Disruption

Hi Everyone!

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.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BloomtownStudio

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.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace (lots of Grace today),

Christel

The best laid plans

Hi Everyone,

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.

Stay safe and throw out the plans occasionally.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace

Christel

Photo by Renáta-Adrienn on Unsplash

Transitions

Hi Everyone,

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.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace

Christel

Settling into winter

Hi Everyone!

What can I say? 2021 is so far giving 2020 a run for its money in the crazy department. I know we all hoped it would be different even though I think most of us knew it wouldn’t. I waffle between avoiding what’s going on out there and checking frequently on what’s going on out there. Balance, I guess. Not sticking my head in the sand to pretend all is well, but not dwelling on the “what is going to happen next” thoughts.

Now that the holidays are over and school is back in session, I’m once again attempting a schedule and settling into the slower winter pace. The slower pace is about the only thing I really enjoy about winter. It has been wet, cold and gray here most of January so far and it is so depressing. Thank goodness for our fireplaces, candles and soup.

Here are some recent paintings that I am working on. They are not quite done yet, but close. I’m still working on these wood scraps from our barn and probably will be for a while though I’m itching to get my oil paints back out. Unfortunately I do not have a safe place for oil paintings to hang out while they are drying right now.

I seem to be leaning toward birds at the moment. The kayaker is an outlier for me. I usually avoid landscapes, but I saw a lake and an island or mountains in the wood and decided to work with it. I’m finding that the wood picks my subjects sometime. Same thing with with owl. Today I am sanding and staining more wood to prep for next week’s paintings. Hopefully these current paintings will be in my Etsy shop soon. DH is really liking the owl and I’m kinda attached to the rooster. We are already overrun with my artwork now so we can’t keep everything. Some of it needs to go live with other people and hopefully they will enjoy it as well. I finished painting our hallway on Saturday. That is where most of our family photos and some of my artwork will live. Once I sort all that out there may be a big sale and/or a giveaway through Facebook or Instagram. I will keep you posted on that.

Since we all need to stay on top of our mental health these days, I thought I would share a few YouTube channels that I have been binge watching lately.

Streamline Art Video – I just found this one this past week even though it started with the lockdowns and has been posting almost everyday since March. Lots of quality art instruction from established artists. This old dog is learning some new tricks from these videos!

The Last Homely House – Kate may be my long lost sister from another mother. She is amazingly creative in everything she does. She quilts, sews, knits, crafts, cooks, gardens and is a beekeeper. She did a series where she cleaned out all the drawers in her crafting area. Never in my life would I think that would be interesting, but I found myself mesmerized. She tells stories about some items and I found myself trying to decide if I would keep an item right along with her. It helps that she has piles of creative junk like I do and I know the struggle is real.

Arne and Carlos – Even though these guys are knitting designers their channel is not just for knitters. I have enjoyed their “Sit and Knit a Bit with Arne and Carlos” series no matter what I am working on. They are funny, down to earth and seem like super people. They talk about their life and culture in Norway and just life in general. When Covid goes away and I win the lottery I am going to go to one of their workshops on a cruise through Norway.

Please comment if you have any stress relieving suggestions. We can use all we can get these days.

I’m going to wrap this up now. Currently I have DN practicing her flute here in the living room with me and Dear Son and Girlfriend running the vaccum in the back of the house. Concentration is severely limited! I will look back on this one day and think, “Those were fun times back in 2021”. Right now I am developing a headache. Oh, somewhere on here should be a new email address – christel@bloomtownstudio.com I think it is.

Stay safe out there.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace,

Christel

Work in progress

Hi Everyone!

Well, I guess we can all say that the party is over and it is back to work. I don’t know about you, but by the time the holidays are over I am more than ready to pack up the decorations and get back to a schedule. Like 2020 though, 2021 is not coming with anything close to a normal schedule. DH is off work for another week and a half, the niece is home this week still and will only be going to school in person two days a week like last semester and the son and his girlfriend are still living here and waiting to hear from job applications. The crazy continues.

Before the end of 2020 I set a goal of getting back to work for at least 20 hours a week. “What the heck does she actually do?”, you ask. I closed my graphic design/print broker business back in 2018 to basically take on full time parenting again after our niece came to live with us in 2017, then my Dad got sick and I made myself available to help with him and take on the whole packing and moving ordeal. Now that DN is in high school and has learned some life skills and Mom seems to be in a good place now that Dad has been gone a year and we have the major remodeling done on the house… I can get back to…

  1. Back in 2017 I started selling my “stuff” that I no longer needed on eBay. Clothes, household items, etc. That sort of morphed into selling vintage “stuff”. Sometimes I sell “stuff” for other people who don’t want to deal with it themselves. It has been a nice, consistent, small stream of income that is very flexible. I have been able to put my store on vacation when we moved and when Dad got very sick, then pick it back up when I had time again. No, I don’t make lots of money with it, but it is one of those things that the more time you put in, the more money you make.
  2. Take a wild guess! Yes, it is time to paint and draw in quantity. Over the holidays I started painting some wood scraps from our barn with seasonal subjects and not only had lots of fun doing it, but sold enough to cover our Christmas expenses. Many, many times I have started this only to have to stop and deal with life stuff. Every time it makes me sad and depressed, but then I have to tell myself that doing something is better than doing nothing. So, once again I am trying my best to set regular work hours this year. Some of the time to paint and draw just for fun and practice and some of the time to put work on some of the sites that I sell my art work on. There is some tired artwork of mine floating around a few places that desperately needs updating!

“So, what the heck does she do the rest of the time?”, you ask. Let me give you an example of a not-so-unusual day that actually happened yesterday.

12:15 am – Dog has seizure #1 (I have spent a week trying to get his new meds ordered and it has been a nightmare). DH and I jump up from a sound sleep, stay with the pup until seizure passes and then wait the next 45 minutes for his disorentation to wear off.

4:15 am – Dog has seizure #2. Same routine. We go back to bed to doze for about an hour.

6:00 am – Go to sunroom to feed cat and realize she is sick. Very concerned and call vet. They can see her if we drop her off by 10 am. This trip fell to DH thank goodness!

8:15 am – Go with my Mom to take her car to get an oil change. Got back home at 8:45.

8:45 am – 11:30 am – Package up three eBay orders and one Etsy order (I have one eBay store and two Etsy stores).

11:30 – 12:30 – start eating lunch, then stop to help pup through seizure #3 (he has never had 3 seizures in 24 hours before), then realize I need to leave for…

12:30 – 2:00 – drop off and pick up library books for DN and drop off packages at the post office. Then head to nearby town (45 minute drive) to pick up son and his girlfriend.

2:00 – 2:30 – stop by vet to pick up cat on my way back from town with DS & GF. She’s fine. Slight cat cold.

2:45 – slide into the driveway long enough to drop of DS & GF and their stuff, pick up DN to get her to band practice.

3:15 – leaving from high school, get a call from Mom that her car is ready. Pick her up, drop her off to get car and head home where I manage an hour of rest before…

5:15 – 5:45 – I go to the high school to pick up DN and head home. Thank goodness DS cooked dinner and DH and I crashed into bed around 7:00 pm to try and recover from our 4 hours of sleep the night before.

And that is where the rest of my time goes. Sometimes it is running Christel’s Taxi Service. Sometimes it is Christel’s Diner. Sometimes it is Christel’s Painting & Handywoman Service. The list goes on.

Ok, enough of that insanity. The other work in progress around here is my attic studio. DH has the insulation up. Not great photos, but we don’t have the lighting up yet so this is as good as it gets. Today he is starting on the drywall. I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. Currently I am trying to do creative stuff from my chair in the living room or the kitchen table. Not optimum conditions, especially where the people who live with me can actually see me and request help with something or have a few dozen questions that need answering. Concentration is difficult. When I finally have a finished studio I am putting a lock on the inside of the door and hanging warning signs!!! I love these people, but…

Next week I will fill in more details about the actual work, but I’m tired from reliving my yesterday.

Be safe out there!

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace,

Christel

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Hasta La Vista 2020

Hi Everyone!

Well, we are there. Where I’m pretty sure most of us have been wanting to be since at least May. Kicking 2020 out the door! There are defining moments in history that shape each generation. Those dates in time that everyone has a story about. Good or bad they stay with us forever. 2020 will certainly be one of those historical times.

Yes, we would like for all the problems of 2020 to miraculously fix themselves today, on December 31st. Not gonna happen. I’m going to tell you my plans for 2021 and please feel free to share yours. We can all use some inspiration and good ideas going forward.

A couple of weeks something happened. Nothing earth shaking. Just suddenly this feeling of lightness and hope hit me. Pretty weird after all the stress and anxiety for the whole darn 2020. My brain / spirit seemed to say “Things are not going to be great any time soon, but you don’t have to dwell in the gloom. There is always good to be found, things to laugh about, fun to be had and joy to spread around.”

2020 was all about uncertainity and 2021 will still have some of that (every day has some of that), but we know more now. Covid is not miraculously going away, but we have people getting a vaccine, we know it isn’t going to wipe out the whole human race and treatments are improving. The economy is going to SUCK. Yeah, we aren’t going back to where we were, but we know to keep a close eye on our finances, the government, the banks, and opportunities. We know our countries are going to be in turmoil and people are going to be hurting. People act out when they are hurting and fearful.

Here is what else my spirit heard. “Have Faith that things will get better. Have Hope in the good that still lives. Love without ceasing. Give Grace to everyone and yourself. ” Hard to argue with any of that. So those are my words for 2021. Faith, Hope, Love, Grace. Gotta be better than the Gloom, Doom, Fear, Hate that dominated 2020.

I am moving forward with Faith. Now that the worst of the home repairs/remodel are done I can actually focus on painting something more than walls. Now that our old barn has been sturdied up and the horses have actual stalls, we can focus on finishing my attic studio. I have lots of creative plans that I have already started on and will share as we go along.

Alright, go celebrate the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021…in a socially distanced sort of way. Be safe out there.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace

Christel

Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!

Hi Everyone,

I am just popping in long enough to wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I’m not going to list all the holidays because you can be sure I will forget at least one. Love on someone near you that is struggling in any socially distanced way you can. If you are the one struggling, know that there are places for help. Please search them out and persist. There is light at the end of the troubles.

Whatever you celebrate do it with Faith, Hope, Love and Grace this year!

Christel

Photo by D A V I D S O N L U N A on Unsplash

Wrapping it up

Hi Everyone!

One week until Christmas and I have been wrapping up 2020 literally and figuratively. It is not going to be a big presents under the tree sort of year, but we have a few for the younger crowd. The adults have decided a little Dirty Santa, food and time together will be plenty.

The last of these three drawings got finished up about a week ago. (I purposely made not so great photos of these because of the rampant image theft online). In my mind they are called the Pandemic Flowers. I desperately need better names. I started the first one in February when I was dealing with a kidney stone and the incoming Covid. Like many of you, I have a brain that never shuts up and I needed to focus on something other than pain and anxiety. These drawings were my refuge. This much detail takes getting into that flow where you lose track of time and thought. Whenever the 2020 crazy started to get to me, I worked on these and got my equilibrium back.

What got you through the year? Hopefully not alcohol or drugs, but I have heard their usage was way up this year. I have seen posts and had conversations that included quilting, bread making, wood working, gardening, uncluttering, home remodeling and decorating. Have you noticed that creative endeavors have been our saving grace? I have always declared creativity / art as therapy. Guess we proved that point this year without having to pay for a government research study! Let me know what cool stuff got you through 2020. Post pictures!

I am leaving 2020 behind with a great deal of gratitude. I am grateful that overall (we had a couple of scares this year) everyone in the family has been healthy. I am grateful that my son and his girlfriend completed their epic adventure bicycling across the country during all this, safely and with awesome stories to share. I am grateful for our home and all the projects that kept us busy during the lockdown. I am grateful for the family, friends and neighbors that we have. I am grateful for the three new, healthy grandbabies born into the family this year. I am grateful for the abundant crop of butternut squash. About the only thing that grew well this year… 50 butternuts from 4 seeds! We will eat Butternut everything this winter.

My heart hurts for the overwhelming number of people who have lost their jobs and businesses and are probably facing evictions from their homes soon, for the people struggling to pay the bills and find enough food. For the families who have loved ones in the hospital or facilities and can’t be with them, for the families who have lost loved ones to Covid and anything else and could not be there in the final hours. My heart hurts for all of us on planet Earth right now. We are facing, have been facing, and will continue to face daunting challenges. If you haven’t heard of The Fourth Turning go look it up. We are there and it’s going to take a while to get through it. It’s not all bad, but I believe it will be a tough adjustment.

On December 31st I will fill you in on 2021. Faith, Hope, Love and Grace are in my plans. Be safe out there.

Christel

Gifts Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Reboot

Hello. Is anyone still out there? I can’t blame you if you aren’t after my extended hiatus. So, I will begin again and hope you find me again.

For anyone new who stumbles upon this page let me introduce myself and give you a quick background update. My name is Christel Huttar. This is a blog primarily about my art, but very often life wanders in and random thoughts happen. I used to be very dedicated to writing here and mostly posted every week but at the beginning of 2019 life happened. Lots of life happened quickly. My Dad was diagnosed with cancer, I lost a close friend, we decided to sell our home (a small farm) and move back to where we grew up to help out with Dad, we sold the place in a week, we had to move sooner than expected to a rental, we moved again to our new home, my Dad died, I lost another close friend, COVID invaded and I lost a dear fuzzy, four legged family member. Extreme Reader’s Digest version of the past 24 months.

Basically I have spent my time working through a good bit of grief by making a new home and all that comes with living in an older house. Lots of painting walls instead of canvas and planting in new dirt and getting several equine, canines, feline and chickens adjusted as well.

The cast of characters here includes (this is sometimes a fluid list!): DH (Dear Husband), DN (Dear Niece), Odie & Dinah the canines, Sweetie Pie the feline, KC, Christy, Asher, Cinder the horses, Spark Plug the donkey, DS (Dear Son) and his girlfriend DGF, DD (Dear Daughter) and her husband DSIL. There are also five more grown kids and now a total of nine grandkids!! We also have a few chickens and about 30,000 honeybees. I generally do not use names to protect the innocent or not so innocent, but explain as best I can when any of the characters are involved. My Mom lives across the road from us as well as my sister and BIL.

Even though we are finishing out 2020 in all it’s infamy and heading into Lord only knows what in 2021, I’m feeling more solid and optimistic. I’ve missed hanging out here and creative juicies are flowing again. I have plans. I have an attic studio under construction! I hope you will come back to see what crazy we have stirred up and what I have been making.

Stay safe out there and let’s all shine some love and positive energy into 2021 and leave the dark of 2020.

Christel

Photo by kazuend on Unsplash

My new face

I got in my car and texted my husband, “I hope guys dig scars.”

Hi Everyone,

How are you? It is still crazy out there. Last week was a little crazy here too. A good crazy. My daughter, son-in-law and grandson came to visit for a few days. The weather was cold (it’s JUNE!) and wet, but we still got out enough to introduce Brayden to the horses, donkey, goats, llamas and chickens. A 15 month old brings their own sunshine.

Gratuitous grandson picture with my favorite daughter and favorite donkey.

So here is what is new in my world. Back in January, before the kidney stone incident, I made an appointment with a dermatologist. I had an annoying place on my face that had been there for years. I had had part of it removed 20 years ago, but now it had grown and was blistering up then not healing. I knew it was a basal cell skin cancer so I wasn’t concerned, just annoyed with it. There were a couple of other places that needed checking. Being of Irish German decent pretty much predisposes you to need a dermatologist.

Originally the appointment was to be in June, then got rescheduled to early March. I had three places biopsied and all three were basal cell cancers. Doctor wanted to schedule the removals the next week, but at that time I was still dealing with that darn kidney stone and one can only take so much pain at one time so I put it off until June.

Hello June. I won’t go into all the painful and gory details and I won’t share photos. Let’s just say that the spot on my leg was a breeze. Not so much the two places on my face. First surgery was on the old annoying spot. It was somewhere between the size of a pencil eraser and a dime. I’m thinking 5-6 stitches after it was removed. Try 3 times that many stitches! Yes, I had stitches running down the middle of one side of my face from the inner corner of my eye to about an inch from the corner of my mouth. Whoa! One week later and I have probably a good size hole in my nose that is covered by a skin graft taken from behind my ear. Bandage doesn’t come off until this Friday so I haven’t seen that one yet.

I don’t consider myself particularly vain. Minimal if any makeup most days. Hair is fixed to go out in public. That’s about it. Well, when you see yourself in a mirror looking like you just left the ER after a bar fight…suddenly vanity shows up. I was quite horrified. No one has been as happy about pandemic mask wearing as I have been for the past week!

Ok, stitches came out last Thursday, right after the new hole in my nose was added. I don’t know what my nose will look like, but the stitches are healing nicely on my face. In about 3 months I should know what the final scar will look like. I’m making up exciting stories to tell to nosy people about how I got said scar across my face. I’ve been cutting my own hair during the shut down and I could add a badass haircut to the deal. Creative wheels are turning.

While laying in bed listening to marauding raccoons breaking into our sunroom (that is another whole story for later), I had the thought that my 2020 face goes right along with the 2020 year. It hurt like hell (no lie!) and it has been shocking and scary, but several long time cancers have been removed for good. There are going to be scars, no way around it, but hopefully the worst is over and the healing can begin. I truly hope the same can be said for our world.

You all be safe out there and kind to each other. We still have a lot of 2020 to go yet.

Featured Photo by Johnny Cohen on Unsplash