Spring!

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are well and the sun is shining where you are. Spring has sprung FINALLY and though it’s still cool here, the sun IS shining. The flowers are starting to bloom and one of my bee colonies survived the winter to happily do honeybee stuff again. Unfortunately a 50% loss of our bees is the norm anymore and I lost my other colony. The humans around here and nearby towns are suffering from some nasty stomach flu. It hasn’t made it to our house and I darn sure hope it doesn’t. Fresh air and sunlight are desperately needed. 

We have kicked it into high gear this week. We have a goal of having our place ready to sell the first week of April. D. and I spent yesterday cleaning out closets (me) and barns (him) then taking another truckload of donations off to a charity store.  I have been working with Miss L. to clean out her outgrown (I think she grows an inch a month) clothes and donate items she no longer needs. This weekend we are having a new roof put on. That’s hopefully our biggest expense and the rest will just be minor repairs. Our lawnmower is in the shop so we hope it is done so we can get the grass trimmed by our deadline. I’m trying to keep a positive outlook on the selling process, but it’s in my top 5 stressors. 

That brings me to my hour a day drawing sessions. Best thing I have done for myself in a long time. I finished a pastel painting this week in three days! I got in an extra hour one evening, but that’s pretty fast for me. I started this still life to enter into a competition by the end of the month. It’s an online artist group that has a monthly competition where the prize is art supplies. That is as good as money. Art supplies are expensive! 


My hour is my meditation time. I have tried meditation. Can’t do it. But I can get into that flow state when I’m drawing or painting and honestly don’t hear or see much of anything around me. My hyperactive brain gets a break. If I’m working on a boring part I can listen to podcast, but I can’t always tell you what it was about. With a pending move and Dad’s health I need the mental break. This morning I started a new painting so here is a little detail.


This weekend I am heading further into the hills on a trip with my two best friends from college. We try to get away once a year but Life hasn’t cooperated the past couple of years so I’m very excited to have some quality time with them again. Then when I get back the whole selling, packing, buying or building adventure starts for real. Say a prayer for my husband. I’m not easy to live with when I have to be showing a house and constantly on edge to keep the place spotless. 

I highly suggest finding an hour to do something you enjoy and can lose yourself in. The benefits so far have been great. Now I need to quit kicking myself for not figuring it out earlier. Go. Go now and do your thing! 

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My current crushes

Hi Everyone!

Hope you are having an excellent week.  Mine has been fairly calm and a little disappointing. I have been on a bee watch, hoping for a swarm of bees to move into one of my swarm traps.  For several days it looked very hopeful with lots of scout bees, then suddenly the activity died down and it turned cold here again. The next several days will be warm and I will be back to watching my hives. The rest of my week has been very busy with work and I have put in long hours on this computer.

I thought I would share a couple of my latest obsessions with you in case you would like to check them out.

In the past couple of years I have become very interested in quilts. Making them to be exact.  I have never made a quilt and have no idea where this sudden interest came from.  I lived in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia for many years and always tried to go to the Amish community’s annual quilt auction.  I would walk around amazed at the skill and artistry of their quilts.  Often these quilts would sell for thousands of dollars and well they should.  I have a Pinterest board called If I ever make a quilt if you would like to follow it or just see what I have been pinning since this quilt thing started happening.

A while back I ran into Sherri Lynn Wood’s book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously.  It now resides on my wish list on Amazon.  It appealed to me because, try as I might, I rarely am able to follow a pattern.  Not that I can’t really, but because my brain will, somewhere in the middle of making something, go “what if I tried this” and that will be the end of the pattern.  I have always suspected that any attempt of following a precise quilt pattern would end badly for me.  Sherri’s book throws out the precision part and let’s you go off on your own, but at the same time seems to give you the skill set to not wind up with a wadded up mess.

Back to the obsession part of this post.  I ran across Abby Glassenberg’s podcast While She Naps (same name as her blog) and she had an interview with Sherri Lynn Wood and that led me to Sherri’s blog Daintytime and I have been binge reading ever since, starting at her very first post.  I am especially interested in her bereavement quilts.  I think that is an amazing way to work through grief.  They are very different from other quilts and bears I have seen using a loved one’s clothes.  I am also still very much in love with her improv quilts and foresee the day when I will attempt one of those.

We have had a sudden cleaning out of old jeans here and I have decided to start a quilt with the fabric.  Here is what I did last night.  After hours and hours on the computer I needed to do something more hands on so I cut up jeans.  Don’t expect to see a finished quilt anytime soon, but I’m moving in that direction.

The jeans are worn out, but what is left is going to find a new purpose.

 

Any ideas of what I can do with the leftover bits?

Also interviewed on Abby’s podcast (yes, her podcast is an obsession right now as well) was Ann Wood. Oh. My. Gosh.  I love her work.  Go to Ann’s blog and see what she does if you like textile art.  Really, I just want to sit in those lovely rooms with her and touch all that gorgeous fabric she works with.  I’m not a cutesy person. I don’t do cute hearts and fluffy animals. Her birds and animals and insects just make my heart sing.  They are rough and royal all at the same time with the simple and ornate fabric.  Her boats make me want to take a journey with the cat.  Just go check it out.

I have no affiliations with any of these people or their products.  I just found them and thought I would pass them along in case you are looking for some new visual candy or creative challenges.

So, my work load is calling and I must go.  Have a awesome week and if you have some cool current obsessions please share!

Some of my favorite podcasts

Monkey w ear buds

I had a request a while back to post some of my favorite websites, blogs, etc.  I am finally getting around to it.  My apologies for taking so long.  I’m sure I will forget something, but that will give me another blog post in the future.  Today I am focusing on podcasts. I spend more time listening to podcasts than I do reading blogs or visiting websites (Pinterest being the exception and that merits a blog post all its own).

For years I was fed up with paying for cable tv because I rarely watched anything regularly other than HGTV. When my last kid left for college I almost immediately dropped the cable (and saved $50 a month!) and got a Roku to watch Netflix or Amazon Prime (neither of which I watch very often either and will probably drop one of those eventually).  What I discovered instead were podcasts.  I LOVE podcasts because I can work, knit, paint, sew and still keep up with what is going on in the world or learn something or just hear a great story. Here are some of my favorites:

Craft Sanityhttp://craftsanity.com/

This is actually my most recent find and obsession.  I discovered Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood’s podcast just a couple of months ago and have been binge listening to her ever since.  I just this week listened to the most recent episode.  She has been podcasting for years now.  I don’t know how I possibly missed finding her until now.  If you  like crafts of any kind there will be something for you to enjoy.  She talks to a wide variety of crafts people at all stages of life and craft.  I think what I have enjoyed the most is realizing that my people are out there in the world, I just need to connect with them.  I am not the only person who jumps from one form of making to another, sees the world differently, can’t function well in a “normal” job, etc.  I am not as alien as I have often felt!

I also follow Craftsanity on Instagram.

Etsy Conversationshttp://convome.com/

As an Etsy seller, and still a novice one at that, I have learned so much from listening to Ijeoma Eleazu and her guest Etsy shop owners. If you have an Etsy shop or are considering starting one you need to listen to this podcast.  I have actually taken notes at times for things that I need to do, improve on, try, etc. I also follow her on Instagram.

Ijeoma, thank you for putting in the time on the podcast!

The Savvy Painterhttp://savvypainter.com/podcast/

Antrese Wood hosts this podcast. Focusing on fine art painters, she interviews artists about their life, work and process.  Even though I have been painting and drawing for years and years now, I have been out of the fine art scene since I left college.  Eventually I would like to get my act together and start showing my artwork.  I consider this podcast as my classroom.

Good Life Projecthttp://www.goodlifeproject.com/radio/

Jonathan Fields offers up an alternative to the negativity of the media.  Through thoughtful interviews with people from all walks of life who are making things better out there in the world, Jonathan opens up a window of light and encourages us to make a better life for ourselves and others with whatever abilities we have.  It beats the heck out of watching the mainstream news!

This American Lifehttp://www.thisamericanlife.org/podcast

If you just want to get lost in another place start listening to This American Life.  I get so caught up in the stories that I forget that I’m knitting or cooking or driving (not necessarily a good thing).  I never thought I would be mesmerized by the process of selling cars, but one episode had me on the edge of my seat waiting to see if the salesmen made their monthly quota.  Lovely storytelling.

There are some other podcasts I check on occasionally and I would love to get some recommendations from you.  Let me know what you are listening to.

I will have a list of websites, blogs and books coming up soon.  Have a wonderful week!

Photo credit – photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/42329213@N00/1216468104″>Ipodular Monkey</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;