High summer insanity

Hi Everyone, 

Yes, I am two weeks behind here. Yes, I have tried several times to get a post written but my time has been limited. Very limited! Week before last I took the week off while Miss L. was away on a mission trip with our church so I could get a good start painting my kitchen and some other very involved stuff. Things do not happen here in grand and glorious sweeps. Our accomplishments come in tiny bits and pieces squeezed out of odd moments of time. Last week, well, the high summer season kicked in and Mother Nature rules.

I am going to give you bullet points and photos because I just don’t have the time at the moment for long thoughtful writing. Hopefully I can squeeze some in between now and September, but don’t be surprised if there are more posts like this over the next month. My apologies. Life happens.

  • Spark Plug got to go free from his 5 week confinement on Saturday. He’s happy for his freedom. I’m happy not to be hauling hay and water twice a day to the round pen.  ​
  • The 25 cucumber plants are producing PROFUSELY!
  • The pickle making is currently at least a part time job for me at the moment. 
  • Miss L. is taking a pottery class this week. It was supposed to be at a facility 15 minutes from our house. It got moved to a location 30 minutes from our house. Two hours a day of driving. 
  • I am dealing with some life aggravations that include disputing a medical bill. I suspect that alone will take several hours this week with phone calls and letters, plus a couple other time intensive problems to solve. 
  • We added 3 chickens to the flock yesterday.  We thought they would be teenage pullets. Instead, they are pre-teen pullets and much smaller than our new chicken run set up. They are so small they can get through the run wire. On one side are the grown hens who are not above pecking one of their own kind to death. On the other side is the pasture and the domain of the infamous chicken killing raccoon. And on the third and forth side awaits Sweetie Pie the Cat, who realized the new girls are the perfect snacking size. We have now rigged a containment center within the run, but it’s in the testing stage (and as they grow has the potential for escape) so I have to regularly go out to do a security check. Keeping chickens alive around here is a full time job!  
  • The tomato plants are heavy with little green tomatoes and growing faster than I can tied them up. Brace yourself for for a plethora of tomato pics and complaints in the very near future.
  • The yard needs mowing, the herbs need picking and drying and do I really need to mention laundry, cleaning and cooking?
  • I started some artwork two weeks ago and it just sits and taunts me right now. 

This is life in Crazyville at the moment. I’m just doing it like Nike tells us to do. Hopefully you will hear from me next week, but if you don’t, be assured I am buried under a pile of cucumbers and tomatoes. 

Go somewhere and have a relaxing vacation for me please. Have a great week! 

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Fresh air, sunshine and SLEEP

Hi Everyone, 

I hope you are well and life is treating you good going into our 7th month of 2018! Last week I enjoyed several days visiting my daughter, son-in-law and grandpups. Other than an accident the pups got into that resulted in a tooth extraction this week for one of them, it was a relaxing visit and a nice break for me from full time parenting and feeding lots of hungry people and animals. 

Spring is my favorite season, but I think Summer is the best time of year for my body and soul. Yes, there is the heat and humidity, but I handle it much better than the cold plus I don’t spend the hottest part of the day outside anymore. I did that back in my much younger days working in fields for the farmers where I grew up. Now I start my day somewhere around 6:30 – 7:00 am outside feeding who ever D. didn’t get fed before he went to work, then the next hour is spent taking care of garden or yard. 

Everything is quiet and peaceful (as long as you appreciate the sounds of chickens, donkey and bees). I get a daily dose of nature. This week I have seen the tiniest praying mantis and watched my bees working away at the garden blooms. I had a long discussion with our new hens about improving their egg production. Our yard takes days to weed eat so I have had the satisfaction of weed whacking and getting a few long delayed projects done. I get a full dose of vitamin D and all that dripping sweat has to be removing toxins. The fresh air and exercise has brought back SLEEP! After months of stress induced insomnia, I am actually getting 7-8 hours of solid sleep again. I cannot tell you how awesome that feels! 


The rest of my day is work, parenting, cleaning and a return to being a taxi driver to family members. You know, that stuff that either never has an end or the end is far in the future.  My first hour of the day feels like there are some accomplishments anyway. 

Most of the time in this summer the last hour or so of daylight is pretty good too. D. and I go spend some quality time with Spark Plug the donkey. He has three more weeks of confinement until he can join the horses in the pasture. He’s very bored and we feel sorry for him.  D. also gets the trainee horse out for his evening lessons and normally Sweetie Pie the cat joins me in a chair on the front yard and we watch the progress. After his lesson, Walker, the trainee gets a reward of fresh grass (and cuts down on some of the yard mowing) while we hang out with him and wait for the chickens to go into their coop. Yeah, it sounds pretty boring to a lot of folks, but I have lived the rat race and do not miss it.  


I still don’t get as much painting and drawing time as I hoped to have by now, but it’s more than I’ve had since I was a teenager. Tuesday I pretty much finished one fairly large painting. My first ocean scene. Sometimes things show up that I haven’t planned and this is one of them. 


This has been a major taxi week and will be today and tomorrow as well.  This evening I’m picking my son up at the airport from his westward adventure. If climbing a 12,000 foot mountain is your idea of fun then I think he had a great trip. 

Next week Miss L. is gone on her last (as far as I know) week away and I plan to finish painting our kitchen (which has been partially primed for months now). This is my BIG project for this year so forgive me if I don’t post anything next week. 

Get out of the house this week, watch some bugs, pick some flowers and if you have the chance, hug a donkey. It’s good for you…avoid the backside of the donkey though. 

Spring meet Summer

Hi Everyone,

Wow, I’m so sorry about missing last week’s post. The week was a total collision of Spring into Summer in a most chaotic way!

It started on Sunday with a call from my son letting me know he was coming to stay for a few days. My son is not a planner so the standing rule is that I require 4 hours notice before he shows up so I can at least arrange to have enough food.  He gave me exactly 4 hours!

Monday was a major garden day and since he was here I put the boy to work. Both of my kids live several hours away and I don’t get to see them often so when I do there are things that go undone so I can enjoy the time I have with them. Our afternoon was spent sitting in the front yard watching horses and discussing life and his future plans. Then it was start dinner and take Miss L to an appointment. By the time we got back it was late and evening chore time.

Tuesday…the boy (young man who turns 23 in four days) took off to get some gear for his next adventure and I frantically tried to get some work done before I had to be at school for Miss L’s Awards Day.  We knew she would be getting the Perfect Attendance award and the Principal’s Award (all A’s, all year!), but she also walked away with… (1) The Good Egg Award, given by the Guidance counselor to one girl and one boy in each grade for their great attitude, helpfulness, etc.  (2) The Teacher’s Choice award given by the grade level teachers for the same reasons as the Good Egg Award (3) and she received The Golden Pincushion Award from the Life Skills teacher for her proficiency and creativity in sewing. For my new readers who haven’t read Miss L’s backstory, her Mother died last June and her ENTIRE world changed overnight when she had to leave her home, community, church and school to come live with us.  School is a major barometer to how well a child is coping with trauma and I cannot begin to tell you how happy and relieved D. and I are to know she is doing so well. I might have shed a few tears on my way home.

Tuesday continued…ran home to start dinner (why do people have to eat every single day??), then back to school to pick up Miss L. (Field day was after awards), then the hour drive (we live an hour from EVERYTHING) to the orthodontist as she starts the braces process. Back home about 7 pm, eat dinner, chores, collapse.

Wednesday is normally D’s day off, but since he would be taking off early on Thursday (more to come on that) he worked half the day.  I think I have mentally blocked most of Wednesday but I remember it being packed full of work, both income related and farm related and once again collapsing into bed.

Thursday…where to begin? The boy left in the morning for his Go West Young Man adventure. As of yesterday he was in Colorado and there are plans to visit Wyoming and Montana before heading back East. There is mountain climbing involved but it’s best for this Mom not to dwell on that too much. 

Right after he left I went to start a load of clothes for Miss L’s upcoming trip to visit friends and go to Vacation Bible School at her old church. Guess what? No water. We have a bad well and have to be very careful of our usage. One day there will be a new one drilled. Anyway, I had to call D. to come home and restart the pump while I had a mild anxiety attack and said ugly things to the well.  Why? That was the night that my bonus daughter was graduating from high school and I really needed a shower! This was about 9 am. Miss L was getting out of school at 11:30, all animal related chores had to be done early and we had to be dressed and in the car by 4:30 to make the, you guessed it, hour + drive to the high school. 

D. got the pump started, the slightly wet clothes would have to wait and he went back to work. At 11:15 as I was heading to pick up the girl, D. calls me and says, “we are getting a donkey today.” What the…? We had been promised a free donkey from the owner of the company D. works for because he keeps them to guard his cattle but evidently doesn’t geld any of the jacks and has too many each Spring.  Since we had taken on a trainee horse recently we had hoped that his boss might forget the whole donkey thing this year and we could revisit it next year. But nooooooo!


I picked up Miss L, got home, still no water!  Then in rolled D. with Spark Plug the donkey. SP is wild, never handled. Lots of trailer maneuvering through the pasture, strategic round pen door set up to prevent wild donkey escapes, etc.  About an hour of donkey time and then there was just enough water to fill up the water bucket for SP before it stopped again.  1:00 pm and I am especially dirty and sweaty now. Lunch, chores, D. is back from work (you know his boss needed to shed some donkeys when he let D. use the company truck, trailer and company time to bring SP home) and we are praying for the well to have water. It did. Just enough for D. and I to get presentable for Miss G.’s graduation. We saw her graduate (she also won two awards and a scholarship) then had dinner with all the family and friends and did not get home until after 11:00 pm.


Friday… Miss L gets to sleep in now that school is out. D. and I do not and we are close to the walking dead at this point. Do we get to have a relaxing Friday evening after a full day of work? No. Hay has been been cut. As soon as D. gets off work at 5:00 we take truck, trailer, Miss L and D’s co-worker, George to pick up hay.  Two hundred and twenty four bales later, stacked in the barn, George (who still enjoyed his Friday night beer while picking up hay and was a little wobbly when done) taken home, all critters and humans fed, chickens secured in their house, D and I crawled our weary selves in the bed. 


Saturday and Sunday were not much better, but now that we are officially into Summer (according to our personal time frame) things should even out until the harvest, canning, get ready for winter crazy. I am blocking those thoughts for now. D and I celebrated our second anniversary yesterday and hope to have a nice meal in a nice restaurant tomorrow evening and pat ourselves on surviving the past year!

I hope your Spring to Summer transition goes much smoother than ours. Have a great week!

Oh, oh, oh… Here are the portraits that I have been promising to post FOREVER!

Mother Nature always wins

Hi Everyone,

How is your week so far? I hope that wherever you are, you are safe, comfortable and dry. I don’t watch much in the way of news anymore, but what I have seen has been full of the power of Mother Nature!

Hurricane season has started with the first tropical storm coming up through the Gulf, other places have been flooded and then there is Hawaii. I have been strangely fascinated with the volcano eruption to the point I check on it daily. To paraphrase one local, it is both sad and beautiful at the same time. 

In our little corner of the world we have also been dealing with Mother Nature. Saturday morning was traumatic. D. went to feed the horses and chickens while I was walking the mutts. When he reached the chicken run he faced the horror of several dead chickens. Evidently raccoons found a weak spot in the chicken fortress. Somehow we had some survivors, but our favorite girls were gone. It was just awful. 

I spent the morning yanking weeds (my tried and true way of working out big, bad emotions) and sobbing over our girls. I cursed raccoons and everything else that constantly tries to eat our chickens. It’s a LONG list. Everything likes chicken. After three hours of this I had exhausted myself, gotten my herb bed in much better shape AND resigned myself that this is nature’s way. Everything has to eat. 

I sent D. a text to start looking for more chickens. He works part time at a livestock feed company. It’s not hard to find farm animals when you just ask every single customer buying chicken feed. He located someone by the time he got off work and we added 3 Rhode Island Reds to the flock.  Egg production is drastically down. Only two eggs in the past two days when we were getting about eight. Hopefully when our survivors recover and the new girls get settled we will see eggs again. If not, we may have to add more to the flock. We have a new arrangement with our neighbor that we will trade her fresh eggs for some fresh milk from her new cow.  I think I’m channeling Laura Ingalls Wilder again! 

Gertrude is traumatized
The new girls

So we now have upped the fortifications of the chicken coop and run. It has locks like a New York City apartment and everything except concertina wire around the top and bottom. The things we do for eggs around here!

In continuing our struggle to balance our lives with allowing the wildlife theirs, we finally got a permanent fence around our garden. It still needs a few posts and the gate, but it will slow down the annihilation of our veggies. Again, everything has to eat…including us.  Now we just need to get one more door on the feed and tack room to keep the critters out of the horse, chicken and cat food.  We have a big ol’ compost pile. Why can’t they just eat there. Free food, every day, no work (killing or destruction) involved!


You know that you are crazy country people when your Saturday evening fun consists of pulling up chairs to watch the hens work out their new pecking order. Luckily this time there was only some chest pounding, wild flapping and minor head pecking involved. Last time one girl needed some doctoring for a few days until it all settled down. I also had to don my chicken wrestling clothes just in case the new girls couldn’t figure out that the little red house was where they had to sleep…behind all those shiny new locks to frustrate any especially wiley raccoons.

On the art front, I am delivering portraits this evening. I have several works in progress including this sneak peak at something different. Hopefully next week there will be several “reveals”.  


Be safe out there. I don’t think Mother Nature is very happy with us right now.

Watching paint dry

Hi Everyone,

How is your week going? Is it rainy like ours is? Rainy as in you need to build an ark like our is? While I was walking the dogs this morning I noticed that our fire pit area is beginning to take on a jungle like demeanor. It will take more than my wimpy weed eater to return it to some form of order. Considering how far behind we are with our garden it may be a full blown jungle by the time we turn our attention that way. Oh well, I would hate for us to run out of things to do around here.

So what am I up to this week you ask? Exciting stuff. Watching paint dry. Seriously. 

This is going to be short and sweet today, because I am experimenting with some unusual possible canvases that I have a ton of and need to use in some way instead of them going to the landfill.  If you have read this blog for awhile you know I hate to waste anything or add to the already horrible environmental mess we have. If this works hopefully I will do a reveal next week.

The portraits are finished but my schedule and the clients’ schedule have not meshed yet so we wait.

I have also been playing with using some old books for the paper and as a journal. More stuff I am trying to save from the landfill. 


And I am going through my artwork stash to see what can be saved, improved upon or just needs to go…to the landfill. Some things you just can’t save and I have some BAD pieces of art that should never see the light of day again. Most I just need to spend some more time on and they will probably have a future. 


On the home front we cleaned out the fourth barn stall that had become “the storage stall”. Not a job we wanted to do but now that we have the trainee horse, he needed a place to eat that Big Bad Bob couldn’t get to. Walker needs some weight. Bob, not so much.  Other than that it’s been fairly quiet here. Miss L. is down to the last few weeks of school. If it stops raining we will be in high garden mode. I’m almost finished with the process of closing my design business. 

I’m going to go check my paint. I hope you have more excitement this week than I have right now! 

Dinah and the new guy

Hi Everyone,

I hope you have had a great week so far. I am running a couple of days behind and will give my explanation/excuses below. I do want to welcome the new readers here. I don’t know how you found me, but there have been several new subscribers that have joined recently. Welcome to The House of Weird (as our niece, Miss L., calls our humble home and farm). 

Let’s see. What has happened here since last week? I am still working on the two portrait commissions but am very close to being done. This week has been very rainy so I have gotten in more drawing time than expected and hope to finish them up this weekend. Cross your fingers that I can and then will have something artsy to show finally. 

Did I show you my iris sketch last week? It sold after I posted it on Instagram and Facebook and now lives with my cousin, Amanda. Amanda and I haven’t seen each other in literally decades, but keep up via Facebook. Part of the joy of creating stuff is when those creations spark an emotion  in someone else and go to live with them.  Artists/makers can’t possibly keep everything they make and normally they don’t want to. Our love is for the process and expression. We would also have to add whole rooms to our homes to keep all of the art unless you do digital work, then you need a boatload of memory.


I also had some family stress going on and needed to focus on something brainless for awhile. I gathered some scrap paper and paint for a little art therapy. I just pushed paint around for about an hour and felt much better. Try it some time when life is a little too lifey. No talent necessary. Pretend you are 4 years old again. It’s good stuff.


Speaking of family stress, you know how there is virtually always one relative that drives everyone in the family nuts? You are pretty much stuck because they are a relative and just have to endure through the family gatherings or grit your teeth on a daily basis if crazy Aunt Edith comes to live with you?  Our highly irritating relative is Dinah.


Yes, Dinah is a dog. Dinah was part of the package, along with Sweetie Pie the cat, that came along with Miss L. to live with us last year.  Miss L. and Sweetie Pie we love. Dinah, not so much. Ok, Miss L. loves her which is the ONLY reason she STILL resides here. Yes, I know, she looks cute and adorable. Trust me, it’s a very clever disguise. Underneath that mop of hair and big ears is a Great Dane size dog with serious personality issues.

I grudgingly give Dinah respect for the fact that this little less than 10 pound dog lived her first three years of life outside in all kinds of weather and probably survived more than one attempt on her life and virtue by passing coyotes and other dogs.  She evidently developed the survival skill of being MEANER than any creature that came near her. In those three years she never got eaten or pregnant! Gotta respect that!

Fast forward to this week. Dinah now lives a cushy life indoors with temperature controlled environment, gets two good meals a day, regular walks, has her own fluffy pillow for a bed and has her own toys. Has this helped her attitude? Not. One. Bit.  Everyday starts out with her high pitched squeak bouncing beside me and often her bouncing off my leg as I attempt to divide out the food into three dog bowl. My two canine sons are patiently and quietly sitting and waiting for theirs. I won’t bore you with the ordeal of trying to get her to do her business outside when Her Majesty’s little feet get wet. After that the fun begins.

Dinah only likes one person on this entire earth and that is Miss L.  Dinah’s purpose on this earth is evidently only to protect Miss L.  Endlessly throughout the day when Miss L. is in the house, Dinah snarls and growls at anyone who gets within five feet of Miss L.  Then, heaven help, should any car, horse, dog or bird get within a quarter mile of Miss L. outside, Dinah proceeds to commence barking the most ear piercing bark God ever bestowed upon a canine.  Luckily Miss L. goes to school and Dinah retreats to her lair for most of the school day or I would have lost my mind months ago. 

In spite of the fact that her life has VASTLY improved, Dinah’s attitude has been steadily declining and escalated into her biting D. one morning this week when he just went to Miss L.’s door to wake her up for school. She has a tiny mouth and he had jeans on, but Dinah is now on serious probation and we are in search of a way to adjust her attitude dramatically. How the heck can one little dog cause soooo much drama and stress?  If you have any recommendations PLEASE let me know! I have had dogs my entire life and never had this kind of bad juju from any of them. 

Now, if three dogs, one cat, three horses, 30,000 bees and one middle school age girl were not enough fun and excitement in our lives, D. took on a horse to train.  My husband has been training horses for most of his life, but hasn’t taken on any for several years due to a recession, military deployment and the stress of marrying a crazy artist lady. Yesterday Walker arrived.


Yes, Walker. A Tennessee Walker. How’s that for creative naming? Seriously? Anyway, Walker will probably be with us for about three months. He needs to put on some weight and needs some personal grooming, but seems to have a sweet personality. I predict that unless something weird happens, Walker will leave here one more handsome, gentle, super rider friendly horse and then his brother will be coming here.  Do keep in mind that the “something weird” statement comes after Walker jumped over and out of our round pen last night. I hope my pitiful horse wrangling skills don’t get tested! Never a dull moment at The House of Weird!

I almost forgot. I fixed my necklace that I talked about last week. I’m so happy I can wear it again. It’s the little things, you know. 


Flowers in the cover photo were sent to me for Mother’s Day from my sweet daughter and they are beautiful!

That’s all the crazy for this week. 
Have a fun filled weekend!

Fixin’ it

Hi Everyone,

I hope life is grand in your world. Now that it’s Spring and the flowers are blooming and the bees are buzzing it’s pretty grand here. 

We have half of our garden planted and half of the garden fence that we have had plans to put up for three years finally underway. The rascally rabbits will have to find food elsewhere soon. I helped D. plant 56 tomato seeds a few weeks ago, then, unbeknownst to me, he planted another 50! We have 84 in the ground with the others on standby in case we lose some of the 84. Every year he is convinced that we are going to lose half of the tomato plants and we NEVER do. Brace yourself for lots of complaining from me in July and August when every waking moment is spent canning tomatoes. Oh, and the whole row of cucumbers that will have to be pickled if they all come up!

Since I can once again only show you a small detail of the two portraits I’m working on I thought I would talk about something I have decided to do and my guess is that I am probably not the only one who needs to do this. Can I get a show of hands from all of you who have items in your life that you love and/or use constantly but either need repairs or tweaking to make them better? I see you. It’s a life thang. 

Now that I have tweaked my work life a little more to have some more time and space, I have decided that at least once a month I am going to fix something that needs fixin’. I have jewelry that I love that needs repairing, my binder of “most used recipes” that needs to function better, a planner that I REALLY need to use but needs some tweaking of the pages to fit my life better, clothes that need mending, etc. 

I have been making do for years and it’s just pitiful. I’m surprised the recipe binder is even still holding together. You would think that I would fix something that I use several times a week! I decided to start with this necklace though instead of the binder first. Why? Because for about a year I have reached to wear it and realized I need to replace the wire that holds it to the leather, then I mentally fuss at myself.  I got this necklace on a trip to Charleston SC with my daughter when she had a job interview and didn’t want to make the long drive alone. On that trip I got to catch up with a friend from college and, along with her daughter we went to a craft fair where I got the necklace. Not only do I really like cool rocks, this one goes with almost everything in my wardrobe and I have good memories attached to it. To me (and I know my taste is a bit quirky) this is one of those William Morse things that is both beautiful and useful. 


Ideally I would like to fix about one item a week but some of them are going to take some time. Just for kicks and grins I will share the before and afters. I suspect this could easily be a year long project. I have been making do for a long time with many things and in the season of self-care that I have declared for 2018 this could cut down on my frustration level. 

Here is a detail (and boy, are these portraits detailed) from one of the portraits (it’s sideways, sorry) and the other is a sketch I did this morning. More self-care. I gave myself 45 glorious minutes out in my garden to just draw and enjoy the sights and sounds before I started my work day. 


 

Have a lovely week and give yourself the time to fix that one darn thing that is driving you nuts. 

An Ending and a Beginning 

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are having a great week. I am finally almost over all the itching and pain from the shingles now and the weather is finally in my favorite zone of 75-80 degrees with sunshine. Life is good again!

Yesterday I made my last delivery of my last orders for my design & print business and am winding down 32 years in the industry. I have made so many good friends over the years and will miss seeing them on a regular basis. The work itself I don’t think I will miss as much. I’m ready to do my own ideas on my own deadlines now. I have a couple of logos to do for my daughter and our beekeepers association but I think those will be my last two logos unless I revise my own logos.

What’s next? Well my plan is for you to get to see more of my artwork primarily. I started selling on EBay last year as a way of cleaning out our storage unit and there are some remaining family items no one wanted that need new homes. I will also do that until I either run out of stuff or decide I enjoy it enough to go find more stuff to sell, but my focus is the artwork. 

I have the two commissioned drawings to finish and I will show you those when they are finished, but I can’t yet while they are in progress. Hopefully next week I can get started on the ideas that fill about four sketchbooks that were started more than twenty years ago. I’m so excited! And more than a little freaked out that I am finally getting to do this!  Keep me accountable.  Procrastination sets in when the fear starts breathing down my neck. If you have ever taken a big risk on something very important to you…you know exactly what I mean!

Today’s photo is of my lovely, happily blooming irises. 

Go do something you have always wanted to do…now!

Busy as a bee or worthless?

Hi Everyone!

How is your week going? Life here is improving. I think we have finally moved past the snow and frost of winter and started Spring for real this time. It is raining here and looks like rain for the next few days but we need it so I will try not to complain. My son is home from his few months in Hawaii so that has definitely cheered me up. The bug bites have cleared and the shingles are slowly going away. They are truly a pain! 

I am beginning to get back some energy finally and can make it through a full day without collapsing around 2 pm.  I hope to be back to full speed soon. The fatigue has been constant for months due to high stress levels and illness. Am I the only one who beats themselves up when everything on the To Do list does not get done? In the middle of the worst of the shingles pain I noticed just how badly I talk to myself. “Worthless” kept coming up time and time again when I was not able to do something that I thought I should be able to. Dang. I wouldn’t call anyone else that when they were sick. 

So in my exhausted state I looked at my list of To Dos with a more discerning eye. What I noticed was that I really don’t have that many truly HAVE TO DOs.  Rarely do my clients have rush orders and they are very understanding when I’m sick. Generally I only HAVE to look after the animals and myself when D. or Miss L. are at school or work. I MAKE myself do the laundry and cooking (cooking is loosely defined as having some sort of at least semi-healthy food when I’m sick) to avoid guilt. 

What I discovered is that I set up self imposed deadlines on projects that cause high levels of unnecessary stress. There were actually SIX projects that I was beating myself up for that truly did not have to be done any certain time at all. What the heck? Why do I do that? So I gave myself permission to put those on the back burner for now and promised myself that I will quit calling myself Worthless. 

What does have to be done now? We have a garden to get planted and I have two portraits to finish (my clients did not give me a deadline, but I’m sure they would like them in a reasonable amount of time) and the normal life upkeep. That’s it. I have been able to get a good start on the portraits so here is a sneak peek. I’m trying not to give too much away until my clients see them.


I did have to get my new package of bees settled last week and have another one coming soon. My new bees are busily setting up their new home. My surviving hive is moving slow for this time of year. I checked on them Sunday and I’m afraid they are, for some undetermined reason, struggling like I am. The Queen is laying, but not profusely or regularly. Guess what? I’m not calling the queen worthless. She was my second best queen last year and her girls were my top honey producers for the year. They survived 6-9 degree nights this winter when the other hives didn’t. To the best of my ability I’m going to try and figure out what is wrong and help them if I can. I would love to see her thriving again.  Here is a video of my bees. The new colony is in the back, busy, busy , busy. My survivor hive is in the front, functional but not where they should be right now. 


Have a great week and for heavens sake, talk kindly to yourself.

The art of frustration 

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are having a lovely week so far. Supposedly we are going to have Spring return here this week. I am very ready for my feet to thaw out!

Did you notice that I posted this on time this week? Want to know why? Nope, it’s not because I finally have my act together. I have misplaced my good drawing paper and cannot continue with the two commissioned drawings until I find it. I am hoping that the distraction of writing will let my brain work on remembering where I put it last. 

Finally I have a week that involves no crisis management of affairs of an estate, Spring Break is over and I have no huge impending deadlines. Yesterday was great! I worked on my Etsy shop, started these two drawings, did a little practice painting all before I had to pick up Miss L.  Today started out pretty much the same way until I realized my drawing paper is missing. Dang! I had two solid hours to work on them.

So here I am, coming into the last month and a half of my thirty year career, all geared up to get down to some serious creative doing and making and I am an organizational mess. Normally I know exactly where everything is unless someone I live with moves it and this happens all too frequently. This time I can’t blame them though. 

In June I will have lived here for two years. In those two years I have had to constantly keep moving my art supplies around.  Either a room is being painted/renovated, someone is visiting or moving in, or every spare inch of space is occupied by stuff that has to be sorted, stored or given away eventually. The frustration level with this situation is very high. Really and truly I am a minimalist at heart but I find I am always living primarily with people who are not. My son is the exception. Right now he lives out of a backpack, but take a wild guess who stores his bed and few boxed possessions. 

My dear husband promises me that one day there will be a separate little art studio that only I have the key to. Looking at our long list of “need to do” items I hope he is planning on adding wheelchair ramp and Geritol dispenser on it. Until then I retreat to my Pinterest board of studio ideas and dream. 

The current reality is that I set up my fold out table in my bonus daughter’s/guest room for the two weeks that she is away and frantically work on my sewing machine and other projects that have to be spread out (I’m a creative mess so most projects fall in this category) then pack it all back up before she returns. Heaven help me if I forget to take the vacuum cleaner out of her closet before setting up the table. In that case, or any other that requires something from that closet, I have to crawl over the bed to the other side, retrieve the item then push or pull it back across the bed.  There are many not so nice words said during this ordeal. 

If the table issue were not enough the fact that I have my most used supplies in…the china cabinet, under our bed, under the love seat, under and on my desk, in a file cabinet in Miss L’s room, beside the sofa, in an end table, on our bookshelf, AND in the master bathroom! The less needed supplies are in our storage unit 20 minutes away and I seem to need them several times a month. Honestly I do not own a store’s worth of supplies. We just have so little space that I have to stick them in every nook and cranny I can find. Trying to find what I need causes some high level frustration. HOPEFULLY as I wind down my design business and clean out files and supplies that I will no longer need, I can begin to consolidate the art supplies and cut down on the frustration. Did I mention that the nearest art supply store is over an hour away by car or two days away via Amazon. Wonder if I can figure out how to make horse hair paint brushes? 

Maybe I should remember to give myself a pat on the back any time I manage to finish ANYTHING.  Here are a couple of finished items from this week. My table quilt from my class got finished. Probably the worst sewing I have done in years but it doesn’t look too bad as long as you don’t look on the back, and a small painting of our cat, Sweetie Pie. I have her eyes too close together but I was focusing on some painting techniques more that worrying about getting everything “right”. 


I am going to make myself some lunch, take some water to the chickens, gather some eggs and make sure I didn’t put my drawing paper in their coop.

May your week have low levels of frustration!