Pen and Ink...and maybe some paint

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year!

May God bless you all in 2018!
My New Year's resolution? To read Wind in the Willows again! After looking at my header photo, I just feel this sudden need to read it again. First, I have to find my copy! I think it's on my Kindle, too.

Well, I could go on and on!
My only really important resolution will be to come to know Jesus better and to spend more time looking at Him. It's too easy to get lured into entertaining yourself until the day has sped by. Time spent with Him and being His hands and feet in this world are all that really count in the end. Why is that so difficult? Distraction is one of the enemies most effective tools. Reading the Word and talking to Jesus is the best antidote. I'll try to work on those two areas.

Good night, friends and family. I doubt that I'll stay up until midnight. ;)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Love documentaries!

I was scanning the offerings on YouTube and this one looked intriguing. I really enjoyed watching how these people live. So simply. This is the kind of work I enjoy. Real work making and growing the things needed for daily life. Not a job that's totally disconnected from real  life. I know the winters are probably much harder. I'm not sure what sort of climate they have in winter in this part of Romania.
I loved the lady's little grocery store which supplies the village with all of their shopping needs. And it's interesting to see the jars they are canning fruit in. A very down-to-earth and beautiful culture. I hope you enjoy it!

 Here are a few cards I've made in the last couple of days.

These are for the Winter Wonderland swap:

This one was for a private trade.
Here are a few photos of the grands enjoying Christmas morning. They are fun and lovable folks!

Audrey finished decorating her pillow in one sitting!

Adele shared her dollhouse very nicely with Hazel.

The dollhouse has a toilet that makes a flushing noise, AND when you shut off the little purple alarm clock in the bedroom, the two little people get tossed out of the bunk beds! ;)
It's -20 outside, so I'm just hibernating. (What's new?) It's feeling like lunchtime, so I think I'll fix a little something and watch some more documentaries.  Woo hoo!

God bless you, every one!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Post-Christmas post...

Happy day after Christmas, everyone!

I was innocently scrolling through my email and came across one from Amazon informing me that someone had sent me an Amazon gift card! I'm always suspicious of anything in my inbox offering me something free, but I decided to assume it was real, and it seems that it is, lol. So, I had a little fun ordering some things I wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

For some time now I've wanted to try making my own rubber stamps, so I ordered some items to do that. A lady on YouTube recommended using white erasers as the base of my stamps, so I ordered some of those. I also got a set of linoleum cutters for carving the designs and a sepia ink stamp pad. In addition, I ordered a set of dip pens and India ink and 3 bamboo pens in different sizes. These should make a nice addition to my art supply stash.

Here's a quick little video showing how to make stamps out of an eraser. I think the cutting tools I ordered will make it a little safer than using an Exacto knife. I bought some Speedball tools made for cutting stamps.

The dip pens and bamboo pens will allow me to try some different effects with pen and ink.

And here's a quick video of a guy drawing with a bamboo pen. It's pretty much dipping a stick in ink and drawing, lol.

Should be interesting to play around with some new things. Thank you to my generous kids! It was a fun surprise!

It was a beautiful, very cold day. Thank you, Jesus, for being here with me ALL the time.
Hope you're all enjoying this day after Christmas. Shalom, everyone!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

I'm about to pack up my sleigh and head over to the kids' place to watch the grands open gifts, and have brunch together. (Well, we're not fancy. It's just a late breakfast, lol.)
It's -20 outside! Brisk!

Peace and blessings to all!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Revelation 7:13-17

I was reading in Revelation last night and came upon Rev. 7:13-17 and it yanked me back in time to the late '70's when I sang this (and other Bill Gaither songs) with an older gentleman at my little Boulder Foursquare Church. I was a newly minted Christian at the age of 16. These vocal harmonies were some of my favorites. I love listening to this rendition.

 We're getting more snow. Very fine powdery stuff. I think it will slack off and disappear later today. I'm glad to just stay home, do art, read and hibernate.

Here are a few more ATC's I've finished in the last few days. I uploaded about 200 to a Facebook album recently and realized just how fast they pile up! That was an exhausting job, so now I'll try to upload them as I make them.

These were made for the December Pick-a-Theme swap. Each participant asked for a particular theme for their card. I'll write what they requested under the photo.
African grey parrot

whimsical girl with purple hair

a girl and her  fox

lady with a fancy hat
The card below was made for an unusual swap. Apparently, a lady, who doesn't swap on our particular website, was recently admitted into a nursing home after having several strokes. Her family was going through her things and found her binders full of ATC's which she had received from other artists over the years. They weren't sure what to do with them (Remember this wasn't HER art. It was from a bunch of strangers, so you can understand that they might not want to keep it.) and they were on the verge of throwing them out. A gal from our ATC trading site caught wind of this and asked if she could have the binders. She thought some others might appreciate the art, rather than throwing it away. So, she's offered 6 of the cards to anyone sending her 1 card with a picture of a mouse on it. Mice are her thing, lol. I made the card below and in return I'll get a little stack of mystery cards. Should be interesting!
And, of course, my favorite mice come from the pen of Beatrix Potter!

Thinking of you all, and wishing you a warm and cozy Christmas!
Shalom and blessings!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Thank you, friends!

When I opened my email this morning and saw such wonderful comments posted by elizabeth, GM and Mags concerning yesterday's post I almost cried! I am so blessed to have so many wise and beautiful friends here! I feel so much better! My daughter and I were discussing the whole housing situation this morning and there are some things coming down the pike that should really be a blessing to all. I'll post about it as things happen.

I just wanted to say THANKS and wish I could hug each one of you. Your support is such a big deal to me!

And now I'm off to work on some ATC's and possibly eat another huge peanut butter cookie...with some coffee...or tea.

Love you ladies (and a couple of gents who are listening in)!!
Shalom! :)
Can you tell this is my fave?

Monday, December 18, 2017

What do people think of me?

I've long tried to get over asking myself that question. But it keeps popping up. The obvious answer is, they probably aren't thinking of me much at all, lol! But I keep feeling apologetic for the fact that I'm retired at the youthful age of 61. I find myself trying to explain why to people and feeling depressed because I still assume they don't understand. These are people whose opinion I value. The rest of the world I'm not worried about.

I've always had a tendency to doubt my ability to make decisions on my own. With Bob gone I don't have much choice. Should I have retired early, when I could have made more money if I'd waited 5 years? I didn't feel like I had that choice. I wasn't making enough to really cover all of my bills, and I was so exhausted from the work that I couldn't have gotten a second job to supplement it. I figured that if I retired I would basically make as much as I did at work after taxes, and I could then supplement with a part-time job if needed. Also, all of my co-workers that I'd worked with for the last 13 years were retiring and they were being replaced with people who didn't have the same work ethic. I wasn't going to kill myself trying to do everyone else's work.

I think I would feel better about all of this if I just went out and found a little weekend job. I don't want to stop helping Micah with getting the kids to and from school, so the weekends are pretty much the only time I could work. One of the perks of retirement was also that I didn't have to drive back and forth to town in bad weather. I dunno. I'm just feeling down in the dumps because I just got off the phone with my step-son and he thought I was still working, which made me feel guilty. I'm a guilt machine, folks! He didn't say anything to make me feel bad. It's all in my head.

Anyway, Sandra just posted the following quote. I wonder if it contains any wisdom for me?

"It is not the cares of today, but the cares of tomorrow, that weigh a man down. For the needs of today we have corresponding strength given. For the morrow we are told to trust. It is not ours yet. It is when tomorrow's burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than a man can bear." ~ George Macdonald ~

If you've read this far you are a real trooper! Sorry for dumping on everyone. This is my diary, after all! (I really try not to post this type of thing, but I needed some therapy today!)

I will try to come up with something a little more Christmas-y next time! :)

I hope you're all enjoying your decorating and cookie baking!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

A special request!

Dori asked for a link to the post where Micah is shopping with all of the kids. I'm not sure which one you were interested in, Dori, so here's a link to one post:
 And here are three pictures of her doing her thing. She is truly heroic at times, lol.

The little brown haired guy is a nephew. Audrey was at school.

Don't get me started! I could post pictures of my family all day! Thanks for asking, Dori!

Thank goodness, Sully is getting big enough to sit in the basket and Micah doesn't have to "wear" babies all the time. Exhausting!

Have a good Sunday, everyone.

Saturday, December 16, 2017


I had so much fun watching this hour long ballet class! This was recorded for World Ballet Day and just follows these dancers through a typical class. One of the dancers is pregnant! If we started classes today, do you think WE could do this? The instructor is also inspirational, being a woman of a certain age. This is my YouTube offering for the day.


I'm still exhausted from that hour of chair yoga yesterday, ha ha. But maybe I'll try some walking. It would be fun if there was some sort of grown-up dance class available in my area. Irish step dancing would be wonderful! This is the brisk one mile walk video I did. Only a mile, but I'm trying not to overdo and regret it! :)
Shalom, dear ones!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Time to move!

Move my body, that is! Ha ha. Micah and I were having a little discussion this morning about exercise. She's beginning to feel like an old mom at the advanced age of twenty-six. She was saying that she's such an "all-or-nothing" person that if she can't go work out at the gym for an hour a day she just doesn't feel like bothering. That probably won't happen until the kids are bigger, Adam finishes the house and she finishes college! I've been sitting around too much since summer weather went away, but I decided to revisit one of my exercise options. YouTube! I just finished a chair yoga workout with Michelle Rubin. It's about 50 minutes long, but I figure I spend hours each day on less profitable pursuits. I'm aiming for 3 days a week of this and maybe alternating with my 30 minute walking DVD, Walk Away the Pounds with Leslie Sansone. Then I would take Sundays off. I just checked on YouTube and Leslie Sansone has a whole channel full of these walking workouts you can use for free. I'll probably be checking them out for some variety.

The good thing about Michelle's chair workout is that she hits all the joints that are stiffening up as we age. Some of those joints I wouldn't even think about working if she hadn't pointed them out, lol. Here's my little workout setup.
I sit in the chair with the plaid shirt over it, lol.

I'm going to look for a different chair. This one looked like it would be good for this but the seat is too high off the ground so I have to sit on the edge for my feet to be flat on the ground. It sort of cuts off the circulation to my legs after a while! She also has some 30 minute workouts, but they usually just cover part of the body. This long one gets the whole body.

I'm working on another one of my "peace dove" pictures which I'm going to send to an old school buddy. Vicki and I have known each other since junior high, although we haven't seen each other since high school graduation in 1975. We went to school in Colorado. Now she lives in Idaho and I'm in Minnesota. We met up again on Facebook. She's a "life-long single" person and a strong Christian and it's been fun visiting a little online. I need to write her a long catch-up letter to go with the painting. This is sort of what it will look like, but probably no purple paint.

Vicki and I were in the One Way Club in high school. She's on the bottom right and I'm next to her. Back row, middle is my sister-in-law, Barb. And sitting on the railing is the one and only boy, Ken. We all had a crush on him. Good times!
Vicki posted the cowboy Merry Christmas picture that I used in my header. I think it's so cool and it made me think of Jody! :)

My tummy tells me it's supper time. Gotta make up for all of that chair yoga! Then I'll probably watch a movie. Y'all have a super evening and weekend!

Shalom! Love you all! :)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Bits and bobs...

I hope you're all enjoying the days leading up to Christmas! I'm sure enjoying your blogs and all the photos of Christmasy things.
My Christmas plans are beginning to take shape. Micah and Adam have several sets of grandparents to visit over Christmas eve and Christmas day, so I will be joining them on Christmas morning for breakfast and gift opening. I guess that's what we've done for a couple of years, so that's our new tradition! :)

On Christmas eve I might just stir up my courage and attend the Christmas Eve celebration at the Nevis Church of Christ. There will be singing along with a community Christmas meal afterwards. It might be a good way for me to socialize with some of the locals.

Life has been fairly uneventful since my last post except for a leaky toilet, which took a couple of days to figure out. Fun! And now we've had a couple of days of light snow and slick roads. I look forward to just staying home tonight after we pick Audrey up from school.

Otherwise, I finished some cards for a Pick-a-Theme swap. I've been slowing down on these swaps, hoping I'll then have extra zip for doing some "other" paintings. We'll see how that goes! I have dreams of craft fairs in the summer, but that would require actually finishing a bunch of art to sell. Just a dream? Hmmm... I have very little confidence when it comes to painting. I'm making it up as I go and I don't enjoy turning it into an academic subject of study, so I just do my own thing. If something turns out well, it's just a happy accident. I guess that's what they call "folk art"? :)

 Below is my 5"x7" canvas for the monthly swap. The lady I made it for likes 1950's rocket ships.

Sully says "Hi!"

He must have been crying before this was snapped. Aw...

You guys have a good day!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Guess the breed!

I think it was GM (Granny Marigold) who asked what breed Lucy (my son's new dog) is. She seems to be one of those lovable mutts you find at the shelter, which is where they got her. I'd guess she's a Lab/Terrier mix? Maybe even Lab/Border Collie? We had a Border Collie years ago who gave birth to a litter of pups, sired by our German Shepherd/Husky/Wolf mix. Two of the pups looked very much like this one. But nobody will ever know for sure. :)
It's just been a day of reading, messing around on the computer, doing a little art and some laundry. I think after I post this I'll try to get off the computer for a while and do something "real". Of course, you folks are real, so I'll probably check your blogs first, lol! :)

I might do a little culling in my book collection. I also want to read some Word and do some other reading. Anyway, nothing that sounds too exciting, but it will be a pleasant evening, I think.
Uneventful days can be a good thing!

Blessings and shalom to all!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

All clear!

My doctor gave me a clean bill of health after my colonoscopy this morning. Yahoo! Thanks for the prayers!

You know, it's kind of a nice experience to have your doctor pray with you (and the nurse) before a procedure. Mine (Dr. Vern) also told us a quick story about a trip he took to Romania where he gave a talk on healthy living, and 500 people were baptized! He's a Seventh-Day Adventist, so it was a missions-type trip. But kind of a different experience than you get in many hospitals. Nurse Jane fed me toast with pb&j and milk afterwards. It was almost spa-like! The anesthesiologist did a great job. He shot two syringes of "stuff" into my IV port and I was out like a light. So, I did some worrying needlessly. I try not to, but I don't always succeed. Oh well. Just keep working on that. Thanks again!

Micah and 3 of the kids came and picked me up afterwards. I made the mistake of explaining to Hazel what a colonoscopy involves. I thought she would be fascinated since she likes "gross" subjects. But now I'm wondering where that information might resurface, lol! Whoops!

After the "all liquids diet" yesterday, I have a craving for some meat. I've started a roast in the crock pot and I'll add potatoes, carrots and green beans later. I slather cream of mushroom soup all over the roast and add a little water. Yup. I'm a fancy cook. But it's GOOOOOD.

Just the roast and cream of mushroom soup so far...

Son Jordan just called. He was on his way back to work after running home to let the dog out at lunchtime. They just got a new dog named Lucy, after the Chronicles of Narnia character. So, now they're learning the in's and out's of taking care of a dog when they're not home all day. Brooke has flown to Portland (her hometown) to attend a Christian women's conference. It was good to hear from him. It's been a while.

 And because I was so obsessed with the thought of food yesterday, I started watching this little YouTube series. This video is about the origins of breakfast, and the next two deal with lunch and dinner. It's English. What more do you need?

And I will say farewell and shalom here, since I can't seem to get Blogger to allow me to type under the video. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't!

Shalom, friends and family! Love y'all!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Batten down the hatches!

There are rumors of a blizzard tonight. In fact, they postponed the K-3 Christmas concert until tomorrow night. So, I won't be able to go and watch Audrey perform since I begin my preparations for my colonoscopy tomorrow and need to stay close to home (if you catch my drift...). But Micah will take lots of photos and the little gymnasium is so crowded she wouldn't have seen me in there anyway. Still, I wish I could go.

I have no real news, but I had some colorful photos on my camera and thought I'd just post them. I've shown some of these before. They're from Sara Midda's South of France-A Sketchbook. I just think they're fun to look at! Be inspired! (Click on them to see a larger version.)

I'm doing an ATC swap called the December Pick-a-Theme. I have to make four cards for my group. So far, one gal has requested a dog and another requested a clown. These are my drawings. I'll use some watercolors on them later.

I hadn't intended for this to be a scary clown, but I think it's turning out that way, lol.
I've stocked up on provisions to carry me through the storm. It was just raining earlier, but now that it's dark I can hear the wind picking up. I'm glad I don't have to go anywhere tonight! Time to get my hygge on!

Love you folks out there! Stay warm and safe!