Tag Archives: Friday

What Makes Things Go

imageMy big brother was always interested in things that ran, things with wheels, mechanical and motorized and intricately put together devices and how they functioned.  He loved mechanical sets and model airplanes and taking things apart to discover how they were assembled in the first place.  My dad often said if anybody could figure out how something worked it was him.

He wasn’t always a hundred percent successful.  I had an alarm clock with a face painted in a woodsy scene with two little elves moving up and down on a teeter- totter with each tick-tock.  I begged him to leave it alone.  And then one day, there it was, in a million pieces with my brother poring over the parts, happily working away on something that wasn’t broken until he decided to fix it.  The little elves never played on that see-saw again.

Not surprisingly, with all that practice, he became an amazing mechanic.  We learned to never ask him anything about our vehicles unless we wanted to listen to an hours worth of baffling diagnostic mechanical information.  Once he warmed to his subject there was no shutting him down.  Might as well grab a coffee and try to keep up with your eyes open.

There are a few of photos of me as a child with a cat draped over my shoulder.  It’s a mystery to me why a kid thinks a cat needs to be picked up and carted about, or why a cat allows it.  We always had outside barn cats, never house cats until we were adults.  I was afraid of dogs for a long time with a recurring nightmare of a big black dog chasing me.  No idea where that came from.  Anyway, there I am, confused by how happy my brother is to be making a little wooden tricycle go when there are cats to be lugged around.

Often we had cats of unknown origin on the farm.  They may have migrated from other farms close by or been dropped off in the country as discarded city pets.  They kept the rodent population in check and more or less looked after themselves.  Once we had a litter of all white kittens which we happily named Snow, Snowflake, Snowball, Sugar, Winter…every white thing we could think of.  They all ended up being called “one of those white cats” because we couldn’t tell them apart.  Later we progressed to more sophisticated cat names such as Spooky, Pooky, Donovan and Trigere.

In his last years on the farm dad had two almost identically marked cats he called Daryl and Other Brother Daryl.  He claimed to know one from the other, but I’m skeptical about that.

Despite all the cats, or maybe because of them, I never became a cat lady.  Although I suppose there’s still time for that to happen, if I ever get to missing a big furry body purring in my face.  My brother had dogs as pets his whole life.  Could be, compared to cats, it’s just much more interesting to figure out what makes a dog tick.

Smile

imageNo, this is not a poster for toothpaste.  Or one for striped shirts or vintage wallpaper, although it could be all of those things.  It’s a Friday flashback to the 1950’s.

In which my mothers face says….

  • OMG I have two children, both dressed and with their hair combed!
  • Did I comb my own hair?  I can’t remember. I will smile BIG and no one will notice!
  • Please hurry up and press the shutter button so I can blink my burning eyes!

Of course I don’t know if she was thinking any of those things.  But she does look like a typical slightly frazzled mom, ready to jump up and get back to the million things she’s in the middle of doing.

The room was in our house, or my grandmas, or my aunts, or some other relatives;  I’m too small to remember any of it, or what is so fascinating somewhere up there on the ceiling.

I do remember how popular wainscotting was though.  Beautiful dark wood paneling half way up the walls.  I’m sure my grandma had it in her kitchen, so maybe that’s where we were.  But it was everywhere.  Perfect for banging your kitchen chairs or other furniture against without damaging the walls or wallpaper.  Not a great drawing surface for kids.

One of my mothers favourite qualities in any household item was its ability to “not show the dirt”.  Her choices for walls and floors and upholstery were firmly based on that.  She was aghast when my sister put champagne coloured carpet in her living/dining room.  It didn’t last long after their kids came along, but it was gorgeous when it was new.

And where has the house dress gone?  All the ladies I knew when I was growing up wore nothing but dresses for every occasion, covered up with an apron if they were doing something messy, to keep them nice.  They also covered up the good furniture with slip covers.  And put their out of season clothes in zipped up garment bags with moth balls.

We are influenced by the past, although I never once felt the urge to do housework in a dress.  I have a sort of faux wainscotting in my kitchen with dark paint on the bottom, light on the top, and a wallpaper border to separate them.  The spare room in the last house my parents owned was done up in green and white ivy wallpaper.  Maybe some things just never get old.  Although maybe they should.

Little kids in striped shirts with big smiles and a doting mom – that’s timeless.

Grandmas Were Not Always Grandmas

imageThis is my maternal grandmother, born in 1887.  Isn’t she gorgeous?  I’m guessing this picture was taken in her late teens or early twenties before she was married.  In the right lower corner there is a ghost hand about which she doesn’t appear to be overly concerned.  We believe the original photo was cut in half , so whoever was sitting opposite her remains a mystery.

I love her tidy dark hair, the high collared blouse and her high-waisted skirt.  That pensive gaze rivals the Mona Lisa.

And here she is, some seventy years later.

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Still gorgeous, still smiling, but with a little less hair to pull back with pins.  She is posing with my brother, my sisters and me (on the right), four of her twelve grandchildren.  After this fleeting moment in time she had a lot more years of her life left to live.  An unforgettable lady.

“The more we love the more we lose. The more we lose the more we learn. The more we learn the more we love. It comes full circle. Life is the school, love is the lesson. We cannot lose.”
― Kate McGahan

Someone Left the Cake Out

imageOn my first birthday I had already been walking for 3 months.  My sturdy bowed legs were something I always blamed on my mother but she said there was no stopping me.  Obviously the droopy drawers didn’t slow me down either.  Does anyone even remember pinned cloth diapers covered with plastic elasticized bloomer type pants?  No wonder kids were easier to toilet train before disposables became so dry and comfy.  There’s no motivation to get out of them like there was for this bulky chafing paraphernalia.

The old Kodak box camera had no flash, so photos were taken in bright sunlight streaming through a window, or the subject and the props were simply moved outside.  I remember this little three-legged table, one of a pair and eventually used by my grandma shoved up flat against a wall in the sunlight holding potted plants.

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This is quite possibly the least attention I ever paid to a cake in my life.
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That’s it.  Totally done with standing still.  My turn to play with the camera.

Art du Jour 75

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Among the many reasons why I don’t like to draw the faces of men, these two are the biggest. Their ears are so visible and over all they are generally so incredibly hairy.

So,try to ignore the ears which I couldn’t be bothered finishing, and the inaccurate directions in which the stubble appears to be headed. Other than that, I am calling it okay. Not just another pretty face, and more challenging than anything on a Friday really needs to be.

Today the weather is cool with gusty winds and welcome rain. Perfect for staying inside and messing about with charcoal. I’ve lost track of how many coffees I’ve consumed.

I should tell you that this drawing was inspired by a photo of Hugh Laurie. Now you don’t have to wonder who it vaguely reminds you of any longer. This information might even give you something totally different to wonder about.

And on that note, in this world full of wonder, have a wonderful weekend!

Art du Jour 65

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There’s been a long convoluted detour away from my original intent to draw lots of faces, so I steered myself back in that direction today with this sketch.

The woman who plays Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis) has beautiful deep-set eyes, incredible cheekbones and a perfect heart-shaped face. All of that makes her Dutch boy bob look like a million bucks.  I wore my hair like this when I was six.  I did not look this good.  If you didn’t know that’s who this is supposed to be, that’s okay.  It’s still an interesting face and worth the big charcoal mess I’ve made.

Feels like I’ve been on vacation for a week with all this Netflix watching.   At least I’m feeling slightly less guilty about it now for having finished this.

And now I deserve another cup of coffee without any charcoal dust floating in it.  Hope you’re having a fantastic Friday!

Art du Jour 64

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This is how it begins. A blank canvas, an idea in my head, and some scraps of coloured or printed tissue paper.

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To start with something more balanced than random, I arrange the initial colours by corner, corner and opposite side.

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Then I fill in the empty spaces with incredibly random bits and pieces.  Overlapping creates different colours and lots of wrinkles. Because this is a stretched canvas the paper is brought around to cover all the edges.

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It’s drying balanced on one corner on my easel so it doesn’t end up stuck to the desk.

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Now I’ve added texture paste with a little pallet knife and stencils.  My idea was “circles” but I don’t think you could have guessed that yet.  Unless you’re psychic.

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This is where the process gets away on me and I forget to take photos.  I used W’s coffee cup (hey, I don’t want paint on MINE) by dipping the rim in different colours of acrylic paint and stamping circles.  They didn’t show up very well, so I glued some circular pieces of yellow tissue paper on some of them.  And stamped some small black circles in ink, and spritzed some spots with ink spray.

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What the heck did I add here?  It looks like the same photo.  But I know after this I used the coffee cup rim again, this time with white paint and went nuts with the circles.  I also used W’s shot glass to make small white circles to tie the big ones together. He’s away, he’ll never know.  This is now your coffee table after a party without coasters.

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To prove I went outside today, here is the finished circle picture sprayed with matte varnish and drying in the sun.

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I forgot to mention a few more ink spritzes and white splatter with a toothbrush.  Taadaa!

And finally,SIDEWAYS because there is no wrong way to look at this thing,  and a beautiful quote for even more inspiration.  Happy Friday.

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“Drinking the energy of the universe
Breathing along with the Cosmos
With each breath
I am reborn
Into a brand new existence.”

― Ilchi Lee, Songs of Enlightenment

Haiku Enlightenment

Sei Shonagon (清少納言)
Sei Shonagon (清少納言) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Weekly Writing Challenge: Haiku Catchoo!

Your mission is to write five haikus — one for each of the five days leading up to this Friday when we will choose some entries and feature them on Freshly Pressed. 

Wise words always sound ridiculously more sage and profound when they’re written in the form of Haiku.  So here’s my five deeply philosophical attempts to attain WordPress fame.  And if Freshly Pressed is not in my future, what the hell.

Not a broken mess –

Beautifully imperfect.

You are not alone.

~~~~~

There’s no good reason

To act your age my darling.

Stay forever young.

~~~~~

Can life be perfect

One fine day, some tomorrow?

Nope, so just relax.

~~~~~

You must learn the rules

Before you can break them all.

Hey, good luck with that.

~~~~~

Afraid of the dark?

What you can’t see worries you?

Kid – turn on the lights.

~~~~~

CalGeisha
CalGeisha (Photo credit: Wikipedia)