Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Royal Wedding

Of course I'm going to watch it.

I watched Charles and Diana.

And many years before that I watched Queen Elizabeth's coronation. In fact, I think that was the first time I ever saw a TV. It was black and white, of course, and not "live."

So - I've had Royal Wedding on my mind, which might explain these:

Ribbons and Lace

My Wedding Hat

So, Who's the Fairest?

Th_th_th_that's all, folks!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

In a Treeful Mood

Happy Easter. Happy Earth Day. Happy Spring. Happy Life!

It seems I had trees on my mind today:

Mushroom Forest


I Sea a Tree

For Mother:

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

     - by Joyce Kilmer

This is one of my favorites too.

Friday, April 22, 2011

One Can Never Have Too Many Chairs.

We found that out when we had ten people at Caroline's birthday party.

Well, now we have two more. Aren't they nice?

Navy Chairs
Caroline got them from and they were on sale (of course). We had no choice on the color, but the color is perfect - lucky us!

They go perfectly in our little grey/white/blue kitchen:

You've seen this picture before, but I keep putting it on the blog to convince you that my kitchen is always clean. Hah!

Now, back to the chairs: And Faith: They (the chairs) arrived packed together in one big box. I took the first one out and removed the padding around the legs, etc. As I was doing that, I heard noises from inside the box.

For a brief moment I wondered if the Overstock people had sent me something extra - something alive.

Then I heard Faith's bell. She had squeezed herself into that box even before I got the second chair out!

So, I decided to make her a playhouse. Tomorrow.

Because, today I was busy cooking. I made black bean soup and cornbread:

I had some left over ham in the fridge, so that's what got me started on this. And of course I didn't use a recipe, so this is just an approximation of what I did. Let's see:

  • One small bag of black beans
  • About half a pound of sliced spiral ham
  • Two small potatoes
  • Half an onion
  • About half a cup of leftover spaghetti sauce (a great addition to many recipes)
  • Salt, pepper, chili powder
I cooked the beans according to the directions on the bag, which took about an hour to soak and about 3 hours to cook until the beans were very soft. I simmered the ham in a different pan to make broth, and that's what I cooked the beans in. I cut the ham into small pieces and kept it in the fridge until the beans were cooked.

When the beans were pretty soft I peeled the potatoes and cut them up and cooked them with the beans for the last 20 minutes or so.

Then I got out my trusty blender. After the beans cooled a bit I whipped them up (potatoes too) in batches, all but about a cupful of beans, to give the soup a little texture.

Then I put it all back in the pan and added the ham, chopped onion, spaghetti sauce, salt, pepper and chili powder. I simmered it for about 15 minutes, to cook the onion and blend the flavorings.

Caroline doesn't eat bean soup, so I had only myself to please on this one. I ate it with a dollop of sour cream and a square of corn bread (made from a Jiffy mix).

Nutritionally speaking, I guess bean soup is kind of old school - high in carbs - but you can't say it lacks fiber, at least. And it's soooo good!

Meanwhile, Faith is waiting for me to get going on her playhouse!

Monday, April 18, 2011

My (Caroline's) Recuperation

Caroline's still at home. She has to take 2 weeks off work to recuperate from her surgery. Today I have to take report cards and some other papers to her school.

Remember this picture from a few weeks back?

These are the simple raw materials for fabric book covers: manila file folders (cut down to about 6" x 9") and a variety of pretty fabric scraps.

For each cover, I used a piece of fabric about 12" x 16" and a second piece about 8" x 12".

And a lot of Elmer's Glue.

The "abouts" are important - this was definitely not rocket science. An older group of kids could have made their own, but Caroline has first grade, so....

The finished book covers:

Somebody at the school has a big stapler, so they will attach the pages with a few staples through the middle. And the kids - this is their project after all - will write messages to Mom on the pages. Also, there will be a dedication and picture of the child inside the front cover, and a little "author biography" on each child on the last page. The books will go home on Mother's Day.

I like to think that some mothers will keep these in a drawer or box until their little darling goes off to college, and past. I'm an anonymous person who became a part of that child's history - neat!

By the way, here's another drawing for your pleasure:


That's all for now, but:

Be kind to the children (they will inherit our national debt).

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I tried to get as much picture as I could with the fewest lines.

What do you think?

Can you see the lady?

In the next picture, I had too many lines, and some were just not right, causing the picture to lose focus.

So, since it was already compromised, I decided to experiment with a cut and patch.

It's an idea I will continue to utilize. It may lead to something nice.

It's always fun to try something different.

Now, here we are finally. Can you see the critter?

Hope you're having a wonderful day!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pen and Paper Meditation

Caroline gave me a couple of really nice pens out of her teacher stash.

I continue to refine my search for the perfect materials, and each improvement is celebrated.

I'm also taking note of my surroundings, state of mind, people around me, etc. These things influence the emotinal tone of my drawings.

Last week I was drawing in a doctor's office. And yesterday I found myself in a medical environment again. This time it was the hospital, because Caroline had a medical problem and surgery. She's home now, and doing very well. I, on the other hand, am exhausted.

I tell her, she got two days of R&R and morphine. What did I get? A lot of sitting in hard chairs in waiting rooms.

Seriously, we both agreed that this hospital is exceptionally good. It is decorated in earth tones to promote healing, and is staffed with friendly and professional employees who seem to like working there.

In this "healing environment," while Caroline coped with dressings and IV's and all, I kept her company and created the following two drawings. I present to you, in a meditative way:

Seven Mile Bridge


Pink and Green in the City

If you need a little more peace in your life, meditate.
And then - create!

Monday, April 11, 2011

"Farmville" and Other Artistic Endeavors

Detail from my Family Farm
Yes, I play Farmville.

In fact, I have 2 "farms." My original farm is a big ol' American corporate farm: Efficient, highly productive, and nobody's "home."

My other "farm" is a family farm in Great Britain, with gardens and ducks, cows and pigs, and horses. And, of course, a Pub.

This "game" is not competitive. Players progress through levels by sharing goods, helping their neighbors, visiting and working on neighbors' farms, etc. That's nice.

But the nicest part is that it's so pretty. I can arrange the various parts of the farm, create gardens, barnyards, orchards and so on. It even comes with music and sound effects.

Very relaxing.

My "Corporate" Farm
Besides, for this retired lady, there are certain benefits:
  • maintaining eye-hand coordination
  • improving short term memory
  • meeting new "friends" and "neighbors" (real people, in cyberspace)
  • engaging in uplifting activity on days when I don't have the energy for other things
  • and besides, it keeps me off the streets and out of bars - so there!
I still have time for drawing. The picture below I finished last night while watching Black Swan, a fascinating, disturbing and really amazing movie by the way.

And, no, my housekeeping is not the best - 'cause I'm too busy enjoying life.

River Goddess
So, to all my readers, follow your own Goddess or God, and live life your own way!

(sounds like Charlie Sheen....)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sorry for the Long Absence

After the triple whammy of a back injury, a respiratory infection and shingles I had one more trial - a $300 plumbing emergency. I'm sorry, but no one should have to wake up to an overflowing toilet. My determination to maintain a positive attitude cracked a little that day.

However, better days followed. We had a fun birthday party for Caroline. Nine people filled our little house and ate a dinner of baked chicken, bow tie pasta, and gigantic, make-your-own salads. The youngest guests were three little girls aged 8, 10 and 11. And what healthy appetites they had!

Happy Birthday Caroline
So, Caroline celebrated her 50th, but she's really a kid at heart, which is handy if you teach first grade. The first graders will soon be making Mother's Day gifts, and I have volunteered to help. Below are my raw materials for this project:

Mother's Day Books - Materials

Under Faith's supervision (she's found a new hideout, in the hall linen closet) I am attempting to get back on track. I've started several drawings, but finished none of them so far. Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to post them. Here's hoping you're having a wonderful day! And to my readers up north, enjoy the crocus and daffodils; I wish I could be there to see them!