"If you’re going to be a writer, the first essential is just to write. Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow."
-- Louis L’Amour
Write, draw, paint. I imagine it's all the same... J
Mr. Man really outdid himself this year with all the presents. (!) In addition to all sorts of art supplies, books and magazines -- truly, an embarrassment of riches -- he surprised me with this 6 season set!
It’s official: I *love* NCIS!! I stumbled upon the reruns on the USA network this fall and have fallen in love with this TV show. But… up until now I’d only seen random episodes from various seasons. But now, we can watch them in order!!! Yay! I can’t tell you how happy that makes me! And ya know what? I never would’ve thought to ask for it. J
And then, he also got me this:
These are the most delicious girly-girl “jams and jellies” I’ve ever tried. It’s a set including a body scrub, body cream, shower gel and a lip balm. The lip balm is a minty flavor, and the rest are the most divine sugary almond scent.
(It comes in 4 different flavors: almond, lavender, pink grapefruit, and delicious mixed.)
They are made by 100% Pure, from QVC.com, and their scents are soooooo good. They use pure essential oils, not chemicals, are totally organic and maybe even vegan. I can’t do perfume anymore (the chemicals give me headaches), but these, these I can enjoy.
In fact, I have a caffeinated eye cream by 100% Pure that is vanilla-scented, and it is so delicious that you just about want to eat it! Yummy!!
This is a photo of the best Christmas lights in Edmond.There’s nothing like seeing it in person, but I wanted to share it with y’all anyway.
It is most spectacular, and rumor has is that the owners have Indian casino money.Isn’t it nice that they share their abundance with us??
The lights are motion-activated and the brilliant LED kind…The first time we drove past, they all came on at once -- it was a great surprise!And this year they’ve added some new lights:they’re white and go down sequentially, like melting ice, or like a meteor.Cool.
We love to drive around and see all the Christmas lights
with our dog.Don’t you?J
"The moon will be shadowed by the Earth starting late Monday and into Tuesday morning, the first such eclipse in nearly three years. The event can be seen from anywhere in North America.
Weather permitting, observers will see the moon enter the Earth's inner shadow, or umbra, at 10:33 p.m., with a red-brown shadow creeping across the bright moon. This shadow has a curved edge, a fact that was taken as proof to at least some ancients that the Earth is round. The sky will get darker as the shadow progresses across the moon, and more stars will be visible as sunlight reflected from the moon fades.
Unlike during a total solar eclipse, when the sun is blotted out, in a lunar eclipse the moon rarely appears black. Because of sunrises and sunsets around the world that scatter and refract light from the sun, the moon generally appears bright and coppery orange, or sometimes brown or dark red-black, depending on how much pollution is in the atmosphere."
And from Accuweather.com:
"It is extremely rare for the two events [a lunar eclipse and the winter solstice] to take place on the same date. The last such occurrence took place on Dec. 21, 1638, though this was only at the Greenwich meridian, according to Space.com. In the Americas, the eclipse fell on the evening of Dec. 20, 1638 with the solstice following the next day.
The next time the two events pair up will occur on Dec. 21, 2094."
Okay! The telescope is set up and we're ready!
Maybe I should go have some more caffeine...
It may be a long night! Haha
This is one of my favorite winter soups…
It’s full of fresh veggies and soooo yummy!
I had a recipe from my mother’s neighbor that called for ground meat, tomato juice and frozen mixed veggies, and I decided to bump it up a notch. If you ever make this, I think you’ll agree that the beef consommé soup and fresh produce are well worth the effort. If not, you can always go back to the original idea.J
I made up this soup the first day it snowed after we moved to Oklahoma. Mr. Man was caught in a traffic jam, as I recall, and I put the time to good use and made this hearty soup as he was driving home.
"Snow Soup” is much more fun than "Vegetable Beef", so I actually ran outside and got a scoopful of fresh snow and added it to the pot so I could really call it that. And while I don’t always add real snow to it, I do keep some snow in the freezer. What’s more fun than snow ice cream in July??J
So here’s the recipe. I do hope you try it. You brown the meat, open some cans, and chop some veggies while you watch NCIS. Oh wait. That’s me. hahaha
Lucky Dog ♥
1 lb. ground meat
1 onion, diced
3 ribs of celery, diced
2 cans of tomato soup
2 soup cans of waterJ
1 can of corn
1 can of Beef Consommé soup
1 T. sugar, optional
½ a stalk of fresh broccoli florets, chopped
1 fresh yellow squash, chopped
some fresh carrots, chopped
4 potatoes, chopped
whatever you have in your crisper—cauliflower, zucchini…
1. In a 6-qt. type pot, brown the meat, remove, and sauté the onion and celery in beef fat until translucent. (or however you normally do these things!)
2. Add remaining ingredients.
3. Simmer until veggies are tender.
(After browning things and adding the cans, I chop and add the dense veggies first, the carrots and broccoli, and then chop the rest while it all simmers, adding the potatoes last. They usually need only 5-10 min to get tender, depending on how small you dice them. And then it’s ready! Yummy!!)
In an effort to “stretch” myself and satisfy my curiosity...
Lately I have been preparing to attempt a little piece, done with some art journaling techniques that I have seen on the Internet.
I really like the art journal pages that have a bit of text showing through, and pieces with quotes made with typed words. It gives the pieces so much energy and visual texture. And lots of Busyness. J
I pretty much know nothing about art journaling, but I see these things online... And while I don’t know if it’s my “style” or not, I still wanted to try it out, ya know?
Most of these art journal pages seem to begin with white gesso, so first I had to buy some of that. (I had some, but it ruined--aarrgghh!!) Next, I needed some printed words to use. And since we don’t take the newspaper anymore, I asked Mr. Man to bring one home from work.
(Maybe I’ll go to a used book store and look at old books for my next Artist’s Date.)
So, I got out a piece of bristol board (heavier than most paper--to take the layers of gluing, but cheaper than, say, my Rives BFK), and I tore up some pieces of newspaper copy and glued them on with a gluestick.
Oh, and I found out by trial and error that if you glue on lots of small text but then, here and there, glue on some headlines at various angles, you get a lot better variety and contrast. Otherwise, it’s all the same and kinda dull.
And then, since I’m so weird about painting (haha), I painted the now newsprint-covered piece using pastels. What I do is, I wipe the pastel stick with a tissue and wipe the color onto the piece. It’s soooooo easy, it’s ridiculous. My kind of painting! LOL
(BTW, I used my Schmincke pastels rather than my PanPastels, for a softer color, but I plan to try out both and see if there’s much difference.)
Okay, then I globbed on some white gesso and spread it around with my fingers, and dabbed at it with a tissue to remove some here and there, and let it dry.
After that, the piece had some boring areas that looked like they needed a little “strengthening”. So I got out my new punchanella (AKA sequin waste--something else I learned about on the Internet) and, using the same blue pastel as I used on my piece (to echo the same color scheme), I put some very soft punchanella stencilling here and there with a stencil brush. And then with a tissue, I also wiped a bit more color on top of the dry gesso wherever it looked like it needed it. (where it looked a bit weak)
Then I brought the piece down to the kitchen and propped it up against the wall on the kitchen desk, where I always put my new pieces at the end of the day. I do this so I can live with them awhile, view them from a distance, and see what else they need. And also enjoy my latest creation! J !
After awhile I thought, it needs some words, but not calligraphy. And not gel pens or Sharpies, either. No, it needs words also cut out of the newspaper, to harmonize with what all is already going on. At least, that’s the way my brain was going at the time.
So I got the newspaper out again and “harvested” letters and words for my Scripture quote and glued them on. And then it was finished! ♥ Yay! ♥
However… I can sure see why most artists use words they’ve typed or printed out. It took tons of time to find the right size letter that was the right color and also the right kind of font. Good grief! Maybe some of that was because I only had one little ol’ tiny Air Force Base newspaper to harvest from, but still, it took a lot of time!
It made me smile, though, cutting out letters and gluing them on, sorta like a ransom note. (!) It takes me back to my junior high school days, when I would cut out pretty letters out of my Seventeen magazines and save them in envelopes. How weird was that?!? Ha-ha! I guess my lettering and my collage roots run deeper than I realize...! J
ANYway, I am especially thrilled with the results of this particular experiment because it’s so different from what I naturally do. Because it looks so jazzy and busy and artsy, and unlike what I usually do. (clean. quiet. simple.)
Yikes, I haven’t done a “Thankful Thursday” in awhile! It isn’t because I haven’t been thankful, to be sure… But now, wait. Before I get down on myself for that, I have to remind myself that these little Blog Ideas are to “serve” me, not weigh me down, and that I don’t need to dwell on any “shoulds”! Right?? Okay!
Today I am thankful for a funny little thing… I am thankful that a lot of my art supplies don’t go bad. J I have had paint get rock-hard in tubes and have had to throw out gobs of $$$ in the trash, and I just hate that, don’t you??
But today I am thankful that my little beads and ribbons and glitter wait patiently, sometimes for years for me to get inspired and pull them out and use them. And I did that today, and I am so happy that they were there, waiting for me, just as good as the day I bought them. (!)
So, today’s little piece, what I generally refer to as a “piecelet”, incorporates my new Casual Caps, written in neon green with a gel pen, and accented with lime green and chocolate ribbon and “bejeweled” with light green crystals. ♥
I guess that’s a new category for me: no glitter, glitter and “bejeweled”. Hahaha
Finally! Here are a few pages of the alphabet that we studied with Peter Thornton the other weekend. The workshop was entitled, “Casual and Inventive Caps”, and they are delicious! I don’t want to go back to using anything else! J
Now these photos are of my own samples, written during the workshop, so please take them with a grain of salt. I hadn’t been doing this but for only a few minutes or hours at the time, so please be kind and realize that I am just a beginner at this. Still, though, I hope you enjoy them!
(You can click on any photo to see it bigger, and even then use Ctrl + repeatedly for even greater detail.)
Peter started us off with straight Roman capitals done with a pencil, learning their proportions by family. We used a pressure and release technique, so the letters weren’t monolinear, but waisted.
Next we changed the straights of the alphabet to subtle curves, the key word being subtle. (Should the word “subtle” ever be bolded?? LOL) Anyway, the curves should be gentle. A capital H shouldn’t look like a barrel! J
Then the 3rd variation had us playing around a bit with deviating from the norm. Try crossing the E extra low… Instead of the stem stroke of a T being in the middle, try placing it toward the front of the crossbar... That kind of thing. Peter’s inventiveness in this regard was just amazing.
This next photo shows the progression of "straight" pressurized Romans, then more relaxed, and then more inventive:
And Peter was such a good teacher! He was so funny but also very informative. On several occasions he would use such great descriptive imagery that it helped you “see” and remember, instead of just trying to teach us an abstract form. For example, for the leg of a K, Peter said to imagine the graceful hem of a gown, draping across the floor. (!)
Jo Miller has some fantastic photos of his work on her blog:
The pressure and release technique took such concentration, though!! Whew, my eyes were stinging by that evening, for sure! But I really loved working with a pencil. I could erase my mistakes, for one thing! LOL But there was something freeing about using such a humble tool. No ink to spill… No gouache to mix… Just a pencil to keep nice and sharp. J
(BTW, I love love love the sharpeners I found at Staples. Peter gets out a knife and does it the “right” way, but I use my Staedtler Wedge Pencil Sharpener. You get 4 for a little over $4, and it boasts a 3-point fixed blade and all metal construction. Dime store pencil sharpeners may be cute and colorful, but I love a *sharp* and serious tool!)
Oh, and I need to mention that at first we worked on layout paper, even tracing the alphabets, but then switched to a nice toothy paper, like Arches Text Wove. And we ran outa time, but you can also make these casual caps with a broad-edged nib and also pointed nibs, so there’s a lot of material to explore for quite awhile.
(And do I need to mention how much FuN these caps are with colored pencils and gel pens?!) J
But, ya know, in a workshop there’s so much new stuff to take in that you just can’t absorb it all right then. It’s like sensory and information overload or something. And now that the dust has settled, I wish I could go back and take the workshop all over again. I might actually know what questions to ask now. Oh well -- isn’t that always the way it goes?? JJ
It was a most excellent workshop and I’d take another one with Peter in a heartbeat!