Sunday, May 21, 2017

Spinning my wheels?

Do you ever feel like you keep starting new things, but never finish the old ones? Yep, that's me!

Elizabeth, you mentioned looking forward to seeing what I would put on that big canvas. Well, guess what! I quietly put it away and started yet another one. Smaller this time. (6"x6") Like that will make it easier to come up with a subject, lol. Actually, I do have an idea. We'll see if it gets done any time soon.
I have done some line drawings for an inchie swap. The theme is "Teapots". One reason I continue doing ATC swaps is that I feel like I'm committed, so I actually get something done! I love little cottage-shaped teapots!

I've been having online challenges. My rent supposedly includes wifi, which floats through the air from my landlord's house next door. The problem is it's kind of intermittent. Sometimes I get a fairly strong signal and other times it fades out so my pages won't load. Is there some type of booster I can get? I hope so, because I think I'm paying a lot of rent and reliable internet should be included.

Another challenge is my Microsoft Word Starter program. I decided to try my  hand at doing some online proofreading through Well, my little word processing program isn't going to cut it. I haven't actually used a word processor to do proofreading since college seven years ago. I'll have to learn how to do it all over again. There are tons of "free downloads" available, but who can you trust?

Speaking of college. One of my favorite texts was "Blue Zones" which we read for sociology. This video/article mentions some of the research for the book, and it makes me want to live on this heavenly island. Have any of you seen this already?
The Island Where People Forget to Die

We've been having quite a string of cold, rainy days. I hope my little plants don't give up and think winter is back! So far they're hanging in there, but I'm hoping it won't be too long before we get some more sunshine and warmth.

It's knittin' weather! Nope. I'd better stick with painting.
Shalom, all!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

This and that... (Thanks for the title, GM!)

Well, lots of little things have happened since my last post.

My tree nursery job wrapped up last Thursday. Just in time for me to spend Friday babysitting my three older grands. Micah and baby Sully headed to Minneapolis in the early morning Friday and returned late Saturday. This was for the annual MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) leadership conference. Micah looks forward to this each year as a mini-vacation.

Micah had purchased a couple of goats about a week before she went on this trip and since Adam has never milked anything before, I volunteered to come over and milk Friday evening and twice on Saturday. I kind of enjoy it. It brings back pleasant memories of the farm and many years of having goats. :)

Friday went smoothly except one incident in the evening, after I had gone home, when Adele pulled a heavy object off of a shelf and onto her head. This required a trip to the ER. Adam called me Friday evening and asked if I could come over early (I had planned to go over at 8:30 to milk) because Adele was hurt and was bleeding a lot.  I ran over and, by then, he had the bleeding stopped, and she was pretty calm. The ER doctor said she seemed to be okay, but to watch for symptoms like screaming, vomiting or unconsciousness. Yikes! Anyway, she was fine other than a cut and a bump on her forehead. She's a very active two year old and routinely runs into things, falls off of things and generally bashes herself about. She keeps her guardian angels busy!

Here are some photos Micah took in the past week. 
Micah and Sully picking Audrey up from school.

Grocery shopping is always an adventure!

Micah and Sully at the MOPS conference. She goes with a group of moms and they always fit in some pool time. Sully loved it!

My future daughter in law, Brooke. She was planning the flowers for her wedding.

We had planned to take the whole family out for Mother's Day dinner, but Adam decided at the last minute that it might be more fun for Micah and me (along with nursing baby Sully) to have dinner together and have some quiet time to visit. He said they would take the kids out later in the week. We took him up on his offer and went to a favorite Mexican restaurant. His mom and step-dad had come over on Saturday for lunch and a visit. So, kind of untraditional, but you do what works. ;)

This is my 5x7 acrylic canvas for this month's canvas board swap. I tried to copy a painting by Heni Sandoval called "A Murder of Crows". She had just discovered that a flock of crows is called a murder and thought she'd like to capture that in a painting. 

 As I painted I was watching a YouTube video of these three youngsters; also painting. They actually made some videos with the intention of people watching them while they paint. So you feel like you're painting with a group of fellow art enthusiasts. Weird, huh? Ha ha! Actually, it was kind of nice having some conversation going on while I worked. I guess I'M weird. Do you like my fruity tablecloth?

Do you remember my friend who asked me (and some others) to make ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) for her to hand out to people in nursing homes?  Well, now she's asked us to make ATCs of creole words so she can put together an ABC book for some Haitian kids to use to learn their sounds. I'm not sure how well this will work, but I've made nine so far.

I just received this gorgeous little jewel of a book in the mail. 
It contains lots of beautiful examples of lettering...
...and lots of nature paintings.

Of course, like everything these days, it's infused with new age thinking, but...
I'll look past that and use it as an art lesson in a book. I love the colors and want to learn how to do the acrylic/gouache techniques of painting color on top of color. I'm just loving these beautiful paintings!
On the subject of gardening, I put in two tomato plants and six little summer squash plants. I hope we don't get any more freezing weather!

The summer squash are hard to see here, but I reckon they'll take up the whole space when they bush out!
 The next two photos show a couple of plants that were in the flowerbed and I wasn't sure what they were. This almost looks like raspberries?
 And I have no idea about this one. Anyone? I didn't want to dig these up until I knew what they were.
 The rest of this part got petunias. There are some day lilies in the distance and just to my left as I was shooting this photo.
I'm not sure why I didn't take photos after I planted the petunias. It's cloudy and dreary out right now, but I'll have to do an update when the sun comes out. 

My sitting spot, and what I can see from my sitting spot. 

You know you live in a resort if...
I covered this 8x10 canvas with one of my favorite colors. This brand of acrylics calls it Key West. I think of it as turquoise. Now I'm a little stumped. What will I paint on it? Maybe I'll steal some ideas out of the book I showed you. :)
I'm going through a period of adjustment with this retirement thing. I find myself feeling guilty for having so much time off. Pom, did you experience this? I know I'm ONLY 60, and I ONLY worked for 13 years outside of the home. That's what a little voice keeps telling me. But those 13 years were hard, physical labor AND I spent 24 years before that being a stay-at-home mom and homeschooled my kids for 19 of those years. We also lived a very rustic, physically demanding life during those years. So, if I'm able to retire (or mostly retire with some seasonal work) on my widow's benefits, I think I should be able to enjoy my retirement. I think this phase will pass. I have all kinds of time to do my creative stuff. I just need to have the courage to go out and find some volunteer work so I can be helping people and so I don't get too self-involved. Micah is my main source of volunteerism right now (babysitting), but I'd like to branch out. Anyway, it is an adjustment!

With the skies threatening rain I may not get out for my walk today. I did 2 miles day before yesterday and I'm still tired from that. If it clears up I may go for a shorter walk.

Let it rain! This is where I'll be curled up! :)

I hope you're all enjoying the coming of summer. I sure am!
Shalom to all!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

A fun Saturday!

Here I sit sipping a cup of coffee at 9 p.m. Duh!
My coffee hankerings usually come late in the evening. I know better, but just gotta have that warm, sweet drink. Oh well.

Things are ratcheting up for tourist season here in Nevis, MN, home of the giant Muskie statue. Our tiny town of 390 souls is already swarming as folks flock to The Iron Horse Cafe and Saloon, and other dining/watering holes. (We have several. We may be small, but we're a tourist town!)

I'm so glad to finally be experiencing summer without the stress of working at the deli. I thank the Lord for giving me the work when it was really needed, but I'm also very thankful that that season of my life is behind me. The work at the tree nursery is very tiring, but not stressful. I think we will be finishing up by the end of next week. (Oh, I'm also thankful that my present abode isn't right in the center of all of this action!)

Today was a lot of fun. It started out slowly. I got up at 6:30, but after about 30 minutes of dragging around I realized I needed more sleep. Eight hours of working at the nursery does take a lot out of you. So, I went back to bed and slept a couple more hours. I'm not a person who routinely sleeps in until 9, but sometimes you have to listen to your body! I've felt great for the rest of the day. :)

Anyway, I planned a trip to Bemidji today to find a dress for my son's wedding. The one I ordered before just wasn't going to work. So, I headed out for a little adventure. It's a 42 mile drive, mostly through wooded country, and very pretty. I relaxed and enjoyed the sight seeing. When I arrived at the mall in Bemidji I decided to just take my time and look at all the stores before deciding on something. I looked through J.C. Penney's and Herberger's and was getting very disappointed. I may be old, but I don't want to dress like my grandmother. And some of the stuff was just so meh.

As I wandered down the mall towards Kohl's I saw a little shop on my left. I had seen this shop before. It was filled with bohemian style clothing and lots of mysterious and interesting items. Heh heh. I headed in. The gal working in the shop didn't have any other customers and she was very helpful. Many of the dresses were really over-the-top bohemian/gypsy styles. I told her I wanted something for my son's wedding that was full and flowing, and comfortable. Something with some arm coverage. She scratched her chin and showed me some things, but they were all sleeveless and not in the color I wanted. She said she had something in the back and she went back to the storeroom and rummaged around. She came back out with this dress. It is so comfortable and I really love how it looks on me! I was so happy with it and she was so kind. She pressed me for more details about the wedding and listened like she was really interested. That's quite a skill. ;) Anyway, here it is. The color doesn't quite look the same in the photo. $32!

After finding the dress I found some cute sandals at Famous Footwear. A pair to go with the dress and a pair for casual wear. 

I enjoyed lunch at the Dairy Queen in the mall and then slurped down a twist cone while sitting on a couch in the center of the mall watching the people. As if this wasn't joy enough, I traveled on down to the end of the mall to Hobby Lobby. The only thing on my shopping list was some white gel pens, but I managed to find an armload of art supplies that I just couldn't live without.

I rarely go "shopping", so this day was a special treat. I'm so relieved to have a dress that I really love and that I don't have to worry that I won't be able to wear it if I gain a pound.

In other news, I received this book today in the mail. I have a bad habit of telling you all about books that I've received before I read them. So, I hope this turns out to be a good book! I heard about it from one of my YouTube vloggers. If it's a terrible book, remember, I haven't read it yet! lol!

By the author of Blood Meridian and All the Pretty Horses, Suttree is the story of Cornelius Suttree, who has forsaken a life of privilege with his prominent family to live in a dilapidated houseboat on the Tennessee River near Knoxville.  Remaining on the margins of the outcast community there--a brilliantly imagined collection of eccentrics, criminals, and squatters--he rises above the physical and human squalor with detachment, humor, and dignity.

To read the reviews on the back cover you would think this man is the greatest writer who ever lived. We shall see.  (I have heard of the other two books they mention above, but I don't know anything about them.)

Well, I have a lovely stack of reading material beckoning to me, so I think I'll spend some time reading before bedtime.

I hope you all have a lovely rest of your weekend!
Shalom! :)

Friday, April 28, 2017

The virtual tour...

My sons, Jordan and Josh, were wanting to see my new place so I took a bunch of photos to give them a virtual tour. Hopefully they will load quickly today. (They did!)

My reading and computing corner. If you watch HGTV you'll know that having a sofa in your kitchen is all the rage in the UK, lol! Pom, you asked about an art table. I think this little kitchen table will fill the bill. I'm searching for a vinyl tablecloth. Walmart didn't have any. They just have fabric tablecloths; mostly Pioneer Woman. I'll try Ben Franklin's next. I want something I can wipe paint off of. ;)

Lots of cupboards. The uppers are crammed full of my art supplies. Who needs dishes? :) Oh, and, Gretchen, I didn't make the curtains. They came with the deal. The apartment was furnished, but I'm replacing some items. The table came with it, but I brought in some old chairs I had. The little bistro chairs that were here were too small. I almost fell off one the other day, ha ha!

This is the hallway back to the bedroom. The bathroom is on the left and the  entryway on the right as you go down the hall.

I love my cute little granny kitchen. The cabinets are pale sage green. Most of the walls (paneling) are either pale green or white. It feels very cabin-like. I love that!

I have a very nice gas stove! My electric stoves in the past have always had wonky elements so my eggs would slide to one side of the pan. This one is so solid and level and, of course, it's nice to have more control over the heat level. And there's a microwave for reheating your tea, Gretchen. ;)

The bathroom is just the right size. You can see the shower reflected in the mirror. That huge mirror opens up with lots of storage behind it. There's also a little cabinet above the toilet.

My little entryway. The furnace is on the left behind the door. The hot water heater is on the right behind that curtain and there's a little coat closet to the left of the front door.

Like that tiny bed? There was a queen size bed here, but I didn't want to use someone else's bed...yuck. I figured a twin would give me more space. I don't roll around a lot. :)

The other end of the bedroom. The bedroom needs some TLC to brighten it up. It feels dark. The main culprit is those dark, thick curtains. I looked at Walmart for something brighter but couldn't find anything I like. I'd like to get something airy, with a white or pale yellow background. Maybe a woodsy print. The current curtains are so stiff you can't even push them open. They just spring back. I will find a solution. I'll also put up some pictures. Just waiting to get to town to buy some Command strips, which my daughter highly recommends.

The other corner of the bedroom. I rarely use the TV, so I decided to put it in this hidden corner where I can view the occasional movie. I have cable TV, but after not having TV for over a year, I really don't even want to use it. I figure if the world comes to an end someone will fill me in, right?

This is my end of the trailer house. My kitchen window is just behind that low hanging branch. I have a little deck and a little flower bed along the side of the trailer. I'm facing south, so it might work for a little gardening. Does anyone know how all the pine trees might effect crops such as tomatoes or squash?

The yard next to the trailer. That little post in the lower right of the photo is a hookup for an RV. It's right where I park my car, so if someone rents that spot I'll have to park elsewhere. Okay by me. I can plug in there in the winter.

This is the view out of my kitchen window. (Excuse the dirty windows!) It was so nice to see the sun this morning after days of cloudy, snowy, sleety weather.
So, there's my virtual tour. The Lord has brought me to a nice place. I think He's gently guiding me along from the apartment, which felt safe while I was getting used to being on my own. This feels more like a house, and more like country. I thank the Lord for His goodness! I think the bedbug incident was instigated by the enemy, but the Lord turned it around for my good. I'm praying that all will be resolved at the apartments so that my old neighbors can be comfortable once more.

It looks like my seasonal job counting seedlings is petering out. We didn't work yesterday because the seedlings were all encased in ice from the ice storm the day before. They spent yesterday trying to thaw them. We don't go to work until noon today. There are rumors that we only have a few more days of work. I think it was a bad year for trees. No worries. I will just find other seasonal work. I'm well provided for, thanks to the Lord and family. I'm feeling very blessed.

Love you guys! Have a great day filled with God's shalom!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


I didn't even notice that my header said Backwoods Crazy Quilt, which is the name of my old blog. I'll be changing it to avoid confusion!

I'm going to spend some time with the Lord instead of spending too much time on YouTube today. He's been opening my heart to some new ideas. Well, actually the ideas are as old as eternity, but I'm getting some personal insight (revelation?) concerning them. Little bouts of depression and fear have been visiting me regularly my whole life. They leap to the forefront when things aren't going well. The Lord impressed on me that I should turn my thoughts to Him when these negative feelings try to influence me. Just thinking of something He's said in His word and reminding myself that the circumstances of today are nothing compared to the hope I have in Him goes a long way toward banishing dread and depression. Jesus can take care of me no matter what I see happening in my world. He's greater than all of those things. It's hard to explain how this made an impression on me today. It was just one of those light bulb moments when something goes from your head to your heart and you understand it in a new way.

I hope you're all well. We're having very cold, un-spring-like weather. Thanks for all of your kind comments!

My dining room/kitchen table looking out at the pine trees.

And this is the little loveseat next to the kitchen table.

I'm having some issues getting photos where I want them, so I'll just leave it for now. :)

Shalom, my friends!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Voila! A new home!

Well, things happened fast and I'm moved into new digs. My daughter's friend had a place for rent and I snapped it up. It's actually half of a trailer house that's been made into an apartment. It's located in a small RV park here in Nevis, so in the summer I'll have RVers for neighbors. I think it will be kind of a unique experience. Right now I'm surrounded by lots of pine trees and I'm enjoying the sound of the wind in the pines. My neighbor (who rents the other half of the trailer) is an 82 year old gentleman, who is very quiet. One of my neighbors at the old apartment used to live in this trailer and she said "neighbor Bob" is very friendly, so I look forward to meeting him.

I seem to be having problems uploading pictures. Probably because my wifi here isn't as strong? I'll try to upload some pictures later, but I wanted you to all know about the move.

Right now I'd better get off this computer and start unpacking some things. I'm having fun playing house! Oh, I even have a little deck outside. When I came home from work there was a large white rabbit under the deck. Wonder where it came from? I'll have to ask my new landlord. ;)

Love you guys! Thanks so much for all of your encouragement over the last couple of months!

Shalom and blessings!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Broken record...

Aw, I appreciate all of your congratulations and sharing my joy at the defeat of the bedbugs, but I've now been back at my kids since Thursday. The "few bedbugs" just kept on biting and I wasn't going to hang around and get more bites. With multiple bites around my neck I was going bonkers with itching and just feeling yucky. SO, here I am again. I'm thinking it might be time to look for another apartment. The problem may get cleared up in the future, but I can't be a guinea pig any more and I want to find a solution so my kids can have their life back. They are being so good to me and don't act like I'm a bother, but I feel like it anyway. I'll keep you posted.

Faye, you asked how I keep from bringing the bedbugs to my kid's house. I've tried very hard to make sure all the clothing and things I bring over are clean or have been heat treated. There's no way to be 100% sure, but I do the best I can. These critters seem almost demonic in their ability to survive! (Well, not ALMOST. They're just another example of Satan's hold on this planet.) If I move I'll probably leave behind my bed, couch and recliner. I'll just be careful with everything else. I'm not going to drive myself crazy over-thinking things because, believe me, I'm capable of doing that, lol.

Anyway, I've worked one day at the tree nursery. It's rather repetitive, tedious work. I already knew that, but 8 hours of that kind of thing really brings it home. I plan to keep going. It's tough on the back muscles but hopefully they will get stronger as I go. I've missed two days being sick, but I hope by Monday I'll be feeling better. I think I'll try wearing a face mask while working because there's so much dust and pollen flying around as we work.

I'm so thankful to the Lord for providing family to help and to take me in. I'm so blessed to have a roof over my head and family to love. Besides my family here, all of my kids and step-dad have been giving me support and suggestions. It seems like in the last few months I've had only a few days that I've really felt well. It's either been bug bites or the latest wave of sickness. Thanks everyone, for lending an ear and being so kind.

Happy Easter to all! He is risen!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I'm back home!

Hello, all! I'm back in my apartment after about 3 WEEKS living with my daughter and her family. They are such troopers and saints to put up with me that long!

The exterminators came last Friday (April 7) and I moved back in that evening. I have a few new bedbug bites, but they tell me that's normal. There will be a few bugs that live for a while. They will come and re-inspect the place in 3 weeks. I hope this is it for the bugs!

I enjoyed the time with my family, though all of that youthful exuberance can be taxing when you're not used to it 24/7, lol. Two year old Adele is going through a phase of being moody, so she was the main challenge. I also got strep while I was there, and, of course, you don't know you're contagious until it's too late. A couple of the girls got sick later, though not with strep, thank goodness. Audrey missed four days of kindergarten, but her teacher has also missed some days being sick. It seems this year is particularly bad for folks getting sick. Are you guys getting that?

But I do love those kiddos...
I took Hazel's picture...

...and then she took mine!

Adele on the new bike/scooter she got for her birthday.

Audrey home from school sick.

Bouncy little Sullivan, aka Bubba.

And here's my baby holding her baby.
As you can see from the photo of Micah and baby Sully above, things haven't greened up yet in our neck of the northern Minnesota woods. We do have a tinge of green grass and some buds. I think a little rain and some sunny days will cause all to bust out in greenery very quickly. Birdies are finally coming to visit my feeder again. I've seen blue jays, a robin and a purple finch, along with various sparrow types this morning.

Here's my high-tech bird feeding system...
Yup, it's a shoe tray. I can get by with this because I'm on the second floor and squirrels can't get to my balcony, lol. I also have a hanging bird feeder right above it for the shy birds. I'm still deciding on whether I want to bother with a hummingbird feeder. It's more stressful than pleasant to watch them fight over it, and they totally ignore the flowers. Speaking of which, I'll soon be emptying the flower pots you see above.

I used a sheep manure mixture in my pots last year. Just trying to be different, I think. Many of my plants turned yellow. So, this year I'll try something else. Potting soil? Topsoil? What do you guys recommend for containers? I'm going to stick with some simple annuals. I do use Miracle Grow, but I'm probably not consistent enough with it.

I brought home a couple of thrift store items this week. A little patio table...
...and a little chair which I thought would be good for doing chair yoga. My other chair has arms on it and doesn't work so well for the yoga.
I've finally begun walking on the trail near my apartment. I have one route that is 2.2 miles long and another that's 2.4 miles. I'm alternating and walking every other day. I hope to do some yoga and small weights on the other days. I'll also find some other good walks around town. I like to have some variety.

Otherwise, I'm trying to catch up on some ATC swaps. My new one-month-long job starts tomorrow. I'll let you know how that goes.

I don't know about you all, but I don't know how anyone does this thing called life without Jesus. He is our only real hope and the only thing that makes it all worthwhile. Yes, our kids and family are so precious, but without Him we would have no hope to share with these loved ones. I'm so thankful for Him and I have to keep my eyes on Him when everything seems to be going wrong. Keep your eyes focused on Him and keep your thoughts on things above. Satan will try to pull you down with everything he can think of, but don't listen to him. God is good and faithful. Keep on following Him!

It may not be Easter yet, but He's already risen! Woo hoo!

Love y'all! Shalom to all!