Monday, February 28, 2011

A New Grandgirl and More Books

The latest addition to our family arrived on Friday evening at 6:30 Eastern Time weighing in at 8 lb. 7 oz. and measuring 21 inches long. I am aching to hold her and will be home on Wednesday around dinner time to do just that.

I know that I am biased, but isn't she just the cutest?

I think I may have to try to sketch her with that lovely half smile in the first picture above. I know I won't do her justice, but she would be great practice for a baby face.

I also wanted to share with you an early sunset from last evening. As you can see in the picture the clouds dominated the horizon, so this is the closest to sunset I could get and still see some sunlight.

I took this one a little later and you can see how I've lost the sun behind clouds.

And now I would like to share with you another five books from the treasures I bought at Farley's last week.

We are leaving for home tomorrow and after making the acquaintance of my new grandbaby and reuning with my other three, I will begin making new blank journals. If you see any cover that completely captivates you and you'd like to order a blank journal for yourself, just shoot me an email and I would be happy to make one for you. There is an email link on my profile page.

Well I've done my hour and a half at the gym and am sitting here with my first cup of coffee and my third glass of ice water waiting to cool off enough to get in the shower. My sister and I are meeting a local woman who reads my blog and I am so looking forward to it. If she doesn't object I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.

We are planning to hit the road first thing in the morning and hope to spend tomorrow night just north of Nashville. That will put us into Jackson around dinner time the next day. As much as I've completely loved this vacation, I am happy to be going home.

I hope to have some pix and a story for you tomorrow before packing up the MacBook and heading out.


Friday, February 25, 2011

More Treasures and Blind Contour Friday

I took the five books that I showed you yesterday back to the trunk of the car and brought in 5 different ones. I am just realizing that I didn't just get some really cool covers to repurpose, but some very cool insides as well. Here are the outsides of these five:

This one is actually a daily diary.

The one called "Dailyguide" is actually a diary with interesting details. It is dated 1966. Here are a few random entries:

April 25

"Partly cloudy and cool morning. Cultivated our garden with tractor and opened up rows for Mrs. Price. Left for Pensacola about 10:30 am. Took Bess peas and strawberries. Cleaned berries ready for eating. Stopped with HB awhile, took him supper on way to TV station. On the air with Okaloosa Rally at 7:30. Off at 8:30. A light rain at L. Hill."

June 14
"about 70º at 6 am. High aobut 85º; partly cloudy. John and I hauled some more slag from RR. Took John to work at mill. After lunch cleaned and oiled fans. After John came home from work at 2 pm we hoed along fence and ditch at gardens. Rosa Lee worked at machine upstairs. Got summons for jury duty. Painted patched spots in wall at Clubhouse."

I have to quit reading it now or I won't get anything else done today. I remembered to do a blind contour and another almost blind drawing (I didn't have my glasses on and I was still a bit shaky from my hour and a half workout. It was difficult to control the squigglies for her fur).

The hubster has just gotten back from his workout and I think we will take a walk along the beach. I won't be able to stay out long because it is already 74º and it is almost 10:30 so I'll burn if I stay out too long....just back from the beach walk, as you can see I can't stay out long at this time of day. I've decided the thing I am going to miss most when I go home isn't the lovely temperatures (but I will surely miss them), but the ever-present sound of the waves.

I'm going to have a quick breakfast - maybe some peanut butter on whole wheat toast and then get in the shower and get this day started!!

I hope you are having a lovely, arty day wherever you are.....


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cloudy with a Chance of Palm Trees

I went down to the gym this morning, walked the treadmill for 30 minutes at 3 mph and each lap set the incline up 1º; then I did a circuit of the weight machines and then did a 30 minute speed interval on the treadmill. I also did 30 hanging leg raises. Needless to say, I was soaking, but it was cloudy and windy so I decided to sit out in the pool area and do a sketch of the very interesting palm tree out there.

It was quite cold in my wet workout clothes, so I really did a quick sketch on this one:

I probably should have drawn in the background, but I couldn't tell where the gray sky ended and the gray water began, plus I was getting quite chilly in my wet clothes.

I thought you might like to see some of the treasures I got at Farley's yesterday. I bought two large brown grocery bags full, but just ran out to the car this morning and brought in 5 of them. What do you think? Do you think these will make good covers for sketch books?

I am really looking forward to getting into journal making mode again once I am home. I must say for as much as I've enjoyed this vacation, I am missing my art room and am anxious to make a few more journals.

Of course, those will have to wait until I meet the new grandgirl (due any day now) and get caught up with my other 3 grandgirls. I am such a lucky Nana to have all my grandchildren living within half an hour of me. 

I've had my breakfast of Shredded Wheat and Bran with blueberries and kiwi so I'm feeling ready for the day. I'm just going to jump in the shower (I'm really going to get carefully into the shower) and get ready for whatever this day brings.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit me and for all your lovely comments. I hope to see you tomorrow.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sunny with a chance of Gumbo

I didn't get any art done since the last time I talked to you, but I had a great day with my sister today. We started out at a couple of second hand stores in Gulf Shores and then headed for second hand book stores in Pensacola. The second hand stores in Gulf Shores weren't anything special, but my sister did find a handful of paperback books for $.50 apiece, but we hit the jackpot in Pensacola.

We went to Farley's Old & Rare Books, Inc. and I thought I was in heaven. Not only was it full of wonderful old books, but the nice woman there came out of the office and took me around helping me to choose books with interesting covers and in many cases giving me a better price than marked. If you are into old books and are in the Pensacola area set aside a couple of hours and go to Farley's for a wonderful time. While I was being checked out I asked the lovely woman to recommend something nearby for lunch (not a chain). I asked specifically about a good place for gumbo.

She recommended Jerry's Cajun Cafe which was just around the corner on 9th Avenue. We went there and it was fabulous. The special of the day was chicken and sausage gumbo with a side of homemade potato salad. The gumbo came with a slice of seasoned french bread. Not only was it delicious, we couldn't quite finish it, and for both lunches the price was under $20. We are definitely going back with the hubsters for dinner before we go home.

I dropped my sister off at Portofino where she and her husband are staying and came home to take a nap. We are having the two of them over for dinner tonight. We bought fresh salmon at Joe Patti's yesterday and the hubster is making Linguini with Salmon and Tomatoes with a salad and a side vegetable.

Today is the official due date for my newest grandgirl, Zoë, so it probably won't be long now. I am so looking forward to meeting her and I really miss my other 3 grandgirls. I believe I am going to have 2 of them on Thursday and Friday after we get home and I am already trying to plan a weekend sleepover some time soon.

I do want to show a method of taking a picture and rendering it into a black and white with values to make it easier to see them. What I do is open the color picture in Photoshop and change the mode to grayscale; I then posterize it using Image > Adjustments >Posterize and set the levels to 4. You can play with the number of levels to see what you like. Here are two that I did today:

Time is getting short here now, but I am still really enjoying this wonderful vacation and am looking forward to coming here again next year. I hope to have some art to share tomorrow.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cloudy with a chance of Pelicans

It is pretty cloudy today, but is 68º already. I was planning to take my sketch book out to the pool area to draw one of the very interesting trees out there, but each time I get ready to go out the sun comes out from behind a cloud. I really don't want to sit out in the sun to draw. Perhaps later or I may just have to draw it from memory. That might actually be a good practice.

Meanwhile I have drawn a Cooper's Hawk whose picture I found in Google images. He could use more definition, but I am trying to limit myself to just a few minutes to sketch a likeness and I think he will do for that.

And, at the risk of totally boring you with my sunset pix, here are a few more. These are all from last evening but I couldn't choose just one.

Do you see all those birds? There is a phenomenon here where trillions of tiny fish come to the shallows and the birds gather for a feast.  I love watching the pelicans dive bombing. It is an amazing sight.

Oh, I did get a pretty nice sunrise yesterday too.

Today we are planning to go to Joe Patti's to get some salmon, shrimp and basa. We are also going to go to Joey Patti's seafood restaurant to try the gumbo. It is said to be the best in the area and the choice of the locals. I'll let you know.

I've done my hour and a half at the gym and the hubster is there now. I think it is time to thaw some blueberries and have some cereal. I bought some more kiwis at Publix yesterday and think that would be a good addition.

I hope to "see" you tomorrow. Take care,


Monday, February 21, 2011

Busy Weekend

We got just a little taste of what it must be like here later in the year because we are having temps about 15º warmer than normal and it was Presidents' weekend.

There was a memorial of some kind for a native, Yancer Spencer III, a surfer who died of a heart attack while surfing in Malibu. He was only 60 years old. He is attributed with putting Pensacola Beach and the Gulf of Mexico on the surfing map. Hundreds gathered.

This is the pier that I've taken pix of before. I've never seen people here before this.

This appears to be a news helicopter. There is a man sitting in the door with a large camera.

There was lots of activity in the air and in the water.

My sister and her husband called in the early afternoon to see if we wanted to meet at Flounders for a drink around 4. They drove over here and we walked over. Every eatery and bar between here and there was overflowing with crowds who'd come to the beach for the weekend. Traffic was backed up and there were long waits to cross over the bridge back to Gulf Breeze and the mainland. We were told it would be a 30 minute wait just to get a drink. We walked back to our place stopping at a small liquor store for beer and snacks and adjourned to the balcony to watch the dolphins and visit.

I was thrilled to see this display.

On Saturday, my sister invited us over for dinner. Her husband grilled shrimp marinated in oil and sweet/sour sauce on skewers.

This is just a small sample. He made oodles.

Meanwhile my sister made red beans and rice and her brussels sprouts side dish. You can find the recipe here. She substituted cashews for the pecans and added fresh mushrooms and craisins. Spectacular!

After dinner we walked on the sound and I took a picture of a sunset from a different perspective.

I am suddenly realizing that February is fast passing and it will soon be time to head for home. I have mixed emotions about that. I am so loving it here, but it is always so good to go home, too.

 I had the most wonderful news today. My son hasn't had a cigarette in 4 weeks. I am so glad and impressed. I used to be a smoker (before he was born) and I remember how difficult it was to quit, but I sometimes think it was the best decision I've made yet in my life.

I just got back from about an hour and a half in the gym and am all wet and sweaty and in need of some breakfast. I am hoping most of the weekend crowd has gone home so we can get the island back to the quiet little place it's been all along until this weekend. We don't have any specific plans for the day and I like it that way. We just roll with it and really feel that this is vacation.

I hope you are warm and dry and feeling good today. I will try to do some art this week. I've mostly been taking pix and visiting with my sister and her husband. I guess those activities qualify as art - the art of photography and the art of conversation .


Friday, February 18, 2011

Perspective Practice and Blind Contour Friday

I'm just back from the gym where I did two half hour sessions on the treadmill separated by 15 minutes of hills on the stationary bike and about 30 hanging leg lifts. I'm not sure I am going to return home any thinner than when I left, but I am surely going to be more fit.

I am now eating my daily bowl of Shredded Wheat & Bran with soy milk and blueberries and kiwi. The hubster eats cereal with blueberries and bananas nearly every morning because he should - he doesn't really care for it. I love it!

Before I went to the gym today I did a quick sketch and a blind contour of my special bear. Here is this week's rendering:

Yesterday evening I was looking at random city scenes using MapCrunch and found a street scene to practice perspective on. It is not very good, but I am going to keep practicing until I get to be better at it.

While I don't think I showed it very well, the closest building on the left is facing the viewer. The rest are away from you down a city street. I didn't try to draw the cars.

Yesterday we were pretty lazy in that we only walked the beach twice and walked a short distance at the Live Oaks park in Gulf Breeze. The rest of the day was spent visiting with my sister playing Yahtzee and working crossword puzzles. Today is quite a bit warmer than it has been and it is already too warm for me to be out in the sun. We are planning to try the gyros at a little cafe down the road and just have to decide whether we want to walk or drive. Right now I am thinking I want to walk maybe some time around 2 pm.

I don't think we'll be going on any day trips until the long weekend is over. There are considerably more people and traffic here on weekends and it spoils the laziness of our day trips. I will, however,  try to get out and get some more pictures to share.

I hope all is well with you and that I will see you tomorrow.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Another Sunny Beautiful Day

The weather this week is definitely making up for the rain and cold we endured for the entire week we spent here last year and so far no sunburn. I am being really cautious and smart to stay out of the mid day sun (I am after all neither a mad dog nor an Englishman).

Yesterday we went to Fort Pickens and had a perfect day for it. We walked around and I took a few pix. I found the stairs hard to climb without pain in my tail bone, but all in all it was a nice outing. Here are a couple of pix:

I think this is the state bird of Florida - the Northern Mockingbird.

After our walk around Fort Pickens, we stopped for lunch at PegLeg Pete's. I had the best gumbo I've had so far, even better than at the Native Cafe. I also had a Shrimp Key West salad without the cheese. A lovely lunch if a bit expensive.

I did get a chance for another quick sketch and chose to sketch one of the little duckies in the hubster's wood burning book.

I think his bill is a little wonky, but he's not bad for a quick sketch. I am trying not to go back and erase, pretending I am using ink.

Before the day is out I will have had my 50,000 visitor to my blog - I am verklempt! I hope you have enjoyed your visits here and when I get home I am going to make a special blank journal as a giveaway. I don't have book making supplies with me here. So watch this space for both a picture of the book and the instructions for how to get in the drawing.

The hubster just went down to the gym and the fog just rolled in. When he returns we are planning a walk on the beach. I am going to have to put some sunscreen on. I am almost sure I can even burn through fog!!

By the way, I have been taking Motrin since mid afternoon yesterday and my tail bone is not nearly as painful as it has been. I will continue every 6 hours until it quits hurting altogether.

Today is the last doctor visit for my dear Jena before her due date next Wednesday. I've already sent a package to Zoë Holdwick with a pair of little leg warmers. Imagine a person who hasn't yet made her appearance getting mail already. I sure hope they kept the label. I will be talking to my son later today to see how the doctor visit went and to find out any other news. Maybe if I am lucky Little Miss 7 will be there and will answer the phone again.

The forecast for lower Michigan today is 58º. The forecast for here today is 67 to 72. I wonder if they will lose all their snow? I hope the weather is nice wherever you are today and that you are having a wonderful day.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sketching, Wood Burning, Fishing and Another Sunset

I think I may have mentioned the other day that I fell hard on my tail bone on the beach. It really hurt, but I thought I was probably lucky to fall on sand rather than on hard ground. Each day it has gotten a bit worse and last night I didn't sleep well because every time I moved it hurt.

Needless to say, I only did about an hour in the gym this morning and didn't push myself too hard. I do think movement and getting the blood moving is good for an injury like this.

It was so foggy this morning I couldn't see the ocean at all and on the other side of the building I couldn't see across the street, but the sun has burned it off by now so when the hubster returns from the gym, we will do a slow walk before getting ready to head out for the day.

We are planning a visit to Fort Pickens and then lunch at Pegleg's. My sister and her husband took us to Fort Pickens last year and we loved it. They may go with us today. They haven't eaten at Pegleg's so it will be new for all of us.

We went to Michael's yesterday and the hubster found some oil colored pencils and colored his wood burning signs. They are spectacular:

Don't you just love these?

I'd really like to try some wood burning, but I'd like to try it with my own art and I think when I get home that is just what I am going to do.

Meanwhile I did get a quick sketch done again yesterday. It is a mill scene in the wood burning book that I tried to capture.

While we were walking the beach yesterday evening I happened upon this cute scene. I like to think it was a pelican giving a seagull a fishing lesson. Actually I think it was a pelican fishing and a seagull hanging around to see if anything would be dropped.

And here is the pelican enjoying the fruits of his labor:

Finally, here is last evening's sunset:

Also while walking yesterday the hubster and I found the fourth small sand dollar so now I have one for each of my little girls. I called my son yesterday and talked with Miss 7. She was just reading the letter I sent her and opening the Valentine's card that Papa sent. I talked to my son to find out that the last doctor appointment before next Wednesday's due date is tomorrow and all appears to be right on schedule. I am so looking forward to meeting this newest member of my girl tribe.

I talked with Little Miss 3 four times yesterday. The first time I called her Mom and then talked to her. She almost broke my heart because the first thing she said was, "Can I come to your house today, Nana?" She promised to have lots of hugs and kisses for me when we return. Later in the day my cell rang and it was her again. We talked for a little bit and then I lost the connection. She called right back and talked to both of us. When the phone rang again and it was her again, I asked to speak to her Mom because I thought she was playing with the phone. My daughter is working on numbers with her and by the third call, she remembered the number herself and didn't need any help.

I did find out that the weather has been above freezing at home and is expected to be in the 40s and may even reach 50 this week. The snow is melting fast and my kids and their kids are thinking Spring.
Hope you are well and warm,