cracks.

He left about 10 and I must say the kitchen faucet is pretty nice and he replaced the undersink plumbing as well. It is a great improvement.

I've done nothing except to eat breakfast and sweep the entrance and my work room. I am trying to get my book binding stuff organized so packing it up to take to Nancy's on Monday will be easier and so I will not forget some essential tool. I am so excited to have a book making date with my dear friend. I anticipate we will each learn something valuable from each other and their will be plenty of laughter and fun. I will tell you all about it on Tuesday.

For today I am hoping to try a couple of lessons in my Watercolour for the Absolute Beginner book and maybe make a hardcover two needle coptic book. I am tutoring in Stockbridge at 2:30 and the Australian open is on from 7 pm until about 1:30 in the morning. I am going to try to sketch a tennis player in action this evening. I've never tried drawing anything from the TV before and am hoping I can capture something of the action and posture.

For now I thought my screech owl in my SC journal was a little lonely so I drew a wren (one of my favorite birds - not for his personality, but for his song) to keep him company. It is a quick sketch in pen.

I suppose I should have put him on something, but I am feeling a little ill so just quit and took this time to do a quick post.

I think I am going to go lie down. I hope to see you tomorow.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Screech Owl and Another Leather Journal

I swear the Australian Open is threatening my creativity to the max. There was another really good match to watch at 7 pm, which should have been enough for me, but I made the mistake of checking again later and found another knuckle biter that lasted until 1:30 am. I have good intentions of sketching while watching, but absolutely forget to do so.

I did make myself leave the living room long enough to sew the leather journal that was in the works yesterday. I used two needles to make an X pattern on the outside and the sewing was easy enough, but I don't think the design is as nice as the one needle leather journal that I sewed previously. My next journal will either be hard covered or soft covered with an open spine so that I can see what a 2-needle coptic looks like and what it is like to sew.

Here is my latest journal:

While I was in my work room and ignoring the tennis matches, I decided to get out my SC journal and do a sketch. I have been preoccupied this week with the screech owl living in the wood duck house so I looked him up in the bird book and attempted a sketch.

My creativity during the day yesterday also included an aromatic and tasty dinner. I put a chuck eye roast covered with herbs and a bit of liquid on the stove to cook for a couple of hours and then added garlic, onion, potatoes and carrots. It was greatly appreciated by the hubster when he got home from his prescribed hours at the mall. And there are lots of leftovers for today. Yummy!

Today I have several things that need to go in the mail so I am going to take my coffee and get it done. I will then do the treadmill for an hour (I didn't walk yesterday, but spent a couple of hours grocery shopping). I'm hoping to have something creative to show you tomorrow.....


Monday, January 17, 2011

Meandering Monday

I've had a very busy and productive weekend and it seems like it lasted way longer than two days. On Friday I had Little Miss 3 all day (she and her sister Little Miss 8 stayed the night on Thursday). Actually her birthday was on Friday so the hubster and Little Miss 3 made a cake for her and when her Mom came out to pick up the little one, we sang and cut the cake. Here is my birthday girl. I think I am going to have to drop the Little from her name and just call her Miss 8.

The time passes so quickly.

On Saturday the hubster worked at the mall and I worked on projects that need to be completed. I am participating in an ATC trade through ATCs For All. The theme is footwear and is called Stepping Out. Here are my cards.

The two at the top are drawings of refrigerator magnets I have. The short boot is mine and the sneaker is supposed to be drawn ala Andrea Joseph.

I had the most wonderful mail on Saturday. I received the absolutely wonderful zine that I ordered from Andrea Joseph and I got a very cute letter from Little Miss 7 in the same post. I just love it when I get personal mail!

I have spent far too much time out of doors in this freezing weather trying to get a better picture of the screech owl that appears to be living in the wood duck house the hubster built and that is set up across the creek. I sneaked up on him yesterday and hid behind a tree until my fingers were numb, but to no avail. He is apparently camera shy. Here is what I did get from the bathroom window.

If you click on the picture you may be able to see it a little better.

I've been adding to my Treadmill Mileage page as well. I've discovered my favorite so far is to set the treadmill at 3º incline and start at 3 mph. I then let the music on my iPod dictate the speed so long as it is between 3 and 3.5 mph. What a great workout. I walk for an hour and the machine says I am burning almost 400 calories. WooHoo!

I got a book from the library (actually I use World Cat through the library's online site) called Watercolour for the Absolute Beginner and I really think it will be a good one to work through. I like it so much, in fact, that I went to and ordered it for myself. I chose a notebook that I bought at Michael's long ago and gessoed the front cover and got it ready to start, but that is as far as I've gotten so far.

It is a little sappy silly, but I am hoping to start with exercise 1 and do all 70 of them.

I will share my watercolor exercise journal as I go. I was planning to do a couple of exercises last evening, but the Australian Open has begun and my life is on interrupt for awhile. I stayed up until almost 2 am this morning watching a really good match with one of my favorites, Daniela Hantuchova, but she didn't make it out of the first round. I am sure I will be watching more. I will try to use the time to do a bit of sketching as watercolor is out of the question while watching tv.

Today I will walk for an hour on the treadmill and then after my shower I am driving into town to do a bit of grocery shopping. I am planning to stop at Aldi's first and see what I can get there before going to Meijer's. My goal is to reduce my grocery bills. That is by far our biggest outlay and I am in the habit of just buying what I am used to buying instead of comparison shopping.

I will have another leather wrapped journal to show you tomorrow. Yesterday's attempt was extremely poor and so that leather will be used for a wrap of some kind and I will try again today. I also still need to get my tax "stuff" in order so that I can take care of that with my tax lady in March.

Too much to do, too little time.....


Friday, January 14, 2011

A Sketch and Blind Contour Friday

The girls arrived around 6:30 last evening accompanied by a pizza. Little Miss 3 was asleep; Little Miss 7 (who turned 8 today) was thrilled to be able to spend the night at Nana's house. Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep last night.

The alarm went off at 6:50 and I got up and turned the heat up so that Little Miss 8 wouldn't freeze getting out of the shower. We did the routine of shower, breakfast, hugs, talking to Mom on Facebook and then Papa took her to school.

I've already put together the princess puzzle with Little Miss 3 at least three times and then put together a dinosaur puzzle. I helped her build a fort and then played hide and seek pretending for a few minutes that I couldn't find her.

Right now she is crying in the living room because I won't help her color. She wants me to be attached at her hip all day. I love her to pieces, but do sometimes need a little space.

Last evening before they arrived I did a blind contour of my special bear (it is special because a new teacher who I was assigned to mentor gave it to me) and then did a sketch of the same.

Here is the blind contour:

And here is the sketch:

I've also started another leather journal. I haven't decided on the stitch I will use yet, but the signatures are ready and they are the leather wrap are under a weight getting the air out.

I am being paged over and over again by a weepy Miss 3 wanting to play hide and seek, so I'd best go. Hope you have a great weekend.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Slotted Spine Journal

I didn't flip a coin, but I've been wanting to try a slotted spine journal for some time, so that is what I did. I like it. It was easy to sew and is a nice size. It lays flat when opened and has nice smooth sketch paper inside. The cover is made of two layers of vinyl so is sturdy and washable.

It is made up of 5 signatures with 5 folios in each for a total of 100 pages. This one was pretty fun to make. The only thing I'd do differently on the next one is that I would use a bit heavier cover material so that the slots would be a little neater.

This morning the hubster and I are going up to the Maple Street Mall and then later this afternoon I am going into Stockbridge to tutor an Algebra student. In between I am planning to do some kind of art - sketching? painting? journal making?  Who knows maybe I will do more than one of those. I can't forget that tomorrow is blind contour Friday - I need to make time for that, too.

I have cleaned the master bathroom (something about being upside down with a scrub brush). Maybe that was the cause of my tendonitis. We have very hard water and even though we use a softener, we get rust and mineral buildup which requires some scrubbing to eliminate. I still need to clean the rest of the house, but there isn't much fun in that. I am having an overnight guest late next week so that will be my impetus to get it done by then.

This evening the daughter is bringing her two out to spend the evening and overnight. Tomorrow Little Miss 7 becomes Little Miss 8. Her mom has to be to work first thing in the morning so she can get out early in the afternoon to take cupcakes to school. Little Miss 3 will spend the day on Friday with me.

I hope to have something interesting to show you tomorrow.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pain and A Couple of Sketches

I am still in a bit of pain in my left arm, but it is now more like a 4. Yesterday it was a 9. I didn't go to Stockbridge to tutor as I was still feeling the residual of the pain meds I'd taken and didn't think I should be driving. I slept a lot yesterday.

I did make it a point to try a quick perspective sketch. I used a micron pen, so it is messy, but I think it is better than my last attempt.

And then I had to get into my comfort zone a bit more so I drew a couple of birds at the feeder.

I am hoping to get a book made today. My problem is that I can't decide which one to make - should I try a fabric one? should I finally make the "Training The Dog" book? and if so, should I make an open spine with a coptic stitch? should I leave the spine in place and do a slotted spine stitch? should I try a small book and a 2-needle coptic stitch? Ack!!!
I guess you will have to wait to see which one I finally settle on. Meanwhile, I am hoping to get on the treadmill today. I wanted to walk yesterday, but swinging my left arm was torture. 



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Errands and Hot Italian Sausage and Black Bean Soup

I didn't get anything tangible done yesterday or so far today. The hubster and I ran errands yesterday stopping at Toys R Us, Best Buy, JoAnn's, Meijer's, and The Toy House. By the time we got home and put the groceries away it was almost time for afternoon coffee.

First I made a pot of my current favorite soup:

Black Bean and Sausage Soup
½ cup carrots, chopped
½ cup onion, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes with juice, 14.5 oz can
1 Tablespoon thyme
1 Tablespoon basil
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 quarts chicken stock
2 cans black beans, 15.25 oz cans
½ pound cooked hot italian sausage

1. Sauté the vegetables in olive oil.
2. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, beans and sausage.
3. Add spices. Cook slowly until tender, about an hour and a half.

After coffee, the neighbor boy came over for help with his Algebra. I read a novel until bedtime and went to bed with an extremely sore left arm. I am guessing tendonitis as I've had it before in that arm, but usually higher up. I laid in bed for two hours worrying and wondering if it was something more serious before I got up and took a Vicodin and went to sleep.

Of course, that means that I am a bit lethargic this morning. The daughter came out around 9:30 with Little Miss 3 and had coffee and then spent several hours visiting. It was great, but it means that I didn't get anything else done. I have to drive to Stockbridge in  a couple of hours to tutor another Algebra student. I am hoping to do a bit of art this evening.

I am sitting here with an ice wrap around my arm hoping for some relief. I suppose I should take some kind of anti-inflammatory too.
I did take a picture of the hubster's latest cutting board. I love this one:

The picture doesn't really do it justice.

I have to get ready for my afternoon tutoring session and have a bit of soup for lunch before I go.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Friendship, Hollander's, and A New Journal

Friday was everything I expected it to be and more. The only thing missing was the treadmill and I kept a date with it on Saturday, so all is well in that department.

It was a beautiful, but very cold and snowy day on Friday. I drove to Nancy's early in the day, but late enough to miss the rush of workers trying to get to work. We went to Ann Arbor and decided to stop at Hollander's first. It was by far my most productive visit yet. For one thing I not only knew what I wanted, but I actually knew the right questions to ask to get help finding things. I bought a variety of book cloth, some bugra and some other handmade cover weight paper; more curved needles; and a variety of light weight waxed linen thread. We then had lunch at Kosmopolitan, a small Korean lunch place right next door in the Kerrytown Shops. I had my usual, the Bop. I chose brown rice, chicken, spinach, broccoli, tomato and mushrooms. It comes with a fried egg on top. Yummy!

We then went to a place whose name I never remember - The Scrap Box - it just popped into my head from space - go figure. I picked up a couple scrap pieces of leather, some paper by the inch, and a handful of fabric samples. It is a really fun place to walk around and get ideas and materials.

Our last stop was a Salvation Army where I found a lovely red handbag (I am planning to use it to make journals) and a handful of hard cover books with interesting covers for repurposing. I've already read two of them and may read the rest before taking them apart.

On the way back to Nancy's house we drove through a blizzard which made me nervous, but we drove right threw it. I did have to brush about 3 inches of snow off my car in order to drive back home, but the roads were fine.

I had the whole weekend to look forward to and all these new supplies. I expected I'd make all kinds of things. On Saturday morning, the daughter called to ask if I'd watch the girls while she went grocery shopping and the son called to use the truck for a couple hours and to ask if his Little Miss 7 could spend the evening with us while he was out with the daughter helping a neighbor celebrate her birthday. When the son arrived the other Little Miss 7 and Little Miss 3 were already here so his Little Miss 7 opted to stay while he took the truck to town. The girls had a lovely time. The daughter returned to pick up her girls, but left her Little Miss 7 to play with her cousin. The two Miss 7s ended up staying the night.

On Sunday I thought I'd get several journals done, but I am just so not into the assembly line type of making books. I thoroughly enjoy the one book at a time experience, so I only have one to show you today. I love how it turned out.

Leather bound with button closure.

My latest favorite stitches called Dos Esquos in Keith A Smith's book.

A better look at the button.

The journal measures 3 1/2" x 4 1/2" and has three signatures of eight folios each. The paper is a heavy weight textured off-white paper that can take a bit of water media and is ideal for sketching. It's size is perfect for me because I carry a very small handbag and it fits in it quite nicely. This journal is available for purchase here.

This morning the hubster and I are making a trip into town to purchase a mattress for the cradle he made when our first grandchild was born. I will be giving it to the son for his new baby girl due in late February. The hubster also has to renew his driving license and we need some salt for the water softener. We will also stop into Toys 'R Us to see the daughter and order a shower gift.
I'm planning to take my SC journal with me today so that while the hubster is waiting in line for his license I can sketch a bit.

I hope to see you tomorrow and have more to share.....

Friday, January 7, 2011

Blind Contour Friday and A Self Portrait Sketch

Good morning. It is going to be a really good day. I can feel it. I am driving to Nancy's house and then we are heading into Ann Arbor. I'd like to get some book cloth and maybe some Lokta or Bugra paper. Maybe we could also go to the store with manufacturer overruns where you never know what you might find. I never can remember the name of the place, but I know how to get there.

We'll eat lunch out and have a ton of fun. We always do when we are together. It's been a long time since we were able to make time for an art date and I've been starved for one. I think that maybe the next time we get together it will be to make blank journals.

I took a little bit of time to try a self portrait sketch and a blind contour of same. I think I probably should have tried to put pupils in the eyes of the blind contour, but I didn't think of it.

I am taking the day off from the treadmill today - that is if I don't find myself on it this evening. I really enjoy the walking and adding 3 miles to my total is a wonderful feeling. So far since New Year's Day, I have put in over 16 miles. I'm loving that!

I hope you have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend. I hope to do lots of art this weekend so I have something to show you on Monday.

Until then.....


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thoroughly Thursday

I am so glad that I decided to walk on the treadmill yesterday even though my knees were a little sore. Instead of the slow jog I walked for an hour at a very pleasant 3 mph at zero incline. It was wonderful. I think I will do it again today.

Afterward I decided to make my travel journal that I would take on our trip next month. A couple of days ago I posted a link to a tut on the Sketchbook Challenge site for making a sketchbook. Well, I kinda/sorta used that tut, but I changed it up a bit. I already had a couple of covered boards that I'd used coordinating wallpaper on so I cut and folded my paper to make my signatures and then used the same wallpaper from the inside of the covers to make a spine. Instead of the pamphlet stitch that was used in the tut, I chose to make my stitching Xs as described in Keith Smith's book "1-2-&3-Section Sewings". I am thrilled with how it turned out.

It is the perfect size for me. It fits quite comfortably in the palm of my hand and will be easy to carry in my small handbag. It measures approximately 3.5 x 4.5. There are a couple of things I will do differently when I make another one like this. The wallpaper is an offwhite on the backside and when I pulled the needle through the holes some of that color showed through - next time I will use a paper that is the same color on both sides. I put a little too much paper in it for the width of the spine I used, but I really don't mind that it doesn't lie flatly closed.

What do you think?

I think I will find some kind of elastic wrap to put around it horizontally to keep it more secure in my handbag.

I can't wait to make another like this one. This may be my all time favorite style yet!!

I didn't do a new page in my SC journal, but I did get a ruler and pen and try to straighten up yesterday's. I also added a bit of color. I had to use colored pencil as this journal doesn't take water media at all.

Well, I think I hear the treadmill calling. I need a bowl of cereal and fruit and then I am on that bad boy. My goal is for a minimum of 10 miles a week and I am already over 13, so I think I can take tomorrow off.  I am planning to spend some time tomorrow with my good friend, Nancy, and am really looking forward to it.

Until tomorrow.......


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wait A Minute Wednesday

My knees are quite sore this morning after doing the slow jog for the entire hour on the treadmill yesterday. At first I as thinking of just taking the day off, but instead I think I will do today's session just walking at a leisurely pace (3 mph) and no incline. I think that will be enough of a change to give the old knees a bit of a respite.

While trying to think up an alliterative name for today's post, I suddenly had a bunch of phrases from my childhood clamoring for attention in my brain. Do any of these ring bells for you?

Don't get your shirt in a bundle
You don't know if you're afoot or on horseback
Were you born in a barn?
Don't make me come in there!
If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?
You remind me of your great aunt - she wasn't much (said fondly and as a joke)
Easy as falling off a horse

I know there are some real doozies that I am forgetting, but all the noise in my head while these were fighting for attention has made me forget them for now.

I made a couple of sketches in my SC journal yesterday for day 4 and they are quite different for me. They are definitely outside my comfort zone. I am horrible at perspective and what I think is called "shortening" when some part of the drawing is coming toward you. Mayhaps I have found a challenging kind of drawing to try to improve. While I find it very frustrating and am not at all pleased with it, I would really like to get better at it.

That is supposed to be an adirondack chair on the left and a barn on the right. The two buildings look like they are collapsing in the middle and are coming off the ground at their respective ends. I can't decide whether I should wait until I get better at the sketches to add color or if adding color might hide some of the awkwardness.

Other than walking the treadmill and making banana oatmeal muffins (I have two very ripe bananas to use), I don't have any firm plans for today. I can see trying another building sketch and I am wanting to make myself a travel journal for my trip in February. And I must get 2010 tax info ready for my tax lady before I go away. Each year I promise myself that I will keep up month by month and each year I end up with next to nothing done and a huge pile of receipts and notes to weed through and organize. Ugh!!

It snowed last night. We don't have much but there is a layer over the grass. It is pretty, but I think I can find lots of reasons to stay indoors today. What about you? Do you love the cold and want to go out in it? Or do you prefer to look at its prettiness from the warmth of your reading chair?

I'd better get a move on. I hope to see you tomorrow.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Technicolor Tuesday

Today's title is in reference to my guest artist's contribution from this weekend. It was already hanging on the refrigerator, so I forgot to share it yesterday. I found a few pdf files at Mural Maker and More that had 8.5" x 11" pictures that I found I could print out for my little artists to color as they chose. Here is a cardinal colored by Little Miss 3:

I love this picture and am impressed with both the colors and the staying in the lines.

Yesterday was a very busy day for me. I ran errands. First I loaded up the car and stopped at the recycle center. All my bins were full to overflowing. Next stop - Office Max. I took my 20% off bag and purchased some card stock and printer ink and a few other odds and ends. I love an office supply store! Then it was on to Sam's Club for bulk purchases; then Meijer's for among other things salad fixings. I thought my last stop would be the farm store to exchange a flannel shirt that was a Christmas gift - the sleeves were too short.

I called the daughter to let her know that I would be stopping at her house to drop off some clementines for the girls only to find that she was running around trying to get her water pump fixed. I'd left my phone off so she had to leave work to take care of it. I'd told her to have the plumber call me - rats!!!

I did pick up a gallon of water the guy needed (I'm thinking maybe to prime the pump???) and dropped off the water and clementines before heading home where I unloaded the car, put away groceries and caught up with email and a friend on the phone.

The hubster was "working" at the Maple Street Mall and was due home around 6:30 so I wanted to have dinner ready for him. I'd bought some hot Italian sausage and some generic pasta sauce earlier in the day and made some spaghetti. I also picked up some strawberries and an angel food cake. Yum! Yum!

I felt guilty for not keeping the date with the treadmill, so after dinner and tutoring a neighbor in Algebra, I got on the treadmill and did an hour. It felt so good.

After that I sketched (with the help of the light box) a picture of Little Miss 3, another of my things that are "highly prized".

Even with the help of the light box I have a hard time making her look like a little girl. She looks more like 8 than 3.

I still haven't gotten to the bathrooms, the vacuuming, the dusting.....

I have a Mom and Algebra student coming today after school so I can't put off the house cleaning any longer. I will make time for art, though. I may even attempt a bit of watercolor.

That's all I have for now. I hope to see you tomorrow.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Magnificent Monday

The sun is shining brightly and all appears to be right in my world. It seems like a really long time since I've posted to my blog - like maybe my last post was last year :-)

In this new year, I've joined two very different journal projects and have combined them into one. I am not sure how long that is going to last, but for now I am enjoying it. I have a link to each of them in the sidebar on the right - The Sketchbook Challenge (which I shall refer to as SC) and Milliande Art Journal January 2011 (which I shall refer to as MAJ). I have been a fan of Milliande's for a very long time. She has lots of wonderful, creative videos on YouTube as well as a wonderful community site online.

Here is my first day's contribution:

The SC theme for January is "highly prized". I read that while enjoying my first mug of coffee so I began this page by drawing my coffee in my favorite cup and then I felt a bit guilty for thinking of coffee first, but I was in the moment. I was thinking about the things that I prize highly and trying to think how to incorporate them on this page while reading the blogs to which I subscribe and found myself reading the one on Milliande's blog which contained the first video of the month for MAJ. Her video which you can watch/download here was all about patterning and zebras. That might explain the rest of this page.

The hubster and I went up to the Maple Street Mall in Mason to set up a small booth which includes a a cabinet he made for my handmade journals and as we were setting up I sold the small travel journal that was listed on my Handmade Books page. I was thrilled. The booth looks great and focuses on my handmade journals and the hubster's custom signs. I should have taken my camera so I could share a picture with you. I will take one next time I am up at the mall.
When we got home I watched the second day's video for MAJ in which she did a mandala with three zebras and then cut it apart to use on a page spread. I am not sure yet that I am going to be making collages in this book, but who knows??? For my second day, I did a two page spread featuring a bit of doodling and the oldest two of my three grandgirls.

I used the light box that my friend, Nancy, loaned to me to get a quick likeness of the girls on the right. It felt like cheating, but I really wanted it to look like them and my drawing of them freehand is still not always successful. I am planning to do some sketching of them later in this journal and then I will not care so much if they can tell it is them. They will, of course, be asking to see my journal next time I see them. They are my biggest fans and give me lots of praise and encouragement. You know that my next page (today) will have a picture of Little Miss 3 on it. I didn't forget her. As a matter of fact, I have the cutest picture of her from ballet class.

I wish I could somehow slow down this year so I could keep her 3 for a long time.

Today I have to run errands - the recycle bins are overflowing, we are out of water, milk, oj, eggs and salad fixings. I have a flannel shirt that the hubster got me for Christmas that is too small to take back and trade for a larger one. Office Max is having a "take 20% off everything you can fit in this bag" sale and I may stop there for some lined paper and printer inks. 

I have a date with the treadmill later this afternoon. I've added a page to keep track of my mileage and so far in just two days have jogged/walked more than 5 miles. I decided that posting my mileage would help me to keep those dates with that machine.

I saw a great tut on making a journal at The Sketchbook Challenge website and am going to try to make one with lined paper to take to Florida in February in which to document our trip. I will share it with you when I have it made. I am already thinking of ways to switch up the stitching to make it more my own.

If I am going to get to all the things I have planned for today done, I'd better get on my way. I hope you are all well and happy and having a great 2011 so far.