Rainy days

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are well. We are having a cold, rainy day here. My least favorite weather. The upside to a rainy day is that I can’t get outside to work and can escape into my attic studio.

My current projects include trying to finish some unfinished paintings and work on this website. DH pointed out the other day that I don’t have any of my commissioned work on here. Over the years I have had little time to pursue shows or galleries because it has been hard to build a body of work to use. I have been able to consistently take commissions though. They have been my bread & butter artwork.

It is still a work in progress, but if you look under the MENU tab above you will see my Commissions page now. These are samples of work I have done in the past few years. Somewhere I have more photos of more work, but they seem to be MIA. Does anyone else need a better system of filing your photos? If you have a good system, PLEASE tell me how.

I have a table full of unfinshed work and some canvases I’m getting ready to start on. It has been an absolute pleasure to finally have some consistent time (did I mention that our niece got her license so my taxi business has retired) to paint. My minimum daily time is about 2 hours most days. Today I have been holed up here for almost 4 hours. Other than a lack of heat up here, it has been wonderful.

Trying to improve my website has proven just how scattered and fragmented my art time has been over the years. I have reference photos everywhere – digital and hard copy, photos of finished work stuck in weird places and finished work in equally weird spots. Finally I have one place for all my supplies, files, work, etc. Slowly I am cleaning out dried up paint, art that should be burned, craft supplies I will never use again and crazy stuff I wonder why I kept. Now if I can just get my studio construction finished, it might not be as cold and would certainly look better!

Well, folks I need to wrap this up, go thaw out my feet and put some soup on for dinner. In case I haven’t mentioned it recently, I am on Instagram and Facebook under Bloomtown Studio. Usually I post the same stuff in both places so just pick one to visit. Also, check back here when you can. I am determined to get my act together (stop laughing, it could happen) and get this website in better shape.

Have a wonderful week!!

Christel

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Getting back to it

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are well. Today is Election Day in the U.S. DH and I went out early this morning to vote. I’m old school and prefer to vote on Election Day instead of early voting. I always think of my Dad during elections. One of his favorite things was helping at the polls and he did it for as long as he could. When I went to vote for the first time at the age of 18, he almost followed me into the voting booth while he was instructing me on how to vote. You would have to have known my Dad and his side of the family. They loved to argue politics and they did it loudly at every family gathering. Guess what. They never got mad at opposing views and never stopped being a family. I always told my kids that they should appreciate the peaceful transfer of power in our country. My prayer today is that this country continues to uphold that process and that families don’t stop being a family over politics.

Moving on to artsy things and to start catching you up on our current crazy…

My studio is still under construction, but I am able to work fairly comfortably in here now. With all the other projects that have to be done, we are only working in the studio on rainy Saturdays. We haven’t had many of those in the past few months. While I am working away up here I do have to occasionally move around furniture and storage as we work on baseboards and painting. MOST of the boxes have been unpacked and I have purchased some shelves. I have a color scheme picked out for when I finally get to the pretty stuff, but I have decided that the wood floors need to be painted. They are hardwood, but they have lived a hard life and it’s not worth the time and money to try and refinish them. I also need more light up here and think a glossy white paint should reflect what light I have around more. Do I even need to mention that oil and acrylic paint has a strange way of escaping a paint brush and throwing itself around everywhere? White gloss paint covers a lot of ugly and messes.

The main photo above is a current work in progress. Lately I have been slightly obsessed with clouds or things that make me look up and have many photos for reference. I’m working small right now just to get back in the swing of oil painting. Maybe I’m the only one, but switching between acrylic paint and oils requires a major flip in my process.

Our niece got her license back during the summer and though that is a double edged sword for a parent, it has finally given me a little more time back in my life and my goal is to get in a minimum of 2 hours studio time each day. That does not seem like much, but when it has been more like 2 hours a week or even a MONTH, it’s a huge improvement. My attitude about life reflects the change. I am so much better mentally when I get my art time in. Hopefully I will have some art work finished by the end of the year and can update my website and add a little store onto it. Life goals.

You all have a great week, stay safe (it’s crazy out there) and do something creative.

Christel

Anyone still out there?

Hi Everyone!

Yes, I have been MIA for a very long time. There are several reasons for my absence. Primarily it has been an extended creative block. I have been doing some artwork, but was struggling to get into it. I decided to pull out the sewing machine and start making myself some much needed clothes. Maybe something about switching up my focus started getting the creative juices flowing again. I think it may take a different turn, but I will start sharing what’s happening and give an update on my studio construction (hint: it’s not done yet).

I have closed my Etsy shop. Maybe I will explain that decision later. Many folks have been disgruntled with Etsy and I was one of them. I am looking into just adding a shop here on my website if I can afford it. I am also considering starting a newsletter. It would only be sent out when I have a major update or important information. If you would like to be added to the newsletter email list please email me at bloomtownstudio@gmail.com and tell me you would like to be added.

That’s my update for today. The handsome pup is a recent commission that I finished.

Have a great week and I should be back posting soon.

Christel

Cats and S.A.D.

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all are well and that if you are getting a snow dump this weekend you are ready. I don’t think we are getting too much this time hopefully. This is going to be a quick check in today. The TO DO list is long.

It has been too cold to accomplish much in the studio even with two heaters running. I do have a drawing in the works and am working on the admin stuff from the living room right now. Next week is looking like better temperatures. I need some serious time upstairs. Winter is getting to me.

Things around the farm haven’t been too bad lately. We had one horse jump the fence on Tuesday morning. You are enjoying that first cup of coffee, watching the sunrise and realize that there is a traffic jam on the road in front of you. Then you get that bad feeling that the traffic jam might be caused by someone who belongs to you. Sure enough, it was our long legged, DARK horse, Cinder, on the loose. He was lucky that someone saw him in time to stop. Later in the day I found the spot on the fence that he either squeezed through or jumped over. The tuft of black tail or mane stuck on the fence might have given it away. That and the hoof prints on the other side! You can’t imagine how many times in a week that I shake my head wondering what these four legged fools were thinking when they got into trouble.

We have also had an influx of stray cats. Normally we have one at a time, but now we suddenly have THREE. One big ‘ole white tom cat with one of the largest heads I have ever seen on a cat. One tuxedo cat that has been around for awhile and I suspect shares DNA with our Sweetie Pie. One young orange tabby that showed up this week. Most of the time we are pretty tolerant of strays and will give them a meal if they look too thin. This time having so many along with our cat is becoming an issue. Sweetie Pie is a small (but mighty) feline and she has been fixed. Jughead (DH named the big, white tom) has not been to the vet and could also be named Scarface. The tuxedo cat and the young tabby we have not been able to verify their kitten making status.

All I know is that there are too many cat fights going on. Sweetie Pie got chased into a tree and I had to rescue her the other night. Over the years I have taken more than one cat to the vet with abcessed puncture wounds and do not want to do it again. We also do not want to find a litter of kittens in the hay bales. We had hoped the puppy would at least scare them off. Not hurt them, but make hanging out not so fun. Nope, Phoenix likes cats. The cats know this. So much for that theory. So, we are now trying to decide how the handle the feline population. Shaking my head again.

This week the Seasonal Affective Disorder began to settle in. I’ve done better this year. Normally it moves in right after the holidays. I think puppy therapy has helped. Phoenix will drive me crazy with the puppiness, but she keeps me too busy to think about the gloom and doom. I am seriously fighting the urge to stay in bed, shave my head (I don’t understand the hair thing, but I have now heard that other people also want to do drastic things to their hair during the winter), and eat biscuits and gravy all day. You would think after almost 60 years of this stuff I would have figured out a treatment or two. But no and I dread it every year. If any of you have suggestions please pass them along. I keep as much light in the house as possible, try to get outside for sunlight when I can stand the cold, eat pretty well, but still it affects me.

That’s about it for now. There is lots of gloom and doom out there in the world and most of it’s not winter related right now. Try to have some fun and look after yourself. I will do the same.

Faith, Hope, Love, PEACE

Christel

Photo by Fabrice Villard on Unsplash

The joys of winter

Hi Everyone!

Hello to the new readers. Welcome. How is everyone doing? In my part of the world winter has arrived in force. We were snowed in over the weekend and expecting more snow and ice tonight. Hopefully not much this time. I am very tired of slipping and sliding my way to the goat shed every morning.

Our temps are not supposed to reach above freezing all day. Yuck. The wood stove is working hard! Even both of my kids who live at different parts of the East Coast are expecting significate icing tonight. One is having to spend the night at the hospital where she works and I’m sure my firefighter son will be busy with wrecks and possibly space heater fires.

I have been trying my best to use my winter confinement wisely. We won’t discuss the cookie baking and biscuits and gravy that have been happening! I finished the blouse I had started last week. The original plan was for long sleeves, but I did not have enough fabric so it became a summer blouse. I am happy with the pattern (the fabric was a beast and I will avoid such slipperness in the future) and am planning a dress in the future from it. If anyone is interested, it is the Rhapsody Blouse & Dress from Love Notions pattern company.

I am still working on DH’s sweater and am playing a serious game of yarn chicken. There are going to be some creative sleeves on this baby if the beige yarn runs out too early. Sewing and knitting have their share of drama! I am using the Flax pattern from Tin Can Knits, but not doing the garter panel on the sleeves.

For a long time I have been wanting to learn stranded colorwork, but have been intimidated. I have enough trouble controlling one ball of yarn much less multiple. But the time has come. I am joining a Knit Along in February to see if I can master it. I have visions of Fair Isle sweaters in my closet, but I’m starting with a hat. I will let you know how it goes.

Artwork is limited because it’s just too darn cold in my attic studio. I am still slowly working on a drawing. If I get this post done soon enough I am going to work on it today. The puppy is down for her nap and I have a heck of a time accomplishing any detailed projects when she is awake. We see glimmers of hope that she will eventually become a big, squishy puddle of pit bull lazy in the future, but we aren’t gonna be there for months yet. She is losing her baby teeth and that has been exciting. I haven’t had a puncture wound for almost a week now!

That’s about it from the frozen wasteland of North Carolina. We won’t discuss the mud levels either when the ground thaws. Double yuck.

Stay safe and warm out there!

Faith, Hope, Love and Peace,

Christel

Makers gotta make

Hi Everyone!

I am trying to sneak this post in quietly while the puppy is sleeping. Honestly it is just like having a two year old running around again. I can’t take my eyes off of her while she is awake because she will get into something and I try to cram all my work into her two hour morning nap. It’s exhausting.

So 2022 is here and I am juggling lots of things at once. How is your January going? Things are supposed to slow down in the winter, but I really don’t think that ever happens in my life. I am trying to do more cozy activities. The Scandinavians know how to do winter so I am embracing as many of their traditions as possible to get to Spring without diving into my usual Winter depression. Currently three pairs of socks on my feet, wood stove going, candles at night, more books to read and forcing myself out into the cold for some walks.

We are still working on the studio, but I now have three tables up there full of creative endeavors. Yours truly is spending at least an hour a day in her UNHEATED studio. I have one space heater and will probably move another up there soon. Yesterday I had my three pairs of socks on, a hat, fingerless gloves and three layers of clothing while just happily working away on three different projects. When it’s your thing you just do it!

The 2022 plan is to revamp my pitiful Etsy shop and hopefully my website. I am thinking in April I will have a one or two day sale of original paintings and drawings. I am also trying to post current work on Instagram and my Facebook page a few times a week (search for Bloomtown Studio both places) so you can see what I am actually doing in my attic hideaway. Currently I have two drawings in the works and a couple of unfinished paintings I need to get to. With it being so cold I don’t think the paint works as well as it should so I have been concentrating on my drawings. Here is a video of the beginning of one. Yes, to many people this probably seems pretty boring, but I’m processing what I want to do with this piece and pondering life.

I am also working on a knitted sweater for DH and sewing myself some much needed clothes. Yes, I know there are stores that have these things. First, I extremely dislike shopping (hate seems too harsh). Second, I “inherited” boxes and boxes of both yarn and fabric from DH’s Mom and Grandmother. Both ladies were talented makers and left behind very nice fabric and yarn. I kinda feel like it should be used and not wasted. Grandbabies have been getting blankets, DN is learning to crochet with some of it and I am using all of it that I can. There are also several quilt tops and quilt pieces that I am planning to finish.

I suspect many of you that read this crazy blog know exactly what I’m talking about. Makers gotta make. It’s our thing. It’s our sanity. It’s our duty to use our talents. Yes, those folks who don’t have this blessing/curse don’t understand why we will spend hours and hours making something. Something that may or may not be actually good or usable in the end. Something that may not be appreciated when it is received as a gift. I quit worrying about it and you should too. Don’t try to explain it and don’t get your heart hurt when a gift isn’t appreciated. Hopefully they will realize that if you put so much time into something it was given with EXTREME love. We don’t give people these things if we don’t love them! We can go to the mall for a gift for those people.

The grandbabies are wrapped in blankets made by my hands from yarn that belonged to their great-grandmother. DH will get to wear a sweater from yarn that his Mom bought probably hoping to make him one herself (the colors screamed DH). I get to wear clothing I made, that I like (can we admit that some of the styles out there are yucky and the quality is awful) from quality fabric and if it falls apart I can only blame myself. Making things is therapeutic, frustrating and satisfying. What’s not to like? You are going to spend that time doing something. I would rather be making than watching TV and not accomplishing anything.

Gotta get going. The puppy will be waking up soon.

Have a great week!

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace, Peace,

Christel

Hello 2022!

Hi Everyone!

I’m pretty sure some people gave up on me. I have been missing since mid-October so I can’t say I blame them. Life got CRAZY. My last post was on October 21st. Halloween weekend we took off to South Carolina to visit my daughter and her family. Their neighborhood is something to behold on Halloween. We didn’t get to go Trick or Treating with my grandson, but we had a nice visit and took in the ghosts and goblins.

The following weekend we hosted our annual family chicken stew. I pulled it together this year, but not at the level that I have in previous years. Normally I have the weekend before to get the last minute stuff like decorations and games for the kids, but barely got the food this year. For the record, I do not consider myself an Event Planner. I enjoy the people, but not the planning.

Our chicken stew was on Nov. 4th. On November 5th we went and picked up the newest member of the family. Meet Miss Phoenix aka Pheeney. I couldn’t stand it without a dog. It was too quiet in the house and I was getting depressed. I had Dinah, our niece’s dog, but honestly any dog that weighs less than 15 pounds just doesn’t count as a dog in my world. Dinah is also very squeaky and needy. Phoenix is a American Pit Bull (though we do not know what Daddy was) and is probably going to top out somewhere between 60-70 lbs! DH and I just adore her. She is smart, full of personality and very snuggly. If we can survive the puppy stage Phoenix is going to make a great dog. Right now we are in the toddler stage and having to take her out once or twice a night and keep her entertained and out of trouble. We are exhausted!

The following weekend DN was supposed to be gone on a trip so DH and I planned a weekend of fun for us. Then the trip got canceled. Well, she’s old enough to take care of herself for a while now so we packed up the pup and went hiking that Saturday morning. It was a gorgeous day and Phoenix made the 3.5 hike mostly on her own four feet. Saturday night DH and I went to a local theatre and saw the band Sythian. We NEVER get to go out to see live music so this was a huge treat. A much needed evening of fun. If you haven’t heard of them, look them up.

November 19th was the long awaited graduation of my son from the firefighter’s academy. DH and I loaded up the car with the pup and my ex-mother-in-law (we are still good friends) and headed to the coast of North Carolina. DN had the opening night of her theatre class’ production of Frozen Jr. She stayed with my sister and BIL who also got her where she had to be on time and was in the audience for opening night. At the same time we were sitting outside for the graduation freezing body parts off. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but you just don’t think the coast of NC could be that freakin cold.

After a nice celebration dinner we headed back to our Airbnb, got up the next morning and toured the house my son and his girlfriend were closing on three days later. I’m very proud of them. They have made some serious lemonade out of lemons in the past two years.

Back in the car before noon for a 4 hour drive home and settled in the pup, dropped the niece off at the school, a quick dinner and off to see her in the play. By this point we are thinking we are getting too old for this kinda crazy schedule and by the next week our bodies were telling us the same thing. It started out as a head cold that put DH to bed for Thanksgiving. My daughter and family came in, but he didn’t get to enjoy the fellowship. I served him Thanksgiving in bed.

By the first week of December I had the head cold and we were both on our way to bronchitis. Yes, we tested for the CV19 and it was negative. The rest of December we struggled to just do what we had to do. DH worked, slowly. I managed minimum decorations. DN took on most of the Christmas goodies. We got through but I can’t say we were thriving. Let’s just say there are a few Christmas presents that have not been given yet. They may be Valentine’s Day presents!

So, that’s where I have been. We are fairly recovered, but I don’t yet have my normal energy level back yet. It was fun and we got to spend time with both sides of the family, but I’m ready for life to slow down and get back to normal.

NEXT WEEK (as long as crazy doesn’t set in again) I will fill you in on my 2022 plans. Wishing you all a wonderful 2022. I can tell you that my one resolution this year is to take things a little easier and add in more fun. I worked too hard last year.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace and Peace,

Christel

Puppy photo credit Hope Animal Rescue. House photo credit Sam Hittle.

A revelation

Hi Everyone!

I think it’s time to accept that for the time being this blog is gonna be a little sporatic. My best laid plans keep flying out the window. I’ve had grandbabies to watch while their parents have to take care of life stuff and DN has been home AGAIN for the past week and a half for quarantine. Her entire history class got quarantined because of a few students that tested positive. God willing and the creeks don’t rise, she gets to go back next Tuesday. There are a few things that get pushed to the bottom of the To Do list when life gets crazy and this blog is one of them.

I hope all is well with you and everyone is working in some fun and relaxation occasionally. Over all we have been good here. I did have to take a few days off from the garden because I had just worn myself out. I desperately needed some R&R. Of course it was DH that pointed out that I was running out of steam and that I needed to take a break. I must have been complaining about being tired all the time and trying to weasel out of cooking dinner one time too many. He has gotten used to home cooked meals every night and if you knew my husband’s capacity to consume food you would understand why he was becoming concerned.

Along with the above conversation I was complaining that I just couldn’t find time to get upstairs and do any artwork. Like many women (not all, but I suspect the majority), my priorities start with the family and work down to myself. My schedule was to feed goats/horses, take care of the garden before it got hot outside, do the cleaning/bills/laundry/cooking and then if I was lucky I MIGHT (but rarely) have enough energy to do some artwork. So, DH said it was time I rearranged my schedule to the following: Goats/horses, garden, ARTWORK, cleaning, laundry, cooking. So I decided to try it even though it made me feel a little guilty.

Well, well, well, it has been working wonderfully! I get up to the attic (no, it’s not finished, but it is to a point I can work in it) while the temperature is still comfortable (no A/C yet and it’s been in the 90’s). I work until 11:30ish when it starts getting hot. It has been amazing how much I can get done in the approximately 3 hours of attic time. Currently there are 8 paintings in various stages including a commission of 3 small paintings. Top that off with the fact I still have energy to take care of the daily chores after I’m done and my mental clarity has been soooooo much better. No building resentment because my life is all work and no play either. Ok ladies (and any men who might have been doing this too) don’t do like I have always done and put yourself last. At least occasionally move yourself to the top of the list to save your sanity.

I have honestly felt like a new person. My day goes smoother. My brain works better. I’m not tired and cranky all the time. I get my much needed alone time.

The weather is cooling off and by George, I’m going to be spending more time in the attic. I need to reorganize lots of stuff along with doing the actual artwork. Then I need to a paint as DH puts the finishing touches on the drywall and trim. Oh Happy Day!! I love my people, but I sooooo need this now.

I will share some art with you next week, uh, next time I’m here. Stay safe out there and do something for yourself.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace

Christel

Photo by Raul Varzar on Unsplash

Lighting bugs

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are well. If you are in the areas getting fried with the heat wave you have my utmost sympathy. We have been in the upper 80’s and 90’s (F) here and it is miserable enough. I have been getting out in the garden about an hour earlier to beat the heat, but still come in wringing wet with sweat. Though we are not as dry as out west we definitely needed some rain. Luckily last night we got some good storms and rain to keep the gardens and our farmers going.

Last week I did skip out on you. DN was away on a church trip and I took advantage of the time gained from not having to taxi around a teenager. DH took Tuesday off work and we just spent the day visiting some places we had been wanting to go and finally getting our anniversary dinner out. I worked on a couple of art projects and started setting up one corner of the attic to be functional. Today was cool enough to actually get up there and spend several hours working and discovering my long lost art supplies.

One evening last week we had a thunderstorm blowing in. I did something I have not done for years and years. DH and I went out on our porch and watched the storm. This was one of my favorite things as a kid. I would sit on our carport (no porch) and watch the wind and the lighting. We watched the storm well into the dark and when it had blown by we sat and watched the lighting bugs. If you have lighting bugs/fireflies where you live, have you noticed how few they are now? This was especially noticeable when I lived in town. It was one of the main reasons I quit using chemicals on my yard, flowers and garden.

I am happy to say that we have a gracious plenty of lighting bugs here. We only use organic products (except when eradicating poison ivy. Please let me know if you have a fool proof organic solution to poison ivy!) and we still have wild and wooly areas for bugs to live. It was just a wonderful thing to sit and watch the storm and the bugs. The older I get the simplier I want life to be. I am over the endless activities and social engagements. Here and there it is ok, but I spent many years running myself and kids to meetings, sports and other busy crazy stuff. I think I would have liked to have had more evenings on our front porch watching storms and bugs.

Last night was the opening of the juried art show that my piece was accepted into. It’s a nice show. Lots of variety of art. DH and DN went with me and then I was surprised to see my sister, brother-in-law and Mom show up. It was a nice opening. I’m going to try and get back to see everything a little slower. I felt a little rushed. It has been a long time since I entered a juried show. Like 20 years! They can be a little pricey and then if your work doesn’t get in you feel like you just flushed the money down the toliet. I am now set up on the site where the shows are announced. Maybe I will pick one or two a year to enter. I feel like my work has improved enough that my chances may be better.

That’s about it for this week…and last week. Hope you have a lovely week and find some slow time to enjoy something that brings back happy childhood memories.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace

Christel

Photo by Kevin Wong on Unsplash

Spark Plug, Stings and Shows

Hi Everyone!

Check it out, I’m on time this week. It has been quite a while since I made my normal schedule. This week has been calmer. Not without it’s crazy, but less crazy.

Along with my normal activities I have been helping DN get ready for a trip next week. That has involved some shopping and getting her a travel Covid test. Now we are to the packing up part. We also still have a donkey with a leg wound that requires DH and me to give him an antibiotic shot every evening. I cannot begin to tell you how much I look forward to that. NOT. Spark Plug the donkey is not happy about the shot or that he is having to stay in the barn 24/7 right now. Donkeys have long memories and ours holds a grudge.

I accidently found a yellow jacket nest with my wheel barrow. I escaped without a sting, but DH and one of the horses got stung. DH had a bad reaction almost immediately. No breathing problems but immediate hives. I gave him Benadryl for the hives and he kinda over reacts to Benadryl too. He slept through the majority of the day. In my opinion a yellow jacket is devil spawn. They are just evil. Luckily DH and the horse only got one sting each. Usually the whole hive will hunt you down. We took care to eradicate those devils last night.

Monday was riding lesson day for DN and me. Remember last week did not go so good for me? Much better lesson this week even though it was still almost 90 degrees. I did not over heat and almost pass out this time. My body and brain began to put back in practice all the little things you are supposed to do on the back of a horse. It’s been about 18 months since I last did any riding. The stable we last took lessons at was primarily English style riding. We are now at a stable that teaches Western riding. Much bouncier. Trust me, my body needs to speed up the muscle memory. Moving the next day is kinda slow. Of course the teenager is just fine the next day. ( Insert eye roll here)

Creak No More – colored pencil Copyright Christel Huttar 2019

Last week I mentioned that I had entered an art show and I was notified on Tuesday that my piece “Creak No More” was accepted. Woo hoo!! The show starts on July 1st. We have made some more progress on my studio. I now have one installed light fixture. This coming week I hope to finish painting that end of the attic and set up my easel. I will have light to work by! Talk about testing my patience. Where is my darn Fairy Godmother when I need her to wave her wand and get this done? Worthless. Absolutely worthless.

Have a great week. I should be doing a post next week, but it will be a semi-vacation week for me and DH. If I go missing it’s because we are either out having some much needed fun or I’m tackling a big project without teenager interruption.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace

Christel