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.
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.
Yes, I’m late this week. I’m going to blame it on the weather. What the heck? Another late season frost similar to last year. I spent time covering up little plants, bringing potted plants inside and cutting flowers to enjoy as long as possible. I’m glad I hadn’t gotten around to packing up the hats and gloves yet. They were needed on the past few late night / early morning walks with the dog. Like 2:30 am or 4:00 am walks. I think his seizure meds are messing things up. Thanks to these walks I have also been groggy and slower than usual.
I forgot to mention that I have new bees too. My brother-in-law very kindly gave me one of the splits he made from one of his hives and also a nuc he made from a swarm I believe. I don’t have the second one here yet, but am going tomorrow to meet the queen. She will probably be moving here in about a week. So I may have spent more than the usual amount of time watching the new girls and keeping them fed with sugar water. I don’t know how things are at your house, but here, 75% of my time is spent feeding things…humans, creatures and plants. There should be a tax write off somewhere in there.
A note to our neighbors…our lawn mower is being repaired. It’s going to take 3-4 weeks to get it back. Yes, the yard will be bad. Don’t panic if you see horses loose in the yard. They might as well earn their keep and mow some grass.
Today has been rainy and cold. Perfect attic construction weather. I spent several hours painting the walls that are up and DH is still up there putting up more drywall. There are some seriously wonky corners, dips and angles. Not easy on 50+ year old backs and shoulders. Some things will have to wait until lumber prices come down. We were going to frame out the window, but one small board to make the window sill was going to be $14! It can wait. DH estimates 2 more months of work. That would be about my birthday. I would be quite happy to have a finished studio for my birthday.
Yesterday morning I helped with a yard sale and by the time I got home the allergies were full on. I got what had to be done taken care of then decided to take some time to do a little painting while my head recovered. It has been about 3 weeks since I have worked in any drawing or painting. It may not help my allergies, but it sure helps my mental health. I am hoping this coming week to clean up the corner of the attic that is 95% done and maybe move a table and easel in where I can start working. Fingers crossed. Next weekend we have one of the grandkids so I know we will not get much accomplished while she’s here.
Have a great week. I hope your weather is warm. Some of you have storms heading your way I think. Be safe out there and I hope to be back on Thursday.
How has your week been going? Things here have been slightly less hectic than last week. Today has been my taxi day. DN had to get her new glasses, braces wire fixed, and dentist visit. In the middle of those I had to pick up some tax info and get the dog’s meds. All this before NOON!
Tuesday school started back up and I had the house to myself again. I celebrated by going out and sketching a while around the farm. I wanted to sketch the horses since they are always one of the most difficult things for me to draw, but none of them would cooperate. So I drew old buildings and hay bales.
Yesterday my plan was to finish a project that I have been struggling with for a few weeks now. It is requiring me to learn new software. We all know how much fun that is. So, I go to open the file I need to finalize and…it’s 95% gone. Yep, hours of work just gone. I have no idea how or why. Bad words were said. This has been one of those projects that could turn out to be a good source of income or it might be a bust. I won’t know until I try, but I will try again next week when I can recover from the high aggravation factor.
Last week I mentioned that I was up to some creative endeavors with a couple of coffee bean bags. So, what exactly did I do with those coffee bean bags?? I made kitchen curtains. I don’t know about you, but when I move into a house (and I have moved into alot of houses) I need to live with a place for a while to get ideas of how I want it to look. Our kitchen has been a struggle. It has one wall of the original 1955 wood paneling that DH dearly loves and immediately let me know that no paint brush will touch it. It has 1990’s oak cabinetry that once again, you-know-who doesn’t want to paint and quite frankly it would be pricey to have someone paint. I have painted cabinets before. That was enough for one lifetime. There are light blue laminate countertops that are not in great shape and mismatched appliances.
Now my decorating style is eclectic primarily because I like very old stuff and I like very modern stuff so it becomes a mismash. Granted, I like the lovely current farm house decor, but let’s be real, real farmer types cannot have wall to wall WHITE. That becomes red Carolina clay color in a split second. We wear boots that daily tromp through dirt, grass and manure. The previous owners put gray tile in the kitchen and while it is very practical, I don’t really like it. To be real again, I will live with it. Not gonna be tearing up perfectly good tile that will outlast me.
Back to the coffee bean bags. My moment of inspiration about curtains gave me a direction to take the kitchen. They are rustic, but not sweet rufflely country. I already have plans to paint the countertops black to tie in with the stainless and black stove (the white dishwasher and fridge will be replaced eventually). DH and I found a sweet deal on two cool bar stools at the ReStore that are wood and black metal. All that ties in the black and the wood. The other kitchen chairs from the ReStore are going to get painted white to lighten up all that dark wood and go with the walls and windows. The rest of the decor is vintage. I lean heavily to the 1930’s and 40’s. Luckily we happen to have some nice pieces from DH’s family that have found a home in the kitchen. I would love to replace the cabinet and drawer pulls, but there are tons of them. I would bankrupt us just with pulls if I got all new. For the time being I will probably get creative with the brass (gotta love those 80’s and 90’s brass things) and black paint and replace a little at a time. Whew!
That’s about it for the creative stuff here. I did get back on a horse yesterday for the first time in over a year. Back when I was taking my grief break, DN and I started taking horse back riding lessons because uncles/husbands shouldn’t try to teach family members, especially a couple of mouthy females. I was loving it, but then a kidney stone happened, followed by Covid. We stopped the lessons. Next month DN will have wrapped up soccer and band and we plan to get back to the lessons. I can’t wait. Even though I had DH lead the horse (horse is still in training) instead of me taking the reins, it was good. I remembered my posture and my weight shifts, etc. The horse, Cinder, is a big, lanky Tennesse Walker. I swear it’s like riding an elephant he is so tall. We won’t even discuss the graceful (NOT) assent and desent I made on said horse. No cameras allowed!
So, I guess whether it’s software or horses, there is a learning curve and everything rarely goes smoothly. I will ungracefully get back on a horse and ungracefully repair my computer file, but will learn new things in the process.
I hope you are well. It is 2 pm and I’m exhausted already. Once a month I make the Costco run for most of our groceries. I don’t know if I have ever mentioned how much I dislike grocery shopping, but I dislike it very much. During lockdown last year I kinda liked having my Costco order delivered. Unfortunately I couldn’t get fresh veggies and fruit that way so I still had to drag myself into a store occasionally. I’m pretty jealous of those of you who have Insta Cart and Door Dash.
Anyway, Costco was wall to wall people today. Between trying to drive a heavily laden cart through herds of humans, loading them (the groceries, not the humans) into my car, unloading them into the house and dealing with the introvert overwhelm of all those humans, it took a toll. I’m ready for a nap.
Costco was just one of the many trips I have had to make this week. Seriously, I think I have put on makeup the most this week over any other week in the past year. Tomorrow is the Lowe’s run for the final load of drywall for the attic (woo hoo). So more makeup.
Now that you know that I have spent most of my week driving back and forth, have you figured out that I have not gotten one tiny bit of artwork done? It has also been Spring Break for DN and I have been trying to keep her busy all week too. Yesterday I took her out for her second driving lesson. I take her to the nearby church that has a nice big parking lot and we work on those stops, turn signals, looking both ways, etc. This is the third kid I have taught in that parking lot. The parking lot lessons are easy. I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the next driving adventure that will start in July. Those are hair raising.
I did have one tiny spurt of creativity this week. My sister offered me a couple of coffee bean bags to use as grow bags in my garden. Initally I turned them down. The next day I had an idea for something else to do with them and took them off her hands. I hopefully will have that little project done next week and I will let you see what I have in mind for these bags.
My apologies for not having any more to post here this week. Other than that big jar of jelly beans I picked up today it has been a fairly boring week. Plenty to do but none of it very interesting. Next week DN heads back to school full time (we are both doing the happy dance), it’s going to be in the 70’s and there should be more fun things to report.
Have a great week. Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it. We will be attending a rather chilly, not quite sunrise, but outdoor service. I will still have to wear makeup.
I hope you are well and life is grand in your part of the world. Unfortunately with the state of the world right now many people cannot say that. The rest of us need to do our best to comfort and support them when we can. I have two dear friends right now who are dealing with big family issues. After reading the details in our group text, all I could really say is “the plates we have to spin at this age sure do get heavier and heavier”. DH and I had a similar discussion with DN about personal responsibility and how adulting is tough, but it is not wise to expect others to solve your problems. We can’t solve each other’s problems, but we can support each other through them.
Things here have been fairly uneventful and I’m always grateful for uneventful. No animal drama and not too much teenage drama (parents of girls, you know what I mean). I got to enjoy a funny Facetime with my daughter in SC and my wide open 2 year old grandson. We have a granddaughter turning one tomorrow and will be celebrating with a big birthday bash on Saturday. All practices for DN have been cancelled today so I don’t have to run the taxi service at all. It’s the little things I appreciate more and more.
I have been working on some artwork, but not anything I can share right now. DN starts back to school full time, in person after Spring Break so I am trying to get back to my original 2021 plan of putting in 20 hours a week of actual revenue producing work again. If I can figure out some new software (I have been figuring out new software since 1985!) I will share what I’m trying to do. Work on the attic has been slow but steady. DH added more joint compound to the drywall and I have been sanding and painting. We hope to get the last of the drywall bought in the next week and pick up the pace.
During this week I have noticed several conversations we have had about weird coincidences happening in the world and a “could this happen” question about mobile banking, etc. Sort of random things like the fact that I have seen many, many new sheds/barns going down the road this week. A lot of stimulus checks must have gone toward new sheds.
While I was working on the whole new software learning ordeal, I wound up going down the NFT (Non-fungible Tokens) rabbit hole. Have you seen where people are selling this artwork on blockchains for millions of dollars? Don’t think for a moment that I understand this stuff or plan on selling any artwork that way, but it put my poor little brain in frizzle mode. Millions of dollars for artwork that only exists in digital form? You don’t print it out and put it on your wall? It just sits on a computer or the blockchain (don’t ask me to explain blockchain technology. I am not capable.), but you can resell it if you purchase it and actually make royalties from it. I will watch from the sidelines and see what happens with this technology. Maybe it will be a big thing for a while or it may be a big bust or scheme. Maybe some people just have more money than good sense. Raise your hand if you would be willing to help them out with all that money and put it towards something more tangible!
If any of you want to chime in on the whole NFT thing please feel free. I would like to understand it better because I’m a closet geek about these things. What things make you go “hummmmmm” when you hear about them? It keeps life interesting.
Did anyone do any drawing last week? Guess what. I didn’t. Yes, you can slap me on the wrist. Spring is springing and around here that means all sorts of things are ramping up all at once. Happens every year in March.
We are still working on the attic. Slowly, but surely walls are going up. I have run out of primer and need to make a paint run before Saturday. The colder, wetter days are now attic days. I have been trying to do some cleaning out and reorganizing while waiting for paint to dry.
Seed planting and garden maintence have started. Weed pulling and general outdoor cleanup has been started. Our place was pretty much neglected and overgrown for years before we bought it so we are constantly picking different areas that have to have major brush, vine and weed removal.
Top all this off with DN playing in the high school band and making the soccer team. The football season was pushed to winter/spring so she has band practice and/or soccer practice and games every evening. I am still the taxi. It is a bittersweet moment when a teen gets their driver’s license. The parent is simultaniously terrified and joyous. DN is taking driver’s ed now and will have her permit in the summer. I am one year away from freaking out at every siren sound, running to the phone when it rings and losing sleep until I hear the car pull in. That doesn’t even cover the terrifiying moments in the passenger seat while a newbie driver is at the wheel. Real aging doesn’t happen until you survive teenagers!
March is the beginning of beekeeping season too. During the winter all you can do is make sure the girls have lots of food and hope for the best. March brings happy dances when you see the girls flying again or grief when you realize a colony didn’t survive the winter. If you have several hives these emotions can happen altogether. I got to do my happy dance yesterday. I had seen my girls flying before yesterday, but March is when many hives die from starvation. It was warm enough for me to open the hive and check their food stores. We still have some cold days and nights to go and not much is blooming yet. Unless something weird and dreadful happens, my girls should be good to go for another year.
I like to sit and just watch the bees going and coming. It’s peaceful and confirmation that despite the crazy in the world things are still in God’s order. Today especially I plan to sit with the bees. Today is my Dad’s birthday. He would have been 86. He was a life long beekeeper and when I was a girl one of my jobs was to help him with the bees. At the time I didn’t pick up much actual beekeeping knowledge other than be very careful where you pick up a frame of honey, but the smell of beeswax always sucks me right back to that time. Dad gave me my first hive of bees a few years ago and helped me get set up. I had no idea I would enjoy their company so much. Now I know why he would often go and watch the bees.
Happy Birthday Dad! The girls are ok. The bees and your human ones. I love you.
Have a great week everyone!
Faith, Hope, Love, Grace,
Featured photo was taken by yours truly when my Dad was setting up my first hive of bees for me in 2016. The second picture was taken by my sister on Dad’s 84th and last birthday in 2019.
How is your February going so far? Let me start out by explaining that according to my personal seasonal algorithm, February has at least 90 days. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s dark most of the month here which makes it drag on FOREVER. We are going to South Carolina this month to visit my daughter and her family. Hopefully they will have some warmth to enjoy while we are there.
So my well planned morning (see last week’s post on planning) went to poop. Today was going to be the first day I have had to myself in about a month and a half. I am on the extreme end of the introvert scale and while I love people, especially those I live with, I desperately need lots of alone time to function properly. That said, I had my quiet morning all planned out and was waiting impatiently to pack up my people and send them on their way.
And then…the bus didn’t stop for DN. Grrrrrrrrrrr. I have been taking children to school on cold winter mornings for the better part of 20 years. Since 1998 to be exact, with a few years off here and there, but not many. When DN came to live with us we were in a different county and she didn’t know anyone, so I took her to school and picked her up for the two years before we moved home. When we moved here I asked if she was ok to ride the bus and she was fine with it because she knew most of the people on the route. I did a secret happy dance!
Obviously there is a new bus driver. I know what new jobs are like and I tried very hard not to grumble too much and when I called the school to let them know, I tried not to let the irritation ooze through my voice too much. But can I just say that having to go out into 25 degree cold and drive to the school and into the school dropoff crazy (you parents who do this know EXACTLY what I mean) did not leave me in a zen mode this morning. It has taken most of the morning to work off the irritation of the disruption to my precious day of solitude. I know, I know, I should not let stuff like this get to me. Well, pooh. It does. I gave grace to the bus driver and I’m giving myself the grace to be human and irritated. By the time my people get home I should be calm again (hopefully).
Enough complaining. Onto other stuff. I got six paintings put up on Etsy this week. Four of them have sold. If anyone is interested in checking out what is left at the moment here is the link to my store. I have a few more to add and am working on more. The little sparrow painting in my blog picture is one that is left and he needs a new home.
In my plans this week (ha, ha) are rearranging and painting (walls, not canvas) in my attic studio. About 1/3 is drywalled now. The anticipation of getting the room finished is more than I can stand. As soon as I can reasonably function up there the easel, sewing machine and supplies will be set up for me to get to work. I can’t even imagine the luxury of being able to find supplies without moving and opening numerous boxes. Hopefully next week I will have some updated photos to share.
Alright, now on to my day which includes cleaning out one side of the garage that has been storage since we moved and we need to put a vehicle in there. Hey, the fun around here never ends.
If you have had a disruption in you day, just know that you aren’t alone and we can take some deep breaths and shake that stuff off.
Let’s talk planning. Are you a planner or a fly by the seat of your pants person? I’m an uber planner married to a flyer. Every day I get up and look in my planner at my pre-planned plan and am ready to start checking those items off. Almost everyday since Christmas those plans have been thwarted, misconjoled, bumfuzzeled and thrown out the window. Between the crazy of the school schedule and the fact that my DH’s employer took the whole month of January off, nothing has gone as planned and I will soon be pushed over the planner’s edge.
Granted, we have gotten several projects done that needed to be done, but all at the expense of my daily plans. Sooooooo, I am at least two weeks behind on artwork I had planned out and listing items in my eBay and Etsy stores. The weather has had some influence on the plans as well. Yesterday I just threw out the day’s entire list because the weather was warm and sunny. We have not had many of those and I desperately needed some Vitamin D. Instead of paying the bills and photographing artwork, I pruned Mom’s apple trees, cleaned out some of my bee supplies, etc. Anything to be outside.
Today I am working through yesterday’s list because winter returned with a cold wind and we are barely above freezing. Unfortunately we did not get any of the predicted snow. Tomorrow we have one of the grands for the day so I have minimal plans made. Maybe Saturday I can get caught up.
Once again I have moved my pile of art supplies. Now that DS and Girlfriend have moved out, I have again migrated to the guest room. It’s still not optimal, but the lighting is much better. The positive side of DH being home for a month is that serious progress has been made on my attic studio. I would go take more photos but it’s freezing up there at the moment. One section is drywalled and mudded. He is at this moment building some doors to cover some storage areas. When he has that done I can actually go up and start painting walls and organizing some supplies.
That’s my update for this week. Not much artsy stuff, but our garden has a layer of fresh compost, my new bee yard is set up, our lower pasture has been bush hogged for future fencing, I have picture ledges installed in our hallway for family pictures, we have discovered a farmer we can get raw milk from, I made butter and farmer’s cheese and Mom’s apple trees are pruned. It’s been crazy, but I guess I can’t complain about my plans going awry.
I hope you and yours are doing well. Those of you still dealing with lockdowns, hang in there. Try to find things you enjoy to relieve the boredom and stress. For those of you who are sick or have family/friends who are sick there are thoughts and prayers for you all as well as those who have lost loved ones during this mess. For my fellow Americans on this Inauguration Day, I am praying for an end to the division in our country and that the transition to a new administration will be peaceful. We really should have advanced more as human beings than to once again resort to violence to solve our problems.
Life here at Crooked Barn Farm (We are seriously considering that as a name for our place. I will show you why one day.) has ungone another transition. Dear Son and Girlfriend have set out on their own again. Hopefully some tenative plans they have will gel soon and I will give an update. It’s much quieter here. Not that they were loud, but the general comings and goings of two other people add to the energy of a place. I’m going to miss them, but it was time. Dear Niece will definitely miss them because DH and I are boring old folks to her.
Yesterday the weather was warm enough for DH and me to work a little in the garden and do other outside projects. I try to soak in any Vitamin D I can get this time of year. Next week is looking like cold and rain again.
I am continuing to paint more wood boards. The flowers in the main photo is my most recent. Possibly this week I will get some listed in my Etsy store. More exciting is that I have walls going up in my studio. DH has been hard at work in there. Since we are having to buy the drywall a little at a time, the plan is to finish the far end and work across. Theoretically when that end is painted (my job) and the window framed out, I can actually start setting up my work space and possibly do some work up there. The lighting is going to be a little tricky and I really need that working to be able to function up there. Progress though!
Hopefully by Spring the worse of it will be done and I can dig out my oil paint and canvas again. There was some organization of my supplies in that mess, but now that DH has had to move boxes around, I have no idea where stuff is. It will be an adventure.
That’s all the news for now. Hopefully things will stay peaceful and quiet here and out there in the world. Stay safe.