Monday, June 27, 2016

Achille's Heel

Achilles' heel

An Achilles heel is a weakness in spite of overall strength, which can actually or potentially lead to downfall. While the mythological origin refers to a physical vulnerability, idiomatic references to other attributes or qualities that can lead to downfall are common.    wikipedia

Truth be known I have a couple!

It has been incredibly cold and rainy this spring.  I don't do cold real well.  So I've been huddling under a blanket and...

I wish I was as committed to my hobbies as I am to reading.  I had managed to 'control' my reading for the last few years and I was doing so well I treated myself to a 'free' e-book site.  Not good.  Especially with chilly and snugly added to the equation.  I did get a great list of art books for the grand kiddies and got them in from the real library.   I have a good focus for the next year!  Now libraries, even small town ones,  have due dates and require drives into town during their work hours.  A download is just a click away.  vbsigh  So I deleted my link 24 hours ago and so far so good!
When we are able to get out and cut grass we get that done but another downpour puts the greenery on a dash for blossom or bust.   This wooden tower fell over with the soggy soil, old wood, high winds and heavy, lush vine.   :(  So now a new structure is added to the list.  Two steps forward and one back.  grrrr  Actually just one hour east of us they were evacuating cottages because of fires.  This weekend they evacuated because of flooding and road washouts.  sheesh!  I shall be thankful as wade through the grass by the clothesline.

 But help has arrived as the grand kiddies spread their own sunshine all around.  Who can resist that???

My Rooster can't run as fast as he used to.  Shoot, neither can I.  So our son in law has the barn doors on his list.  'Course our fields are soaking wet so my farmer actually ordered some top soil so we could get to the flowerbeds on the south wall of the house.   I did add a few more cement pavers to an open space and I think I may have the dogs kafoodled!

When we can't go out we stay in and my Rooster goes into handyman mode as old plumbing meets new technology.  It didn't help that I ordered the farm sink a few years ago and the new improved sink fits the new style of Ikea cupboard I chose.  eek!  Its all good.  My guy is of the old school who can improvise and now can swear in Swedish!  The pull out drawer under the sink needs 1/4 inch  to clear the plumbing.  Since the leaks are all stopped, tweaking was NOT an option so I have a little notch cut in the back of the drawer.  Ha, garbage pail will hide that!!!

My DD#2 has persuaded me to let her help me downsize.  I told her I have been but I'd have another look around.  Ahem!   Now every week I cart a truckload of stuff, weather permitting,  for her to store in her basement until... ;>)  Now she has made lots of money selling stuff that I had already passed on to her. (She is a real minimalist)  Course some stuff needs to sneak past the grand kiddies as 'everything' is their favourite.  lol  But she has sold some old toys I had passed on and has bought them new/better ones.  The Rooster has made me carry a few things back into the house and one yes-no-maybe so is on hold in the girl's bedroom while I reconsider.  $25 so far and a dresser is pending!   But things really are feeling more spacious.

Because...

We REALLY are downsizing.  We have had to admit that we are not able to keep up to the maintenance this amount of acreage requires.  It has been a process and my farmer has taken a bit longer to 'let go and move on'!   I'm always up for a change and can hardly wait to see what is gonna happen.

My personal/physical achille's heel is actually my hands.  I am afflicted with eczema and that is such a bummer for mixed media.  But one must suffer for ones art!  Right.  Also cheating on the diet contributes so I'm back on the wagon and that will also improve my overall mental well being.   I have two rooms to paint and the kitchen to touch up but I'm optimistic.  Garden soil is a problem but I now have good leather gloves.  I should have got those years ago as they are SO much better than the cute cloth ones!

I know my regular blog friends are gonna groan.  When I confessed my transgression to the Rooster he just shook his head. Full disclosure-   But I bought another planner.  Start today.  I know. I know. What can I say. There is just 'something' that makes me feel warm and fuzzy about personal planners. I do plan on scheduling 3 blog posts a week as this 'whenever the fancy strikes' plan isn't working.

If I swear in Swedish will you believe this is the last one?  Okay, okay. But I think I'll blame it on my heel!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Faerie Nice Summer

The blossoms on the trees and shrubs in the bush, along the ditches, and in the flowerbeds has been amazing this year.  My containers are a bit disappointing but summer has a only just begun.

Then I invited the faeries to come play


The bed along the house wall is a magnet for the dogs.  :(  I asked the faeries to get creative.  (I wish they knew hoe to work the phone so. i could use their talents to improve my cell phone post!


 I used landscape pavers and some old lab sinks to cover up as much of the dirt as I could to deter the dogs.  I have learned to keep an eye out for deals on large pots.  The sinks will work till I upscale.

 Then I invited the grand kiddies to come and help the faeries.



Josh did an aquatic theme and even went to the ditch for a snail.


Eliana has quite a fancy collection but insisted that hers include a clothes line.  She always manges to surprise me.

 Jolina is no surprise.  She wants wee animals included in her vignette.

 I have one smaller sink to place and some boulders to remove from the front corner.  The large rocks were my first attempt to thwart the dogs.   :/

Hopefully I can showcase the finished result with a larger keyboard, successful landscape plan and no paw prints!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

fifty percent

The goal for downsizing is to get rid of clutter and reduce our stuff by 50%.  A good place for the computer was the upstairs hallway but renovating for a desk area is not in the plan.  And besides which the big computer will not playing nice once again. (I am looking for a new techy.)  So the next best place for its uglyness is my art room.  :€

Now that is where my old back up lap top sat and played my inspirational music.  But it is being cranky as well.  So I am reduced to my phone which will result in my being cranky.



I am somewhat tempted to reduce technology by more than half but I did want to let my faithful followers know I am still around and now that I have my workspace cleaned I shall be attempting to mess it up again.

 But before I lose what it has taken half the morning to....

Friday, May 27, 2016

I Quit


     

                                                                 Isabelle... frankly: No entry
 My job, that is!  My foray into the job market, such as it was, lasted only a few years and degenerated into making cute crafts.  I don't 'do' cute crafts with any kind of enthusiasm.  So I have retired.  That snort you hear is from the Rooster.  He says, no retirement for me!   ahem...   Seems I am back to being a 'kept' woman but I steadfastly refuse to clear a shelf for cook books.  (see below)   LOL

So I spent my last cheque on art supplies.  'Course I am going to have to quit spending money I no longer earn.  Rooster?  What kind of pie did you request?   Ha, I don't do pies either.  :(   But he is good to his old biddy but doesn't quite understand why I need more when he looks around at two full rooms.  :O  The wee paycheque did eliminate long discussions!  vbsigh

I also got two inspiring books.  E books, though cheaper, are not very satisfying for thumbing through and then propping open for reference.  ;^)   But I also need to quit looking for empty spaces in my bookcase.  There isn't any.

But the local library never seems to tire of my request for books.  The one gal is retiring but I'm sure she has trained her replacement to accept my various lists. My list never end. These will be for the grand kiddies and art 101 which I will endeavour to keep from becoming too cute!

And I must never quit learning myself.  So if a children's book works...

I do have lots to do so the rain could quit anytime.   Weeds never quit and  I have a few more flower beds to tidy up.  :) 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A memorable weekend


The Victoria Day weekend can be lots of things.  The Rooster and I, his chick, were discussing that it is likely THE holiday that is most looked forward to by Canadians.  The long winter/spring has lost its grip and summer is flinging her finery all about.  True, sometimes her snow white slip sometimes shows, but it is only a tease.  We know summer is on her way!

The bedding plants are ready to be designated as the next thing first.  Rain is on the radar.  My hope is to get the majority of mine in the ground.  The Rooster will do the veggie beds.

The dandelions have gotten away on us.  Again!   They will have our full attention come fall.  But the flowerbeds have the fewest weeds ever!!!  My pansies tend to over winter occasionally.  This fern leaf peony was a splurge last year and I'm delighted it is possibly as hardy as the old garden peony.

We made slow but encouraging progress on the kitchen.  The Rooster is muttering about giving up his contractor/handyman papers but when he gets the quotes he quits crowing and spreads his wings.  Thanks, dearie!

Before we cut the grass we donned our rubber boots and grabbed the pruners and headed off along both sides of the driveway and ditch that fronts our property.  Those gosh awful, nasty, disgusting forest tent caterpillars had a significant foothold on the trees.  So we cut off all we saw and burned them.  :(  None too soon as they were already beginning to travel away from their nests.  Then after we cut the grass we had to deal with the wood ticks.  sheesh!

I luv the smell of chokecherries as the smell of the blossoms wafts in the windows.  I like to hear the birds moving about in the branches.  Unfortunately black knot and  forest tent caterpillars have an affinity with the bushes, of which we have many.  But there is nothing like chokecherry jam (or wine)  if you can pick the berries before the birds all descend!

It is on my mind to make a garden journal.  I had set aside a kit with a fabric foam cover and rings for it and gathered some scrapbook paper.  Then I remembered the bulb book I'd gotten at the thrift store and  think it will serve better as a 'year in the garden' book.  So far I  have removed the inside pages and used black gesso on the cover.  I am taking lots of pictures.  I also discovered some flowers I'd dried and I may try some mono printing

 I just finished Queen Victoria's biography and watched the movie Victoria.  She was a very memorable and  creative lady!   Now if I can only be half as dedicated to journaling my memories as she was!  ;^)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Spring rush

The rain seems to have quit but the frost sure hasn't.  I'm still dragging the transplants in and out.

But in spite of lawn mower breakdowns and repairs we are up to date on the grass cutting.  Last year's trees are all looking good.  Now to keep my lawn mower away from them.  I do like to cut as close as I can!  eek!

The kitchen sink is back within the top 3 items of the list.  I saw a question on face book asking if anyone hand washed dishes anymore.  Yes, and now I am back to the old basin set up.  lol  Can't wait to hand wash in my new porcelain sink! 

I'm just itching to play on a big canvas but the next thing to do is a handmade book for a young graduate.  This a young man who is into hunting, fishing, golfing so that will be a bit different from my usual.  I shall enjoy the challenge.

The Next Thing First has some changeable aspects this week.  ;^) I also hope the magpie nest in the upper right has its building permit revoked and the pair change locations.  They are not nice birds.  Fast nest builders but not nice tenants!  The robin in the potting shed is hoping I don't arrive too soon as well.  ;^)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Stick'n to it!

I have spent some time gathering a selection of monoprinting techniques into a binder.   I was ready for a bit of play time and it was also time to let the grand kiddies get messy in art 101.  With their planners still at the forefront of my mind, and a few Avery label sheets on hand, I decided that we'd make our own stickers.

I had the various circle labels which are an easy peel away sticker.  But I also had some plain sheets for customizing.  I got my samples prepared for class.

 Adding an extra student to the mix made it somewhat harder to stick to the plan.  sheesh!  This was the calm before the paint got on my good sweater!  :(  DD was hiding out in a quieter corner but to be fair, she had hinted at the new dynamics this young lady added to the mix.  We cleaned everything up.  Washing the gelli plates and supplies proved more fun than anything previous. :O

Once we were relatively dry we started cutting stamps.  Some of my punches are second hand buys and are not too very sharp which is challenging for the kids.   But it introduced them to future creative options. 

I did bring Jolina home with me and we stopped off to buy an art supply that I'd been contemplating.  ;^)  The Big Shot, which should help out future classes!  These two wee dies were extras and way too fiddly for me but they were definitely a hit with the youngest grand kiddie.   Now we can really roll out stickers!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Springing up the place.

I planted a grape vine years ago.  It was to fill a fence to separate the side lawn from the chicken coop area.  That darn vine did give wee glimpses of tiny fruit but I think it put ALL its energy into reaching for the tops of the tees.  I pruned.  And pruned!  It pulled one fence post over.  This year I began to rein it in one more time and got slightly over heated.  :(  "Rooster, bring that green machine of yours over here with a serious chain."  woosh!  Darn, wasn't that easy!  Shoulda done it before now.  Hmm, plant possibilities here!!!  But perhaps I/we should give this old potting shed some TLC first!
 
New gravel and a plan for the south wall garden bed.  I am delighted that this tree like shrub (dogwood) whose name escapes me, is looking like it is ready to take on feature plant status!

This year our summer plan and fall prep work has paid off.  We actually have a head start on the season's weeds.  whoo hoo!

The Rooster shouldn't even be looking at shrubs as we determined no watering new plantings this year.  The vision is projects like the aforementioned potting shed.  So we got some annuals which I'm thinking wasn't such a hot idea as I will be hauling them in and out every day till the frost warnings cease. :(  But it is hard to resist the optimism that spring brings!



Thursday, May 5, 2016

Flower Delivery

MARVELES

It does look like spring.  It even smells like spring.  Robins are hopping around.  And what better  way to embrace spring than with an armful of inspiration!

I won  the Happy Easter Spring Giveaway that my good friend Leslie McNeil, of Montana hosted on her new and very inspiring website- MarveLes Art Studios where she is 'Born To Live Art'!  She very generously shares her expertise with tips, tutorials and classes.

 I could not resist playing with all the flowers and I can't wait to clear some space on my sewing table.  I had tried collage a number of years ago and really liked it.  I had not yet and possibly can't claim a complete victory even now,  over my compulsion to be always flitting away trying something new.   But my KISS motto, which is now updated to Keep It SUPER Simple is giving me hope.  I am sew ready to embrace collage as a series .  If not first, it will be high on my priority list for doing The Next Thing First. And it will be a series 'cause this is just sew very much fun.  And the ideas!  She has the cutest Love Bug pattern.  And really, you can fill most any container with blossoms!  That spring umbrella!!!

Thank you, Leslie!   You are such an encouragement and inspiration for me.  I'm hoping that someday we will get to sit down across the table, under that big sky, with a cup of coffee and sniff these bouquets that friendship brings and count our blessings.  Bless you!