Psalm 86 verse 15
and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.
and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
not easily angered,
immense in love, and You never, never quit.
I am currently knitting another scarf for my nephew. Last year I knitted him a scarf in his his two favorite colors: hot pink and turquoise.
This year he decided that he liked the turquoise yarn so much, that he requested a scarf done entirely out of that yarn. It’s a fuzzy yarn from Hobby-Lobby, and it actually knits up to be a very soft scarf done in just the knit stitch. Easy, mindless knitting. Yay!
And I’m using a circular needle made from components of my Denise Interchangeable Needle System, instead of two regular knitting needles. I love the Denise needles because they’re plastic. Soft plastic. I like how that makes them quiet to knit with. And I also like how they’re not cold like metal needles and that they are somehow softer (more resilient?) than wooden ones. And I like how there isn’t a straight needle, poking at my ribs.
Apparently, it's yet another one of those Goldilocks things:
this one is just right. J
And circular, just cuz that way I don’t have to keep up with a second needle. It stays all together this way. I also like how the scarf just hangs off the cable onto my lap. I do want to try Addi Turbos sometime soon, but for now I just grabbed these outa the closet. And that’s the beauty of the Denise Needle System -- you always have the right size needle on hand.
So now that I’m almost through, I can’t wait to finish it and work on something of my own. Like a Vintage Bubble Bag. (Oops--I bought the yarn for it already!)
Besides, I don’t generally enjoy working on “assignments”, knitting or otherwise. I guess that’s why I never enjoyed doing calligraphy as a business. As soon as I got a commission, I couldn’t wait to get it done and off my table, so I could go back to my own stuff. Plus the pay was never worth the grief and hassle, but that’s a whole ‘nother chapter. Sheesh, maybe a whole ‘nother book! J
Anyway, I am such a process-knitter (I enjoy the Process more than the end Product) that I will putter away at it until it’s finished, happily ignoring how slow a knitter I am. I tell you, glaciers move faster! Oh well, it’s a good thing my nephew doesn’t need it for this winter, because at this rate, he’ll get it for the 4th of July! haha
So, what are you working on??
Lucky Dog J
We’ve had a little raccoon come up during the day lately, which is neat, but it also concerns us a little.
You see, normally the only time we see raccoons during the middle of the day is in May and June when the mommas are either pregnant or nursing, and they’re so hungry that they come for food day and night, anytime, any place.
But this little guy not only started coming during the day, he’d stay. And he’d stay and stay. Hours at a time.
Now all the other raccoons eat and then leave. But not this one. He would come and eat, and then (since it was bitterly cold) he would tuck under and curl up and sleep. For hours.
It’s like he would be sitting up and then tuck his head straight down to his tail and curl up into a tight round ball. Nothing was exposed to the elements this way. No paws, no face, just a round mass of fur. So it really was brilliant on his part, and he kind of looked like a giant, furry pillbug, all rolled up into a ball.
So naturally we named him Roly-Poly. J
Now, we’ve been feeding the wildlife enough years to know that when you put out free food you get the cute animals, but you also get the sick and the lame. That’s just the way it is. Frankly, they need the easy food the most, right?
So, we’re hoping that Roly-Poly is just being smart, hanging around taking naps and eating snacks, and not something worse. Cuz it’s just not normal.
In fact, we’re always kind of glad to look out and see that he’s gone, if you know what I mean.
Kinda like that goldfinch the other day that crashed into our window and knocked itself completely unconscious for hours. We were thrilled to look out and discover that it had finally woken up and flown away. Oy.
It’s fun to feed the critters, but it’s hard when they literally die on your doorstep.
We’re hoping for the best for little Roly-Poly.
And so far, so good. J
To all of us makin’ it through this hard winter…
Lucky Dog J
It is rare that I find a new piece of music that really and truly feeds my soul. I don’t mean to be picky, I guess I’m just not that easily moved or something. When I do stumble across such a song, it’s practically a life-changing event for me. J
So when I found a new piece by Chloe on iTunes last night, I was in love. Mr. Man did all the techno stuff to get it onto my iPod for me, so now I am set to OD on it today in the studio. (!)
Music is such a personal thing. What one person dances to, is nails on a chalkboard to someone else. But if you’re curious, you can check out one of Chloe’s songs here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddL4s1D2XXw
Now, you may prefer classical or country & western, or blues or jazz, but the point is, I hope you listen to some wonderful music and nourish your soul today.
There’s hardly anything as powerful as music to soothe the savage beast within, and heaven knows, we’re all stressed-out enough to need some serious TLC.
So I hope you play your favorite song for yourself today.
I’m going to.
May composers everywhere be inspired and flourish…
Lucky Dog J
Here’s a little postcard-sized bit of fun that I made this afternoon after doing my usual practice session of pointed pen and broad-edged calligraphy. (Gotta get and keep that hand in shape!)
As much as I love calligraphy, and as long as I have studied it, I still have a thing for hand-printing. A major thing. I don’t know why. It is just as “me” as it gets, or something. J
And I have been playing with regular pastels for some time by “wiping” them onto paper with a tissue. It’s so easy and fun, and such a great way to add color! I used removable painter’s tape to mask off the stripe before I applied the pastels.
The quote reads: “The secret of patience is doing something else in the meantime.” (Spoken like a true knitter, ha-ha!)
To more patience and good distractions…
Lucky Dog J
Well, I am worn out. Tuckered out. “Tarred”. (tired)
My grandmother used to say she was “tarred”, in her sweet Southern accent. I would say, “as in tarred and feathered”, and she would say, “yes, but mostly feathered.” It was a joke between us. J Maybe you had to have been there.
But yes, I am just a wee bit “tarred”. I have been outside picking up sticks. Yes, sticks. Don’t I lead a glamorous life?? This ranks right up there with scooping the cat pan. J
The bread loaves are in the oven, rising, the baked chicken breasts are diced and in baggies in the freezer, but the main To Do Item for today was tidying up outside.
You see, with all this ice and wind and all the winter storms, there is the inevitable tree limb damage. And while the damage is, in most cases, very minor, it’s there. There were a few 10-15 feet limbs that I cut up, but mostly it is 18 hundred million little cottonwood sticks on the ground, and they are not going anywhere. They have to be picked up, one by one.
And today is the warmest day of the 7-day forecast, so it’s the day to do it. It’s the best weather we’ve had in quite awhile to be outside -- 59 whole degrees! Whoa, heat wave! Don’t get excited, the dreariness will return just in time for the weekend. L Whew, what a winter we’ve had!
So guess who has been outside this afternoon picking them up? Me with my slowly-healing back, bending over for each CrAzY stick! I tried to pretend to myself that I will get a nickel for each stick that I picked up, but even that game doesn’t help much after awhile. The promise of ice therapy afterwards, though, does. Sheesh, I never thought that lying on ice would ever be a reward.
This is where having a nice, big treed lot comes back to bite you. Ah, well, it is a very small price to pay for all that beauty. Maybe I will chant that to myself when I go back out and pick up 75 thousand more sticks! Because I haven’t finished. I’m just taking a sorely-needed break.
Anyone up for a bonfire?? J
We finally got our new camera!! J
(Does anybody else appreciate the irony of me having to go get out my old pocket point-and-shoot to take a photo of the new camera, or is that just me??)
The camera is a Panasonic FZ35, 12.1 megapixels, and an 18X zoom. We chose it because it was a superzoom, and especially because it’s so lightweight. Under one pound.
Now, it doesn’t fit in a pocket or purse, but I already have one of those. And as much as I rag about it, for a tiny little camera, it’s really pretty great. So now we have the best of both worlds. J
Here is a shot of one of the red-breasted woodpeckers that come and eat the suet. I think that’s a fairly decent photo, given the low light and the fact that this is still technically a point-and-shoot camera. (Click on the photo if you want to really see the crumbs on his beak!)
I figure that if I need something better than this camera in the future, I can always get a real DSLR. This, from someone who uses the Intelligent Automatic mode! Ha-ha! (But I do want me some good wildlife pix!!)
Even then, though, this camera will not likely be outgrown. It will still be a perfect travel camera. Did I mention how lightweight it is? J
To fewer blurry photos…
Here is an abstract pastel piece that I painted on Friday. I used my Panpastels and some black charcoal paper that I happened to have.
The piece measures about 6 inches square, and while the photo doesn’t show it, I matted it in a black 8x8” mat.
I actually create the real piece when I am matting it, moving the mat window around until what I see pleases my eye and harvesting the composition then.
I feel like I am back in Kindergarten when I use my pastels, and truly enjoy playing with pure color. Especially on black paper. The colors on a black background remind me of jewels on black velvet. Yummy!
And I know abstracts aren’t for everyone, but I just love getting lost in the shapes and colors and textures. J
I do struggle, though, with feeling like I “have” to add some words to the piece, just because I’m a calligrapher.
I keep telling myself that I can make both… Pieces with words and pieces without. Just because I’m primarily a calligrapher shouldn’t mean that I “have” to do anything, right?
What is it that Loretta LaRoche says?
Don’t “should” on yourself! J
And I have really tried to get the lesson that you should make stuff that you love, and not worry about anything else. Like whether abstracts are popular, much less what other people think, or heaven forbid, if they will love it. But it’s a hard lesson.
It just is.
I try real hard to ignore all that and just play.
Recently, though, I have realized again that I make better stuff not only when I create something that I like, but also when The Making of It makes me happy, too. When I enjoy the actual process. And this piece is a sample of that.
Now if I really had moxie, I would spray some glitter on it! Ha-ha! Maybe on the next one. Then I can have 4 categories: with and without words, and with and without glitter. Ha-ha! J
To more joy in creating,
Here is a little sample of my Ornamental Penmanship that I have been working on. I have decades of experience with the broad-edged pen, but not so much with the pointed pen. But I am learning. Slowly. With lots of hours at the drafting table.
Maybe someday I will graduate to being able to write whole sentences! J
(p.s. You can click on the image to see it bigger.)
So, I have (finally) started reading my new book that Mr. Man gave me for Christmas, Heaven by Randy Alcorn.
It is so cool! He starts right off at the beginning and de-bunks the typical “harps and clouds = boring” notion that most people have of Heaven. Forget any vague ethereal concepts you may have had. This is different.
He goes on to explore what living on a brand-spanking-new Earth might be like. Ya know, as in “a new heaven and a new earth”. Wow. I haven’t gotten much past the first couple of chapters yet, but I think it’s going to be a really neat book. A fresh perspective, for sure.
Imagine getting to live on a totally unspoiled planet Earth. What would that be like?? I mean, there wouldn’t be any diseases or parasites. That means no mosquito bites or tick bites! Yay! In fact, no Dark Side of Nature at all. No pollution, no fear, no greediness, no hatred, no scarcity… no tornadoes! haha
Only good stuff all the time.
What joys will there be for us to experience?? We might get to take a nap in the curve of a tiger’s belly or hike near gorgeous waterfalls and never get winded, or have butterflies land on our fingertips!
How many flowers would there be??? Oh my! J
Just joy and abundance and goodness! It’s mind-boggling!
I mean, this old earth is pretty majestic as it is, so who knows what the new one will be like?? Whatever it is, I just know it’s gonna be spectacular!!! J
What would be your favorite part???
After seemingly weeks of dreary grey days, we have sunshine and blue skies today! Man, oh man, I just did not realize how much I missed them!
Sunshine and blue skies just feed my soul. And apparently I am not the only one who has missed the patches of warmth.
Even the deer were out and about in the sunlight. Usually the deer wait for dawn or dusk, but today I spied them out at lunchtime, nibbling at anything green they could find.
Brilliant blue skies is one of my favorite things about
It has become my favorite color, if it wasn’t already.
I can almost feel my eyes craving some of the bright sunlight.
I’m gonna go soak up some rays while I can…
“Better done than perfect.” -- Unknown
It’s hard to believe that in all my art and calligraphy circles that I had not heard this quote before. After all, I suspect perfectionistic tendencies plague a lot of us. But I read it in one of my knitting mysteries, and apparently it is well-known in the quilting and needlecraft world.
All I know is, I need to chant it to myself daily! J
Every year our local calligraphy guild has a potluck and Christmas card exchange at the end of January. And every year, I spend January scrambling for card ideas and trying to get my cards made by the day of the party.
So, guess what I did all January?? J
Yup, the party was last week, and I barely got the cards ready in time. In other words, business as usual. Oy.
I had such trouble this year coming up with an idea. Oh, who am I kidding? I have trouble coming up with an idea every year! In fact, I had given up making Christmas cards years ago, feeling quite tapped out. Lately I have only been making them for this party, and even then, under great duress.
Stuck for ideas, I decided to use my camera to make copies of my calligraphy. That would help. And then I could glue them onto some pink coverstock paper that I already had. (Yay, it was the right color!) Okay, so far, so good. I even discovered how to easily print 9 photos per page on my computer printer.
So, I printed them out, trimmed them with my exacto knife and metal ruler, and began looking for collage fodder in the right colors. I love to make 3D collage stuff, maybe I could go that route.
I found some stuff that I really wanted to use, some pink and teal tulle, but it didn’t work out for various reasons, so I decided to go with a simpler idea of silver metallic pinstriping. (My middle name should be Simple. Oy.)
I placed the photo on the card and it definitely needed some kind of mat and color behind it, to set it off from the cardstock. But as big as my paper stash is, I couldn’t find any paper the right shade of green. Everything was too yellow-green. Everything except this little scrap of marbled paper from who knows where, which was way too little to use.
I had resigned myself to an unmatted photo that looked horrible, when in the middle of the night, my brain hit upon the idea: scan the marbled paper and print it out onto coverstock!
After that, it was just a matter of assembling the ingredients.
The metallic silver is pinstriping (self-adhesive, no less!), from an auto parts store.And for gluing without wrinkling the paper, I used self-adhesive stickers that scrapbookers use. (Thanks for that idea, DP!) And I’ve found that using my exacto knife to remove all the backing pieces is the easiest way for me to do that step. Next year, I may just use double-stick tape!
Next year? You mean I need another idea for next year???? J
To a ridiculously over-abundant wealth of ideas in the future…
Today I am posting two photos of our snowy creek that Mr. Man took with his iPhone. Aren’t they beautiful??
He was down there yesterday putting out more deer corn. The deer have been pretty hungry with all this snow. They eat as much as we put out, so we have to ration their food cuz I swear they would eat us outa house and home if we let them!
I had been feeling so sorry for them, thinking of them huddled up somewhere together, under a bush or something, trying to stay warm…
Then we saw a little herd of 5 of them, bounding through the snow, acting quite frisky! Ha! So much for sympathy and empathy!
But the raccoons. Now, the poor little raccoons probably are huddled up somewhere together, trying to stay warm… J