Monday, December 20, 2010

Purple Mountains

I copied this from an art book I purchased.
Pastels on paper.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunshine Peace

My husband and I don't really 'need' anything so it is always a challenge to find the perfect gift. With my newfound interest in painting, I figured that was the way to go. I was also making a couple of mix tapes so I needed some cover art. As children of the [almost] 60's, I was trying to capture some of that spirit. This is what I came up with. 
 Acrylic on canvas board.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Salem-Shotwell Bridge

Salem-Shotwell Bridge, Salem, AL
Pastels on paper
This bridge collapsed a few years ago and was rebuilt in another location. 
I have tried to locate it, but have been unsuccessful. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Broken Cannon

I call this broken cannon because I had some trouble with the barrel of the cannon; it is bent. I did sketch this out before I painted it and was having trouble with the sketch. I could not 'see' what was happening until I painted it. This painting is a composite of two photos that I took; one of the cannon and head stones in the Conferderate section of Linwood Cemetery and some wisteria blooms.
Things I need to work on: Scale of the wisteria. These should have been larger. The cannon, not sure if the problem is DOF or vanishing point. Can you have DOF in a painting? Does vanishing point apply here?
Things I like about this painting: the headstones, specifically the large one that represents General Benning. The rocks in the foreground and the grass. Both add visual interest.
So it's back to the drawing board.  
Water color on paper

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Red Sky Sailing

I think I am learning a little more, or should I say am I applying the idea of 'composition' here to keep the eye moving in the painting. The scale of my boat is better in this one that the previous one and I like the shape of it better. I also tried to make my bird look more like a bird. I am still not really crazy about the clouds...partly because I have the scale wrong.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Golden Sail

I am gaining a better understanding of 'layering'. I like the color choices in this, but the water got a 'muddy'. 
I like the birds. I also like the boat, but I need to work on scale. 
I did not sketch this before painting. I will be sure to sketch my next attempt.
Watercolor on paper. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cap St. George Light

MMy second painting. I have a lot of work to do when it comes to clouds (and a few other things). 
I plan to keep practicing. The good thing is is the subject is easily identifiable and currently hanging in a place of honor in the repainted bathroom. From a photograph taken in May 2010. 
Cap St. George Light
St. George Island, FL
Painted on canvas board with acrylic paint.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Almost Finished

This project consisted of:
Paining - cabinets and walls
New - light fixture, faucet, rug, shower curtain, bowl brush and trash can
Nice to do - frame the mirror, glass tile on the counter top

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Octagon Barn

Drawing practice with water color pencils. 
I have a long way to go when it comes to trees. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bathroom Touch-Up

Now that Jeremy has moved out, we are going to clean up/repaint the bathroom. 
The walls will be painted Oyster, the cabinet will be painted dark brown. 
We are not changing the floor as it is in good shape. However, we are updating the other fixtures. 
Lighting, faucets, shower curtains. Maybe art. 
We have several holes and divets in the walls that need to be patched. 
We are hanging a curtain to keep as much dust as possible in the bathroom. 
Approximately 5 hours later, the holes are patched. 
The cabinetry is sanded. Everything is ready for primer.  

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Painting 101

For a while now I have wanted to translate some of my photography into paintings. I have absolutely no painting experience, with the exception of bathrooms, living rooms, and kitchens. This is my very FIRST painting. Very juvenile, I know, but at least I got some paint of the canvas (after a couple glasses of wine and some loud music). This was done with acrylics. I have also tried pastels, which at this point in time seem to be a better fit for me. I have more control of the color and blending. And I can work on my drawing a bit.
Stay tuned. 

Friday, October 08, 2010

It's About Time

My son's cat, Kat. She has been evil for a week with the packing. 
She knew something was up, just not sure what.
I wonder how she will like being an 'indoor' cat?
The room Jeremy is leaving. Actually, he has left it 2x before.
They say the 'third times the charm'.
Let's hope so. 
The moving of the possessions has started. 
Considering he worked 13 hours the day before at the Seafood Fest, he was up bright and early.
I am not sure what they are talking about, but it must be something important--notice the arm gestures. 
Jeremy is the quietest man in the family. His dad and brother talk enough for 10 men. 
The new place. An efficiency apartment, just right for a bachelor.
We ran back to the house for a while (we needed to get his laundry from the machine).
Four hours later, everything was put away, pictures were on the wall, and he had his first visitor.
A minor repair needed to be made.
As well as the bed. At about this point, Jeremy said 'no more pictures'. 

Friday, October 01, 2010

A few months ago I injured my knee (during boot camp, running stairs) add in a bit of arthritis and you have pain. After a couple of visits to the doc and ultra sound therapy my knee was still swollen and inflamed. I finally got my referral to the orthopedic doc and for an MRI. 
Now this drawing is not of my knee, but of my ankle. When I went to get the MRI for my knee, I stumbled on the last step on my way out of the clinic and turned my ankle. (There was a blackberry involved, but I did not tell my husband that.) Yup. It hurt so bad I almost yakked up my b'fast and passed out. Pretty pathetic.
Well, when I went to the ortho, I asked if they could look at the ankle too as the injuries are related. Well, they are. The red arrows point to the tendons that I stretched/tore when I turned the ankle. The blue arrow points to some bone chips; however these could be from a previous injury (I fall down a lot). The red lines at the top are the syringe that he is going to jab into my knee in about 2 minutes.
I walked out of there with a soft splint that would probably pay for a year's tuition at a community college, a cortisone shot in my knee that better reduce the swelling, some fancy x-rays, and a line drawing by my doc. And I only had to spend 3 hours at the drs office.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Bonding and Baking

While at work one day, I got a call from Jeremy:
J: Hi, Mom.
M: Hey, Jeremy, what's up?
J: I brought your cookbook to work with me today. I want to bake a cake.
M: Which one?
J: The one with the red cover.
M: OK. What kind of cake are you going to bake?
J: Not sure yet. I'll bring the cookbook home next week.
Instead of bringing home the cookbook, he brought home all the ingredients for the cake for us to bake over the weekend. Let me just say, this is the first ever from scratch cake I have ever made. It tasted fine, but it was a little flat. He took it to work and they even sold a few pieces to their customers.
It was nice to spend a few hours working on a project with my son. A few years ago, this would
have been a highly unlikely event. I guess we are all growing up.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Window Installation Redo

The Farr's ala Grant Wood
I knew tensions would rise once we got started with the removal
of the old window and the installation of the new and that we needed to
have a couple of laughs before we started so I took these first two shots.
It's been about four weeks since we ordered the second window. I don't 
know why it took so long, the first window was ready in two weeks.
The waiting time did allow us an opportunity to mentally prepare ourselves for the upcoming task.
The window came out relatively easy. I was on the outside pushing in and
TOM was on the inside yelling 'push harder'. I'm not giving birth to a baby dude! Anyway, it
finally started to break loose and he's still yelling to push harder. I finally dropped the
'F' bomb and boy did it feel good. Did I mention it has been a couple of really rough
weeks at work? Story for another day. The window is out and it's time to install the
new window. We lift it up into the frame and we find we have some bricks that need to be
chipped away. glass, hammer, and chisel. You figure it out. 
Finally, the new window is in place. A few screws, some caulking and expanding 
foam and phase one is complete. TOM gets started on the finishing work. Two hours later and
the job is fini. Not the hardest project we ever worked, but one of the longest.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Viet Nam Memorial - The Moving Wall

At the Fort Benning Infantry Museum
As I stood and looked at this wall, I was filled with an overwhelming feeling of sadness. I don't know any of the soldiers whose names are inscribed here, so the only explanation can be the realization that war affects all of us no matter how far we may be from it. My mother's brother went to Viet Nam in the 60's. He left a fun-loving and mischeivous 20-something. He came home an alcoholic and drug addict.

Maybe his name should be on this wall; the best parts of him never came home.
James D. Olson

Note: Having 'outed' my uncle and exposed his challenges, he was many years sober with a son and grandson for which he was extremely proud when he passed away.
The following information comes from the website for the moving wall.  
"The Moving Wall" is the half-size replica of the Washington, DC Vietnam Veterans Memorial and has been touring the country for more than twenty years. When John Devitt attended the 1982 dedication in Washington, he felt the positive power of "The Wall." He vowed to share that experience with those who did not have the opportunity to go to Washington.
John, Norris Shears, Gerry Haver, and other Vietnam veteran volunteers built The Moving Wall. It went on display for the first time in Tyler, Texas in October of 1984. Two structures of The Moving Wall now travel the USA from April through November, spending about a week at each site.

A "Sponsor" is any organization or group of individuals that wants The Moving Wall to visit their area and is willing to do the work to make the local arrangements as described in "Scheduling a Visit of The Moving Wall." Sponsors are frequently civic groups, schools, or veterans' organizations. Sponsoring normally requires months of planning by dozens of local volunteers.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Before and After

Soaked. Trimmed. Massaged. Painted. Refreshed.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Replacement Window is the WRONG Size

To catch you up, about a month ago the picture window in the sitting room was broken. How you say?
Lawn mower + rock = broken window
We have never replaced a window before so we were both a bit apprehensive. We measured at least three times. Together. Normally, I would have blamed this all on TOM, but I was right there with him. Confident with our dimensions we headed over to the local home store and placed our order.
Two weeks later we picked up our new window.
We were heading for a trip to the Gulf so we put the window in the garage. The week after our return TOM was out of town on a business trip. We finally get around to replacing the window about a month later. We remove the moldings and the sill and pull out the window. At this point the replacement window is still in the garage. We lift it up and realize that it is too small. About 2 inches on each side. Needless to say we were dumb-founded. Or course, the girl at the store made the mistake, not us.
Luckily we did not break the second pane of glass when we pulled the broken window out so we put it back into the gaping hole in our wall. We grab our receipts and head to the home store. We have to pay a restocking fee of $50, plus the difference for the 'new' replacement window, which was about $100 more than the first replacement window. 
Lessons Learned:
Buy clean top soil
Measure the rough opening for your replacement window
Check the size of your replacement against the you are replacing before you pull it out  

Monday, May 17, 2010

Let the Planning Begin

Our son is getting married next spring. After a month or so, they finally settled on a date, April 30, 2011. The location, St. George Island, FL. TOM and I have never been there before so we took a road trip to the beach last week. The original plan called for a rental on the beach that sleeps up to 24, swimming pool, hot tubelavator, and dog friendly. We picked up brochures and began searching for properties that met that criteria. Talk about a reality check.
On the Beach: Plenty of properties meet this requirement. The question becomes how much do we really want to spend to have a clear view of the Gulf of Mexico? These are obviously the most expensive and when you are planning a wedding on a budget, these properties take a large chunk of the budget. Another thing we discovered is that several properties do not allow weddings and/or receptions. This knocks a large number of properties out of the running. 
Sleeps 24: This was a little harder to find. We did find two properties that would sleep 24. The first one we looked at was very dark inside (the cleaning crew was getting ready for the season and let us in to look around). There would be plenty of space for everyone. The kitchen was amazing, as was the master suite (you could turn it into 3 good sized rooms). However, it did not have enough bedrooms to offer privacy to older members of the family. Both houses busted the budget. I mean really, how many mortgage payments do you need to make off of a one week rental? And of course, both of these properties had the largest, nicest pools.
Swimming Pool: Most of the properties we looked at had pools. The sizes and locations varied. The pool is one of those things I think we need to have, especially if we only have a beach view as opposed to beach front. It will give the nephews something to do and I am sure some of us older folks will enjoy it too. We definitely need to have a pool. And not a shared pool.

Hot Tub: Now the catalogs have these cute little hot tub icons, but we did not see a single one. Are they in the house? Are they built into the pool? When they say hot tub do they really mean a big tub with bubbles in the master suite? 

Elevators: Many of the properties have elevators. This is a big plus when we you have multiple family members that can't climb a lot of stairs. Apparently, property owners know this is a big selling feature and a smart investment with the aging of America.

Dog Friendly: The whole island is dog friendly, but not all property owners are dog friendly. Personally, I think the dog needs to stay at home, at a kennel. I do not want to have to police the dog for a week. This is a wedding and we have plenty of other things to on our minds. The dog needs to stay home. Sorry. Dad said he would pay for the kennel.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Who Broke the Window

TOM did! Last summer we did some work in our backyard and we had to bring in some fill dirt. Actually, I suggested that we get 'clean' top soil so we wouldn't have as many rocks. It would have cost more, but probably less that this replacement window is going to cost. Anyway, the dirt TOM brought back was full of rocks. And he laughed at me when I started picking rocks. Who's laughing now? I am. After rain they just come to the top. Last weekend TOM was cutting the grass and threw up (you guessed it) a rock and broke this window. Because of the size, it'is a special order and will take a week to 10 days before it arrives.
We are going to install it ourselves. BTW, we have never installed a window before.
This ought to be really interesting. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why Do I Hate April?

Federal Income Taxes are Due
Car Tags Need to be Purchased

Aside from these few items, this month has not been our friend. We received an [audit] letter from the IRS (dadadadum). We missed 1099 income on our 2008 federal tax return and owed taxes. Following Suze's (Orman) advice, we paid it outright because you don't want to owe them ANY money or risk missing a payment. No penalties, but there was some interest. Don't call, the check is in the mail. Really. 

TOM was outside cutting the grass,threw a rock up and shattered a window. Shattered it good. The inside pane is fine so we don't have to board it up. Of course, it's a special order and it will be 10 to 14 days before we get it. BTW, we have never replaced a window before.

We had to nail sheathing to the undersides of our funiture because Woodstock and Chica decided it was a cool place to play and nap. Tore holes right in the fabric. Actually, that was the easiest problem to fix.      
Work has been crazy busy.
We don't have a vacation planned for the first time in years (oh, that's right, we don't have any money left). Maybe next year.
To quote Woodstock, peace out.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Murder at Midnight

I was sleeping soundly until a loud thump startled me awake. I sit up, looking for something I cannot see. I lay back and close my eyes as a wet, sloppy sound comes to my ears. I wonder if my son, who works at a restaurant, has given my dog a bone. I sit up and search for the dog through the filtered light. The dog is awake, but eating nothing. I close my eyes and lay back on my pillow.

As I start to relax, the sound, louder than the first time, comes to my ears. I sit up and throw my legs over the side of the bed. I stand and walk slowly toward the door; carefully feeling my way through the dark. A feline shadow leaps across my path and darts from the room. I now know what to expect when I turn on the light; the dead or dying feline midnight snack.

I see the shadow of a bunny near the bed; glad that I didn't step on it when I got up. I check to make sure it's not moving before I head to the garage for a dust pan. I shut the door behind me so the criminal cannot to return to the scene of the crime. I remove the carcass and ban the animals from the room for the night.

I have had enough cats over the years to not be surprised when I find something unpleasant in the house.
I remember specifically birds (I have come home to find them flying around the house),
and chipmunks. 
One chipmunk in particular had quite a scary adventure in our home. One of the cats brought him in while we were at work. Somehow he managed to escape the jaws of death only to be found by Woodstock, our ferret later in the day. Actually, that's a good thing, because we were able to rescue him and send him on his merry way. Woodstock, given the opportunity probably would have killed him. He chased that littlechipmunk into and out of all the places that we couldn't reach. It was quite a chase for all involved. I finally managed to capture Woodstock so we could focus on the chipmunk. TOM and son managed to corner the chipmunk in the corner of a small room and throw a towel over him and carry him out. 

For another dead critter story, click here.   

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Down by the River

A lot has happened since the middle of February: I was working on a 'special project' that required me to be at work at 4:00 AM three days a week. The company I work for was planning the 'layoff' of around 200 team members. A terminally ill family member took a turn for the worse and we had to travel to Minnesota. I caught a cold. It continues to rain incessantly. Believe you me, the time and  motivation it takes to keep three blogs running is long gone.

On the bright side, the special project ended successfully. I survived the layoff (whew). We were able to spend three days with my family member before she passed peacefully in her sleep. My cold is almost over.
I had ONE nice day to go out for a walk and take some photos before it started to rain again.
And the most exciting news: my son is finally going to marry his longtime girlfriend.

Life IS good. The sun WILL shine. My life rhythm is returning.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sean

My son Sean turned 31 today. It seems like only yesterday that he was just a baby. My husband was in Korea when Sean was born. I was staying with my parents. I woke up in the middle of the night with excrutiating back pain. Never had a pain like that before. Anyway, after a couple hours I got up to go to the john. Try anything to relieve the pain, right? As soon as I stood up, my water broke. Now this is my first child and I really was clueless. (It took me three months to figure out that I was pregnant.) I went to get my parents for the ride to the hospital. This is a snippet of our conversation:
Me: (Knocking on bedroom door.) Mom, I think it's time to go to the hospital.
Mom: How do you know.
Me: My water just broke.
Mom: You didn't get any on my new carpet did you?
Me: No. (Dad just rolls over.)
(I am not really sure about my response or if I got amniotic fluid on her carpet.)
FYI, she had that carpet until last year.
Because my husband was away, I had my mother go into the delivery room with me. She never gave any clue as to how she felt about that, but I bet it
was the last thing she thought she would do that day.
My son finally made his appearance at 12:57 pm.
Let the adventure begin.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Is it cold where you live?

The answer to that, if you live in the US, is yes unless you live in portions of Cali. I have not been able to get outside to take any snaps for a week. Suffering a bit of withdrawal to tell the truth. Having said that, I am probably spending too much time on the computer working with the pictures. This weather imposed hiatus might be a good thing. I will say that my photography technique is improving, as well as my visualization and framimig.  I liked the look of this almost 'naked' tree against the white wall. I also find interesting the gray sqare. Not sure what it is, probably a patch.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

What's Next?

I tell you what, this has been the week from (almost) hell. First, we lose Lady. Then, the feeder hose for the ice maker springs a leak. Easy fix, but we didn't realize we had a leak until the hard wood floor in the living room was wet (saturated in some places).

We turn off the water and begin to work on drying the floor. The shop vac works pretty well to suck up the water and use the mop for the rest. We still have significant damage to the floor in one spot. I am sure the drywall was damaged as well.

We run to the local home store to purchae the replacement hose and install. When TOM turns the water back on, he discovers that the water shut off valve has sprung a leak (apparently a common occurence when turning the valve on or off for repairs). TOM cannot fix this becaue he does not have the right tools.
Did I hear you say plummer? And if you don't think I need to call a plumber, let me tell you about the $75 light switch : )