Monday, April 17, 2017

Eye Issues

I missed writing yesterday because I am fighting an infection in an eye.  It makes for lopsided everything!  Seems I spend a lot of time using wet hot pads, putting ookey ointment in my eye, and eye drops in between the ointment dosing.  The pills are easy!

So for a while, I won't be writing, but I will be back.

I hope that doesn't sound like a threat . . . .

Friday, April 14, 2017

Czarina No Longer!

This "Challenge Czarina" has been officially dethroned!  My tiara is gone, the ermine robe has been repossessed, and the scepter has been sent for re-plating and polishing.  My job with the Quilt Guild has been passed into the capable hands of a friend of mine (though she may change my designation in that "realm" as well!).

Now when I go to guild meetings, I can sit and natter away with those around me, knit rows that will have to be taken out because I wasn't paying attention, and/or doze off without worrying about having to get up to announce something.  

It had its moments, but I am glad to lay down the royal seal.  

Basically that was it for the day.  I got up so early to get to the meeting early enough to get a good parking spot, set up, and be ready to collect members' challenge quilts.  I am lucky enough always to have the help of friends so it goes smoothly no matter what I forget.  

Even so, the early hour coupled with the anxiety made me tired enough so I didn't do any packing when I got home.  I did some reading and then enjoyed the late afternoon on our sunny patio .

Everyday should end like that!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Best Laid Plans

Well, I was full of optimism today just like yesterday.  Now that the day is over, I have to admit I was a little disappointed.  The plan was to walk, do a few errands, complete two hours of packing up the dining room, and then have time to sew.

We walked, did our errands, and came home for lunch.  What?  Lunch time already?  Oh yes.  Darn, darn, and mumble, mumble.  We ate quickly, D went out to clean up the front yard, and I hurried into the dining room to empty the Chinoiserie*.  Here is a photo of the cabinet closed:

Actually, I added that photo simply so you'd understand why we use the name we do for it.  Due to the lighting, it looks brownish (almost a burnt sienna), but it's closer to a dark red.  Anyway, I worked until I had this:

Completely empty, hooray!

Oh, you noticed the red and white linens on the ladder (there are two ladders full of linens)?  I thought I'd get those packed up, too, but I was tired out and over my time limit.

Guess who didn't get any sewing done today!

nounplural chinoiseries 
 [sheen-wah-zuh-reez, -wah-zuh-reez; French shee-nwazuh-ree] (Show IPA), 
for 2. (sometimes initial capital letter)

a style of ornamentation current chiefly in the18th century in Europe, 
characterized by intricate patterns and an extensive use of motifs identified as Chinese.
an object decorated in this style or an example ofthis style:

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spring's Optimistic Affect

A rainy day turned sunny! The forsythia is definitely covered with yellow buds just waiting to burst into bloom.  It's one of those spring days that make me really glad to live where I do.  It's so much easier to appreciate spring when you have to go through the tunnel of winter to get there!  Oh well, it's D's birthday so everything looks lovely.

No photographs today because I had an appointment that took all morning, grocery shopping to pick up the leg of lamb and asparagus for D's dinner, and the rest of the afternoon packing the second china cabinet in the dining.  This cabinet holds the china and crystal we really use, but I still found a few "smalls" that can probably be put with the antique china I'm getting rid of.

So there's another point.  Here I am blithely and confidently saying that I am going to "get rid" of china and other highly collectible items.  Now, I have to confess that I know full well that most people now turn up their noses at the very notion of anything antique.  Just who am I thinking will want to purchase my "treasures"?  I am deluding myself, but I will try to find a dealer who understands that fashion is fickle and is young enough to be willing to wait until tastes change again.

Of course, that may take far longer than I have, but with the forsythia so cheerful, how can I not be?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Painting and Clearing Out

Painting was up and down for me today.  Sharon had to re-size my drawings for me as somehow (okay, it was a math thing) the ones I did were much too small.  After she did that I traced the drawings but decided not to transfer them onto the painting.  Instead, I thought my time would be better used if I indicated the tree canopy.  Doing that would insure I would have room for both the fountain's space and its sprays of water.  Again the branches were done with a very light wash.  I hope to be able to have painting time later this week, but I'm not sure that will happen.  

It's another. "I'll have to wait and see."

When I got home, I remembered that I had promised myself I would spend two hours working in the dining room to prepare it for painting.  Two hours is not enough, and I know that.  My theory is that two hours a day will make the process easier to tolerate.  I hope.  Here's what I did today.

One of the two cabinets, the linen press, is now empty.  The contents are in two bins in the garden room.  Since I had cleaned both the living and dining rooms from ceiling to floor after the kitchen renovation, everything was neat in the linen press.  The surprise was my reaction to many of the items.  I don't want most of them anymore!  There are beautiful pieces of antique china, some glass, and other odds and ends for setting an elegant table.  We haven't used them in at least twenty years, and our daughter has no interest in them.   It's the type of downsizing I can do. The other cabinet houses the china and crystal we do use, and that I will keep. 

Naturally packing all that up took more than two hours so I had no time to sew before dinner.  That's not good for my sewing plans!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Weekends Are Not for Laundry!

Today was to be "Fountain Day" as well as laundry day, but as so often happens, the fountain decided that it would rather wait.  But all was not lost - the laundry did get done!

And that led me to another curious curlicue of thought.  Laundry day. Why had I chosen Monday as the day for that chore?  When I was working, housework chores were always done on the weekends; weekdays were for helping with homework, or if it was math homework, just making sure it was done.  Then I had my own "homework" to do: correcting papers, writing lesson plans, reading, researching, etc.  Weekends were for grocery shopping, minimal housework, doing whatever our daughter needed done, family fun, and yes, laundry.

That line of thought led me to an understanding of why I was determined not to do chores on the weekends.  One of the gifts hidden in retirement is that you can do whatever you need to do whenever you want!  That's why I don't shop, do housework, or do the laundry on the weekend.

Did I say housework?  Sorry, my fault.

I don't do housework on any day.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Re-figured Figures

The sketch of D has been re-drawn, and I think it is much better than the first one.  Today I re-sized the drawings from the relatively large size of the drawings to fit in the painting.  Since each person was drawn with no regard to the other two the resizing was different for each person.  It took time, but I was able to get it correct.  What you see below are the drawings before they were re-sized:

I cut out the original sketch of D as I didn't want to use up toner on that disaster!  The figure of B should be slimmed down a bit, but I think I can do that when I transfer the drawing.  G's arms need to be check to be sure they are as they should be.  It's probably harder to see them because of the markings I made for joints before I drew the body (working from the inside out - which is also why you see the curve of her spine).  D is far better (that is a shadow on the right I forgot to erase not a slice in his side!).

Next is the fountain itself.  While part of me liked the idea of it being larger (therefore not in proportion) than it is in reality, I now think that won't do.  My paintings tend to be on the realistic side and a super large fountain would merely look out of place.  Working on that will be a challenge as the smaller it is the more difficult to get necessary detail recognizable.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Drawing for the Savannah Painting

It was a busy day made busier when I went to a meeting that I didn't need to go to - this week, anyway.  "It's next Friday," said my friend KR when I called her from the parking lot.  Sigh.  Maybe I should have written about "one of those weeks" instead of "one of those days"!

However, it was indeed a good day because I did get a little drawing done.  Remember those figures in the Savannah painting?  Today I found enough time to quickly re-draw all three (ignore the differences in size among the three) :

D, who is the figure in the upper right, was first one I drew today, and that's clearly evident.  His legs show movement, but the upper body is static.  He's also not quite right proportionally.  

Next is our friend, B, the figure to the left of D.  This one I think is almost there; to me it looks as though he is walking with his whole body. There needs to be a bit more definition in the left leg as to the wrinkles or shadows in the pants which will help balance the figure.

Finally is the female, G, also a traveling companion, in the lower left.  The body is much better than my first attempt, and as with B, she appears to be active: strolling, enjoying the day, and looking around.  I was working on getting the perspective correct in her left arm when I was called away by a visitor.  It needs further study and re-drawing.  And her right foot is way too large!

Not bad for a second try.  One more day to work, and I may have it.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

One of Those Days

Do you ever have one?  One of those days, I mean.  Today was one of them for me.  

It started out okay even though we had to get up earlier than we usually do and found that it was as gray and dismal as expected.  But we rallied and tore out of the house so D could rent a car (it's the weekend of the big bonsai show so he needs his own wheels), and after dropping him off, I could go get blood drawn.  Now that's not a horrible event to me but having to do anything without coffee or at least having coffee near-to-hand seems completely unnecessary.  Minor issue but still an issue.

After stopping at Starbucks (yes, I'm one of those coffee people), I returned home in order to help D get everything ready and in the rental car.  When he had departed, I found the address for the local SAS (San Antonio Shoes) store and scurried off to buy two pairs of shoes - one dressy, one everyday but both black (why make it too complicated? colors can come later) for our next trip.  The store is in Latham which I rarely visit, but nonetheless I was able to find it.  As an aside, here's why I went there.  SAS is a company that not only makes all its shoes here in the U.S.; it also purchases ALL its shoe leather from - wait for it - GLOVERSVILLE!!! I kid you not!  It doesn't guarantee you'll find what you want, but it certainly makes me try hard to find what I want.  Fortunately, comfort is more important to me than style (not their strong point), and I bought a pair of everyday shoes that are pure bliss. There's no other word.  They are the most comfortable things that I've ever had on my feet.  The only downside was that they didn't have a dress shoe for me.  Bummer.

Went to Fresh Market (a new experience), bought too much, and came home in time for the rain.  Just when I had to go next door to take care of the mail and cat for a neighbor who is away.  Naturally.  Then home for lunch when daughter called.  

She's having an Alexander's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, so I had to spend quite a bit of time listening and helping (as much as I could which wasn't much).  We were interrupted I swear 17 times which meant that 16 times either she or I had to call back.  You can imagine how much I got done by the time all was "said and done".  Right.

Still pouring.  Didn't feel like sewing so I thought I'd go up and do some drawing of the figures for the Savannah painting.  It was 4:45.  P.M.  Could I have done it no matter what time it was?  Of course.  But my "oomph" had flattened out entirely.

So I sat down and read Dissolution by C.J. Sansom.  It's the first of the Shardlake series which if this one is any indicator is a good series of mysteries set in Tudor England.  

Basically, it was one of those days.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Butterfly Wall Hanging

Here's a photo of a new wall-hanging-to-be which I forgot about when writing my last entry (actually, I am sure there are dozens of to-be's that weren't mentioned!).  The blocks that you see aren't all sewn together, and they were laid out on the kitchen table to determine the eventual order of the blocks.  D and I think this is it.

The two butterflies that have bodies have been sewn, but none of the others are.  

There is one other flying creature pictured in this photo; see if you can find what it is!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

THe Old Carrot Trick

There is a quilt underway (one I started several months ago) that I have managed to ignore for a while as well as one that I have worked on but not enough to finish it. Of course, each one has an "issue" that needs to be resolved which is why they are merely sitting quietly on my cutting board.  The first one I mentioned is a pain to cut out, and I suspect that one or two of the first blocks may have to be unstitched and re-sewn.  The second one is non-traditional and has been fun until it wasn't.  It turns out that the dark background can be seen through some lighter pieces in the foreground.  Naturally the foreground pieces are very fussy and time consuming to cut.
So I have decided that while trying to talk myself into taking care of business by completing the above two, I will cut out at least two more quilts that I am really eager to begin.  My thinking is that by doing this, I am coddling myself but also preparing enticements that I can't do until the less pleasant "chores" are done.

It the carrot before the horse trick.

Hope it works!  I'll let you know.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Back to Blogging!

My last blog was written on the day there was a death in my family at which time I wrote that my entries would be erratic but that I would write again.

Today is the day.  So I will start with the painting I'm now working on.  In 2015, we traveled to Savannah, a beautiful city.  I took loads of photos (unfortunately all on my phone), but for whatever reason, I never felt the time was right to paint.  A little over two weeks ago, I decided to face my fear and start with the subject I really wanted to do but was intimidated by.  

Forsyth Park is among the most beautiful park I've ever seen.  That's part of it.  But the real kicker is that it is the subject of many, many, many paintings.  Okay.  So what, right?  Mine will be just one more, but it will be pictured as I saw it.

Here it is after the second day of work.  

On the first day without sketching anything, I applied the first wash of color, and I was happy about it.  The focal point (the fountain) would not be in the center!  So on the second day, I figured that I'd sketch the focal point and the walkers.  If you are familiar with the park or have ever seen photos of this park, you know that the fountain is too large.  And "that's the way I like it, uh huh, uh huh"!

Now, the figures?  No.  At first I thought I was doing all right with them; all right, that is, until Sharon came along.  When she discussed the problem - they were too blocky, too static - I didn't get it . . . until she had me draw them her way on scrap paper, and then I saw what she meant.  

Her way of teaching me was to show me what she meant in a book entitled How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way.  It's a seriously good book that goes a step beyond the usual human anatomy text.  I purchased one right away, I can tell you!
Once I have the people sketched to my satisfaction, I will work on lifting (I mean erasing using a gum eraser) the figures on the watercolor paper and trace the newer, better ones.

I hope!