Friday, January 24, 2020

Watercolor Playtime

January is good for one thing...I unleash my artistic side.

This year I discovered a fabulous site for those of us budding artists who love watercolor but know pretty much nothing.  Let's Make Art appeared on my Facebook feed around the holidays with subscriptions and kits, and I loved their ebullient paintings.  After the New Year I discovered that they offer tutorials on YouTube AND they have free download outlines.  What a welcome inspiration and an easy way to learn!

Sarah makes me laugh as I paint along. She has a last name and no, I've never met her, but she feels like a friend and I giggle as I paint. She's so positive and upbeat and self-deprecating and supportive. Her motto is "be kind to yourself." A good reminder for me since there is a lot of trial and error as I dive back into watercolor.  I'm happy with my flower-filled truck bed, but I'm not showing you how the VW Bug turned out or the bunny.  Room for improvement!

So, art keeps me sane in the cold January winteriness.  If I must be stuck inside waiting for my garden to stretch and rediscover chlorophyll, then at least I have something fun to work on.

How do you keep you spirits up after the fun, color and festivity all disappear?

Friday, January 03, 2020

Vision 2020

I just plain love the sound of Twenty-twenty and the way it rolls off my tongue.

I can't separate it from the time when it was just a good thing to hear from the optomotrist.  Not that I needed one back when I possessed 20/20 vision and reading, threading needles and seeing distant hills clearly was so very easy. (I am grateful for bifocals!)

But onwards to the point:  a New Year needs a new phrase that encapsulates what I hope to achieve this year.  Last year was "complete".  And indeed, I completed many projects that were a long time waiting, and boy, does that feel good!  And I worked on making my personal life more complete.  Only to realize that all of us are a work-in-progress.

Of course.

For Twenty-twenty I've chosen "more or less". This will be a year filled with repeatedly asking myself whether I need more or less.  More of this friend or less?  More of chocolate biscotti or less?  More of couple time or less? More family time or less? More nativity sheep or less?  More spring bulbs or less?

I already find myself looking with fresh eyes and a different point of view as I move through my day.

I suspect that my pile of donation items will grow as I find that I'm happy with the cream of my various obsessions and willing to spread the remainder for treasure hunters at Goodwill or the SPCA Thrift.

I also figure that I will be more aware what people and activities I truly and deeply treasure.

I hope Life surprises me with unexpected choices in 2020. May it be a year of peaceful moments and quiet joy, of deepening love and rewarding friendship, of boisterous laughter and naughty puns, of children's hugs and doggy kisses, of healthy activities and a wealth of character, idealism and altruism.

Change is good, growth is good, as is stability and balance and forgiveness.

Keep the faith,

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Good Advice from a Chef

  Pursue your passion; 
spread love and joy; 
be kind and forgiving;
 be generous; 
enjoy every morsel—from humble street food to decadent fine dining; 
cook for the people you love. 
 Travel the world and seek out adventure.  
 Help others and don’t be afraid to the take the road less taken.

       Live your life to the fullest.

~Fatima Ali, age 29, Chef
Stolen by cancer, 1/25/19

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Magic at Our Fingertips

A blank page becomes

Swirls and curves, lines and slants.

More than words.

A spark between friends who've never met.

Everyday magic.

Thank you, Mary Oliver, for your one wild and precious life.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Once Upon A Blog

Once upon a time, I had this blog...

I refinished furniture. (I still do.)  I painted things. (Everything from cedar chests to terra cotta pots.)  I had chickens. ( Oh! how I miss fresh eggs.)  I grew flowers and veggies and dug a pond.  (I suspect that gardening might be passed down through the genes.)

I have a dog and a sweetie and two very grown sons and two grand-daughters--all of which I love very very VERY much.  (Not necessarily in that order.  I think.)

I took photos and posted fairly regularly.  I enjoyed the community and the friends I made as I shared.

What happened?

Picasa stopped uploading photos easily to the blogosphere.  Not a deal-breaker, but it added a degree of difficulty.  The Big Bloggers came to the party.  People stopped interacting on their visits and I missed the comments.  Facebook and Instagram became a lot easier than a blog--snap a photo, write a few words, and done.  And then Pinterest came along, heaven help us all.

I miss the days when blogging was at its height.  The days of my week revolved around the blog parties when everyone posted their latest.  Writing a good tutorial or sharing my latest accomplishment was a part of my daily life.  Taking a vacation and planning the best photos was a joy.  Visiting blogs was the same as visiting friends.  There was community and camaraderie and I loved connecting with people from around the globe.

Change is a part of life.  I take photos with my smartphone not my digital camera.  Picasa got rolled into a less satisfying photo editor.  My PC eventually became a laptop.  And my list of blogs eventually disappeared, but not before many lovely writers abandoned their websites.

Now?  I finally added some sites to my favorites so that I can read a select few blogs who shall remain unnamed.

I wish I could find my old list to see who's still out there flinging their hearts into the blogosphere.  I wish I could reach out to say how much you enriched my life and inspired me.  You made me laugh.  You shared  your home and your pets and your children with me.  I loved your photos and your individual style and your enthusiasm.

And now, here I am, realizing that I miss the challenge of writing cogently.  I miss sharing my thoughts and aspirations, my hopes and failures.  My daily life isn't filled with earth-shattering revelations and insights.  It is replete with small satisfactions and quiet beauty and bursts of enthusiasm.

I think that I might still have something to say even if only for myself.  I think I need to celebrate my own life and leave a record to look back on so I can say, Wow! I forgot I did that or Gee, I'm so glad I took that photo when the tree was small or Remember when?

It will be a challenge to rediscover photo-editing on a new platform (unless I can figure out how to magically bring Picasa back to usable form).  Because my photos were my starting point for any blog post.

Crossing my fingers.  You may see me here again.

Or you might not.  I might just be writing my life into a journal that no one will see but will satisfy me mightily.

Off to remember what my inspiration word for 2018 is.  Off to revisit my old PC and Picasa.  Off to look at drafts that were never posted.  And off to visit my other private family blogs to see if I should revisit them for family and future genealogists.

With a smile and a wave,
 Pogonip aka Roxie

Friday, February 19, 2016

Basics 101

I love DIY blogs but making a home both liveable and lovely involve more than horrible-before-and-inspiring-after photos.

The rules of basic home repair:

  • it ain't gonna be pretty (see Exhibit One, below)

  • your fingernails will not thank you
  • it takes forever
  • one thing leads to another.
The rewards of day one, meager but worthwhile--sinks that drain properly and don't leak.

Coming soon:  clean, mildew-free caulking around the tub!

Also, I have a growing feeling that uncaring landlords--who snapped up foreclosures, used them as rentals, performed not one iota of basic maintenance, and are now selling for an insane profit--will be reincarnated as cockroaches over and over, stomped on by homeowners for eternity.

Stay creative,

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Getting Back to Basics

The family Pinterest boards have been expanding rapidly while our son's house (gotta get a name for that) was in escrow.  Google has been consulted on everything from General Finishes Gel Stain colors, to Bosch dishwasher reviews, and from dog doors to French doors. There must be a hundred paint chips sitting on the coffee table.  I'm pretty sure we've evaluated every fifty-two inch ceiling fan in town for both looks and function.

Oh, how lovely it would be to plunge right into the fun stuff.  Paint and new faucets and furniture.

The first things through the door later today will be tools though.  There are three leaky sinks, one loose toilet, and caulk that needs to be removed and replaced.  No need to worry about the air conditioner with snow in the forecast, but gutters might be a priority since melted snow is dripping onto pavers tilted toward the foundation and seeping underneath the house just a bit.

Truthfully, it would be a relief to just schedule professionals to come in and tighten pipe joints and install seamless gutters.  Pity they cost big bucks that our first-time homeowner doesn't have.  He does have a genetic predisposition towards DIY and two parents with a little extra time who aren't afraid of power tools.

Patience, Grasshopper.  

Wax on, wax off.

The kitchen is functional as it is right now, but thank heavens transforming the cabinets from pink pickled oak to rich dark walnut is high on the priority list due to the convenience of restaining before he moves all his cooking equipment in.  Can't you just imagine how gorgeous this kitchen is going to be with dark wood against the granite?

Sort of like this inspiration photo.

Basics are inescapable but there's nothing like the enjoyment of actually seeing progress happen right before your eyes.  And I think this is the change our son is looking forward to most of all.

The Queen Mother always told us we had to eat our dinner before we got dessert. Dang it.

Holding creativity in check for the present,