Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Art, Learned at Home

There was always art in our house growing up. My mother was a gifted artist, mostly in oils in those younger years. Mom had a basement studio, and taught art lessons at home.

I'm not sure when I started to draw, or paint, but I remember some of those earlier times, trying out oils. I guess it was when I went away to school, where there was no convenient art studio, that I realized how important art was to me.

After nursing school (I know, how far from art could that be, long story) I married and moved to a small town.

My next venture into something creative was pottery, and then macrame. After having two kids in two years, I was pretty busy, working part time, living on a farm and taking care of family.

Skipping forward, I realize I always did something creative, always self taught, always moving on to something new. I found my way back to painting, but not oils. I tried watercolors, was a dismal failure, then went on to mixed media collage, which is still my favorite medium.

I play with other, what I guess are crafts, knitting, crocheting, and have diddled with ceramics, photography and jewelry making. I had always written poetry, and nine years ventured into more serious writing. Art and writing are my sanity, and I need them to stay steady.

So, what is strange, is that neither of my children have shown any real interest in art or craft. There was a time my son was interested in photography, but work and family intervened before he got invested in it.

The closest my daughter has come to any interest in art is decorating. Something creative.

This week she attended a Paint Party. I guess you go, and as a group, are taken through the steps to creating a painting. Everybody doing the same painting, selecting their own colors, maybe putting a bit of their own flair into it. Sounds like more of a social event than a true art thing, but from all reports, everyone has a good time.

I'm sharing my daughter's effort, which she couldn't wait to share with me. It brought a tear to my eye, my daughter, the artist. Oddly enough, she'd do it again, so maybe there is some artistic talent there, hidden all these years.

I think not, I think it's the social, and maybe the adult beverages, but whatever works.

Friday, 22 July 2016

The Long, Hot, Summer

Although this may be an apt description of our weather, I'm thinking more of the movie.

Made in 1958, the movie The Long Hot Summer starred Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. It's set in the south, the bayous of Louisiana, where the summers are indeed long and hot.

I loved watching all these old movies, originally filmed in black and white. This was a favorite with my Dad and I, along with all the Errol Flynn swashbuckler movies.

I searched and found a number of clips. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were married later that year, and had one of the most successful marriages that Hollywood ever saw.

Here's a clip to remind you how good some of those old movies really were.


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

So Now What?

I wrote some weeks ago about those people who feed my addictions, I call them enablers. Every time I think I'm getting my yarn stash thinned down and organized, I get a 'gift' of more yarn.

This last donation was new, large, skeins of cotton yarn, so more than just scraps. and along with the cotton were two balls each of a green and brown, very soft, but finer than my usual worsted weight. The colors weren't what I would use for hats, so what to do, what to do.

I decided to make a few Loveys, baby blankets with a stuffed animal head. A snugglie and toy all in one. First it was a cat and a dog from the brown, then a cat in green. After that it was like I was on a quest. I dug out all my leftover yarn, mixed and matched colors, found a better pattern for making a teddy bear head, and I was on a tear.

After giving three as gifts, I still have eleven left. And again, I ask, what to do, what to do.

People say I should sell them, but that begs the question, where? If I started to make some other things I might get enough made to do the round of bazaars in the fall, but that takes such effort. Not the creating, but the packing up, setting up a display, manning a booth, and dragging the leftovers back home. And did I mention, I have no storage space to spare.

I create to create, to make things that make people happy, that they can use. If I make a few bucks at the same time,okay, but I don't want to get involved in all this bazaar stuff again. Last time it wore me out, and as much as there seemed to be positive comments, I didn't sell out.

I've decided to donate all the Loveys to the women's shelter. I think if there were small children, away from home, in a strange environment, maybe they would like a new toy, something soft and huggable, something just for them.

 So, next time I'm out, I'm taking them to the shelter.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Buckets Full

So, after my day at the beach, collecting driftwood, I read a number of articles on how to clean and, I suppose, disinfect the driftwood. This is a good thing, especially if whatever you're making is going to be inside.

I have a bucket full of driftwood, soaking in a bleach/water solution, weighed down with a glass pie plate and the jug of bleach. I've changed the water once already, and will do it one more time. The articles state this could take two weeks, but I'm tired of sharing my shower with a bucket of wood.

I need to find some wood, on which to build my decorative, driftwood designs. I have one piece given to me by my son, and will go through the leftovers from the fence building at my daughter's.

Right now, I just want to move forward, but even if the wood was ready I probably wouldn't be doing much. It's been real hot, the Humidex at 36, which is stifling. It cools some at night, but not always a great deal. I have the fan going.

Why was it again that I hate air conditioning?

Friday, 8 July 2016

What Was I Thinking?

It is no secret that I love art and crafts, something in which my daughter has never shown any interest. But, when I was at her place last week, she asked if I liked her craft work. Craft work, what craft work? 

She pointed to the fridge, to the 4 little containers held by magnets, all in bright patterns and colors.

"Are those the black metallic holders from the dollar store? Did you cover them?"

"No", she replied, "they came like that". 

"So, where does the craft part come in?" I wanted to know. It appears that she added the chalk board tags with the kids' names, and that was her idea of crafting. 

Another way she crafts, is to show me something she likes and to let me make it. That is how I ended up making 13 pairs of slippers one year for Christmas. This time she showed me a flower design on what she says is driftwood. The design is made of different colors of rocks, glued to a wood base, not driftwood at all.

"If you want to see driftwood", I tell her, "go to Pinterest. I have a board on Driftwood". 

"Of course you do", she smirked. I have a board on almost anything. But on seeing what I had pinned to my board, she was enthusiastic about driftwood.

We made plans to go to a certain beach near her to gather some wood. After we were done, I said I just needed a few of the longer pieces, as I'm making dream catchers with her niece and nephew. I then found out she was only collecting driftwood for me, she had no intention of making anything.

Of course she wasn't, what was I thinking?

But, I just might try that heart or anchor made out of smaller pieces, which was most likely her subtle plan to begin with. I love a challenge.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Solo Road Tour

I had lunch with my brother yesterday, and took my camera, to see if he could figure out why it wasn't working. I was very excited to have a camera like this, and was having a good time taking it with me and snapping photos.

He was able to fix it, though he doesn't know exactly what he did. I don't care, he's the expet and he must have hit the right combination of buttons, because I could now see something other than grey through the viewfinder.

I always take Highway 2 through all the small towns and rural areas on my drive home. I don't like the 401 Highway in rush hour, so I do granny driving all the way home. It suits me fine as Velma's (my van) air conditioning is on the fritz and I could drive with the windows down.

Today I noticed something I had never seen before. I looked to the north and saw a series of wind turbines, their large fans slowly rotating against the sky.

Road trip! I wanted a closer look. I turned north off the highway on a county road, so it was paved. I traveled quite a distance, frequently lost sight of the wind turbines. It wasn't a if I thought I could get lost, as I knew I would most likely hit another east/west road that would set me back in the direction of home.

I came to a main road that parallels Highway 2, north of all the towns and villages. I turned east toward home, knowing exactly where I was. The wind turbines were ahead of me. I made one more turn north to get closer, took a couple of pictures and turned around, heading back toward more familiar roads.

It was a longer drive, but I enjoyed the sense of adventure. It was amazing to see the size of those fans, see the continuous motion.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Kids Asking Questions

I was driving my granddaughter home, about !5 Km from my small town to her smaller town. We crossed a large bridge that went over the railroad tracks just outside of town, and another smaller bridge over the creek as we entered the town limits.

Old enough, and tall enough to be able to sit in the front seat, she seems to notice much more along the drive.

Her question was why they have those stripes on the bridges, that make a bump. I had to think for a minute before I could reply. They're bands that go across the bridge to allow it to expand and contract with the change in the weather. Without them, I said, the bridge would buckle and cause problems.

Then she wanted to know about the bumps on the road. I explained that the roads get damaged every winter, how much and how badly depends on the kind of winter we have. Things like an early frost, a very cold sustained winter, or lots of freeze/thaw type weather.

I showed her the bumps on the road, where the road had buckled, and where the roads department were filling in the cracks, adding more pavement where needed. We could see the wiggly lines where the cracks had been filled, looking like long black snakes on the road.

Her opinion was the repairs would look better if they were done in the same color. "I suppose," I answered. "But give it time, and it will all match."

I love these questions, they make me think, and I love the natural curiosity of children.

Friday, 1 July 2016

A Great Day

Spending the afternoon with my eleven year old granddaughter. We shopped for supplies to make her favorite no-bake squares, and enjoyed lunch at Boston Pizza.

Everyone has their favorite toppings, but all she wanted was cheese, and lemon slices. She squeezed the lemon and dipped the slice in it. Myself, I like green olives and hot peppers. I had teriyaki chicken, for old times sake. That's what my brother and I always had for our lunches, until we changed venues.

Back home, we made peanut butter/marshmallow squares, something we usually only have at Christmas, but s actually perfect for summer.

We also made coated pretzels, a favorite of her Mom's, something else I make for special occasions.

This young lady loves to cook, and we have made many baked items over the years, and something we've planned to do soon, home made egg rolls.

I've missed having a baking buddy, miss having a kitchen with some counter space. Everybody loves the egg rolls so much, my daughter has volunteered her kitchen, which works great as she has a dishwasher.

It's so nice to know that the grand kids remember all those old times, good memories for all.