Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kestrel News

picture credit:

This is a kestrel and we have a kestrel nesting box in our yard.  Last year we had a pair that had 4 babies.  That was pretty neat and we hoped for it to happen again. This year they came to the nest and layed eggs and then we found the female with a broken wing.  We ended up taking her to fish&game.  They will repair the wing and then release her.  We didn't know if the male would be able to hatch the eggs or not. We looked in the box last week and found a mess. There were 4 eggs and a dead starling in the box.  This is what we think happened.  The starling entered box, killed the kestrel eggs and laid some of her own.  Then the kestrel came back and killed the starling.  A sad story for sure. The starling eggs are like a stone.  

Here they are in a nest I had. I put them in it just to take the picture. I am hoping that a new pair of kestrels will set up base here next year.

Good news on the health front, finally. Yesterday was not good, I was feeling dizzy so I went back to the Doctors and my BP was 80/50. That is pretty low for a person with high blood pressure. I stopped taking my meds and went back today and it was 110/73 which is much better. So now I am going to stay off the meds till after the holiday and see what happens. Low blood pressure makes you really tired and you don't feel like doing anything. Other good news is that my blood sugar has gone down. That is something I have been working on so I am happy about that. It feels great to have some energy back.

I am in a cleaning organizing de-cluttering mode right now. I have my weaving room half done so I am anxious to get back to it

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wishcasting Wednesday - What do you wish to take a break from

Today Jamie of Jamie Ridler Studios asks us What do you wish to take a break from?

I always like to go with my first thoughts on this one but decided to mull over the subject a little before settling on what I need a break from. It could have been worry or my to do list or any of a million other things. I have settled on health problems. I talked about problems with my feet before but I have also had problems with my blood pressure and then there is the arthritis I have in my index finger and the issue with losing weight and so forth. I don't talk about it because I don't want to create even more of it in my life. I definitely would like to take a break from it all. I'd love to just get up in the morning with boundless energy and be able to do whatever it is I choose with a healthy body and mind.

To see what others are wishing or to take part yourself you can go here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Some More Benches

I took a break this morning at the greenbelt to write my morning pages. I sat on the blue bird bench and then thought I would take pictures of some benches nearby. The Appaloosa was very shaded so it is not a very good picture.

Here he is from the other side. I think its a he because my neighbor has an appaloosa and his horse is a he.  I know strange logic.

Next are the canadian geese benches. They are only big enough for one person or perhaps two kids.
You can only see two here but there are three of them.

It wasn't the best  time to be taking pictures but here is one of the geese close up.

With a closer look I discovered water in the seat, so no I didn't sit there. They don't look very comfortable to me. I think they are for kids.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Sketches

This is my drawing for Sunday Sketches. It was drawn in a moleskine watercolor journal. I started it a week ago and finished it up today. I used Pitt artist pens in black and grey. It is from a drawing I did of a raven previoiusly. I just traced the image, added details and then all the patterns. I think with the rings around his eyes he looks sort of fierce.

To see what other sketchers are doing go on over to Blue Chair Diary and check them out.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Baby is 23

Its my little girls birthday today. Well maybe she is not so little anymore. She was sitting on the couch making the finishing touches to the kindle cover she crocheted yesterday, when I snapped this picture. It hard to believe its been 23 years since I became a mother. So far the best years of my life. Happy Birthday Sarah!

We are headed out to Red Robin for burgers. That is where Sarah wanted to go. We won't have dessert there because I have made my Dad's cheesecake with blackberry sauce to go on top. It will be yummy.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday, June 24, 2011

International Faerie Day

I haven't been doing any art lately so today I just went into the studio even before breakfast and played in my srt journal. Since today is International Faerie Day it seemed appropriate to have a page for it. I looked hard for some faerie paper to use for the page. I knew I used to have some but I couldn't find it, so I dug out some of my stamps and played with them instead. Perhaps we should all go out at twilight and look for faeries tonight.

If your in the mood for faerie stories, I loved Laini Taylors two faerie books, Faeries of Dreamdark and Silksinger.  Or you could try Faery Rebels by RJ Anderson. It is also a good story, along with the sequels Wayfarer and Arrow.

This started with the Laurel Burch tag from a tote bag I had bought. I loved it on the black gesso so I just pulled some papers out to match the colors of the cats. Both of these papers were tyvek I had painted on. I was amazed how weel white gel pens work on black gesso.  I wish they worked as well on all surfaces.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's Coming Up Feathers Around Here

I saw this tutorial on making feathers and I just had to play. Its from a blog called Todolwen.  If you look on her sidebar she has lots of other fun tutorials that you might want to check out.  I just love it when I find things like this on the net.

On this first one I  followed the instructions and made one out of old music pages. I couldn't make just one so on the next one I started experimenting.

I made the feather smaller and added some stamping ink and tried to make it look like a real feather. I didn't use the template, just drew a feather and I think it turned out fine.

Then  I made another striped feather and added some circle with white gel pen to make it look like a great horned owl feather.

Then I went for color, this feather is made with old book pages and then I added stamping ink in several colors.

Then I tried a red one.  This is from music pages and its much smaller than the others.  I had a tiny piece of wire left that I wanted to use up.

Here are all the feathers I made. When you see them all together you can see the different sizes,  The first one I made I doubled the wire like in the instructions but in all the others I used a single strand of wire and it worked out fine. These are so easy to make and can be addicting, I am not sure what I will do with them all but they are fun.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

An Awesome Video

This is a TED talk you may know of or not, I heard about it from Jamie Ridler and it really is wonderful so I thought I would share it with you today. Its long but well worth watching.

Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Feet Have Control

I have been having issues with my feet. I have Morton's Neuroma, which is basically a inflamed nerve and effects the balls of your feet. They hurt all the time. I have been going to a podiatrist and have had 2 set of cortisone shots that have not done anything.   If you look at the picture you can still see the bruises I got from the shots almost a month ago.

Now they are taping my feet to see if that helps. If it does I'll get an orthotic to wear in my shoes. My feet still hurt so I am not real hopeful that this is working. I also have plantar fasciitis in my left foot.  I have exercises to help that.

I think I will probably go to an acupuncturist next and see if they can do anything. Meanwhile I can't do a whole lot without pain. Sure I have to go out and do things but I feel great lying in bed. So if you don't see much activity here that is why.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Book or a Window

I sat down the other day and finished 4 journal pages. Some were brand new and some just needed some finishing touches. Often I think I should put two dates on pages, one for when I start and the other for when I finish. Do you date your pages? I like to because when I look back on them it fun to know when they were made.

This is a paper towel I used when I was doing a ColorWash experiment. I thought it looked like windows and then like a book and then I turned it into a book.  So it might be windows inside a book or the fact that books are windows to another world.

This was a spray paint experiment gone wrong.  The girl in black should be way darker. So I just added some journaling about the image. It reminded me of Lesley Gore's song It's my party. I like the strong stance of the girl.

This resulted from my thinking about the drums and drumming I heard this past weekend. I will talk more about that in another post. I have always loved the sound of drums. I wrote a little poem on what drums and the sound does for me. The background is stitched paper from old calendars. When I stitched it the paper fell out of the book so I ended up using Japanese tape to connect it back to the book.  Its on the right.

This one was for a prompt on using a self portrait in your work. So I included myself in the necklace I always wear.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More Benches

I was out on the greenbelt the other day and noticed they have added another bench. I really liked this one. It has two of my favorite things on it, trees and birds.

Here is a close up of the blue bird. I like how they even incorporated the branches and the roots of the tree.

Here is a rattlesnake that even the most timid of you might like. You can sit in three places on this bench.  I like how the rattle is made out of 3 different kinds of stone. About a week ago the river had flooded this little guy. There were ducks waddling around in the little pond around it. One of these days I'll have pics of all the benches together.  The Raven one I talked about previously is found in this post. Oh and the ravens have not been knocked off yet. This is an ongoing project, they keep adding more benches which is pretty cool. I'll continue to show them as they appear.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Amazing Organization

I don't have the time to blog today but didn't want to leave you empty handed. Check out this woman craft room, and remember its only part 1. The organization is amazing in itself, but when I look at all her supplies I wonder how long it took to accumulate such a stash. I want to go play at her house.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Animal Dreams and The Wicked Tinkers

Last year I was working with Carla Sonheim's book Drawing Lab. I had gone to the zoo and had made some animal sketches. I was using a small sketchbook I had bought from Diana Trout, which I had bought  to try out the stonehenge watercolor paper but ended up just doing drawing in it. That seemed a waste so thinking about that and then being anxious to work with my watercolors I went and added some wc to the images.

This camel was just sitting and panting in the sun, I felt lucky to capture the image as sometimes they are not so accommodating.

The giraffe was so cute... We don't have giraffe's in our zoo so I must have drawn this from a book or memory I can't remember.

I have a thing for zebras,  and actually most black and white animals. I love the black and white stripes but decided to make a purple zebra instead. I like his expression, it makes me wonder what he is thinking.

Men in Kilts

I am off for the weekend, in the morning we head south for The Utah Scottish Festival and Highland Games. I need to see some men in kilts and listen to some great Scottish Music.  One of my favorite groups, The Wicked Tinkers will be playing.  I love those guys, they play tribal Scottish music and they are so much fun.  Here is a video of them on the Craig Peterson show.

and yes I will remember my camera this time.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Little Squares of Color

I signed up to take Alisa Burke's class Watercolor Bliss.  I would love to find a way to incorporate watercolor into my journal pages that is more satisfying and Alisa does beautiful work so it seemed a perfect combination.  So far I am loving the class.

So I dragged out this baby.  Most of these paints are 14 years old at least.  I got it when I took my first watercolor class in 1997. I have used up some of the colors but there is still a lot of paint available. I had no idea what brand of paint these were or their color names.  I ended up digging through old files to find out what brand of WC these were. Turns out these were Winsor-Newton paints and I now I know the color names too.

We are into week one and our assignments are to get familiar with our supplies. So I have been doing some samples of all the water media I have and there is lots of it. I have 4 sets of pencils, derwent and caran d'ache watercolor pencils and inktense and graphitint pencils.  So I have been making these pages with samples of each color.

They took awhile but they are really fun to do. I like looking at all the colors and their names too. I also made sheets for the Neocolor II watercolor crayons and the all the watercolor paints I have.

Don't you just love all the color names, like shiraz and prussian blue and carmine and vermillion and more.  I can't begin to tell you how much fun I had in making all these little squares of color.  I was almost disappointed when I ran out of materials. It will be really nice to have these pages as reference for future work.

Tell me do you make little charts like these for your supplies?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Vision Boards for Clarity

I talked about doing morning pages yesterday and how they help me get back on track to the things I want to do in life. Another tool I often use are vision boards. I really have been called to do a new one but kept putting it off. First I told myself I had no magazines and then no time. In fact most of the images for my vision board I pulled off the internet so having no magazines is just one more excuse you tell yourself. As to the time thing, I just through that out the window and just did it.

 For me Vision boards help me to focus more on what I want to bring into my life. This board has things I want like shoes and clothes but also travel locations and projects like my books and coaching course and even flowers for my garden.  You can have a single vision or a broader one like the one I did. Do you have a project that seems stalled and needs a new life.  Try doing a vision board for it.  You may find that it is just the thing you need to get focused on it again.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Blogging as a Spiritual Practice

I started doing Morning Pages again.  You know the three pages of writing daily talked about by Julia Cameron in the book The Artists Way. They have been a constant companion in my life.  Sometimes I end up doing them for a couple years and then I stop.  Not sure why I stop, because I see them as a powerful tool, they also help me set things in order and accomplish more of what I want.  I am not sure if the downtime from them is part of the process or not.  I just know in times of flux or when I just feel something is off morning pages bring me back to my true self.

During today's morning page writing, I started thinking about blog posts I might want to write. Often I go through a period where I have some great subjects and I may write several posts in the same day and just schedule them to appear on different days. Its an efficient way to blog but not usually how I end up doing it.  Often its a daily thing I think oh what shall I blog about and something comes to mind and I just go with it.  Or it will be about the art I did that morning or the day before. The more I pondered on this I came up with this posts title.

Blogging is like a daily spiritual practice. If its something you do daily or almost daily I think that qualifies, and then its something that takes you inside yourself. You may show art or photographs or events in your life.  It always follows some kind of introspection. You think about events and how the people who read your post will like them.  Even when showing a journal page you may go inside yourself and explain just what you were thinking at the time. Or you will pick a subject and just write how it makes you feel or has changed your world.

Sometimes blogging can feel like a chore too. Like it is one more thing on your list of to do's. Now if you think of it as a spiritual practice it takes on a whole different flavor doesn't it.  Its more like your gift to the world, a little piece of yourself.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Sketches

My Sunday sketch for today was started yesterday but finished this afternoon.  Lots of writing on it once more. I love doing these graphite drawings and then adding the journaling.   To see what other sketchers are doing, go the lovely Sophia'a blog located here

Friday, June 3, 2011

Frustration and some yarn

I have been trying to get my newsletter out but alas the computer gods are not smiling on me. First I had   formatting problems so I gave it up for another day. Now today the program keep crashing when I try to edit it. It looks like the newsletter won't be out till next week now. Grrr.

Remember I showed the carding machine I was using. Well its gone back to it home in Utah but while it was here I carded 160 batts.  This is what my kitchen table looks like.

I just love looking at all the colors. These are all wool batts rolled into balls. Some of them are natural shades and the rest of them I dyed myself.

I also blended some silks and mohair with some of the wool.  I can't wait to make some of the purples into some gorgeous yarn.

These are some of the silk blended batts, don't the colors just look luscious.

and here are some of the yarns I have spun so far.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Books and Prompts

My sister sent me a copy of this.  Lucky me, its the best new book out there in the Mixed Media category. There were a lot of new things to try and I was not disappointed. I hate when books having nothing new in them. I mean why write a book about it if all the information is right on someones blog.

I am also waiting for this to arrive.   Misty is one of the only big names I have taken a class with and I love her work so I am excited to get her book.

Over at The Queen of Creativity Castle 

I have changed the bi-weekly Creative Challenge I rave been running. I am now doing a weekly prompt for Art Journaling. If you are a journaler who likes to work with prompts you might want to check it out here. Sometimes I like using prompts and other times I look at a prompt and then do something totally different so they can be used in many ways.

My page is a background from the other day.  The color seems a little washed out, its more vibrant than this.  I used Faber-Castell big brush markers and some gel pens to draw the houses. Its all about a neighborhood where you can find friends. Would you like to come to my house and play?