Art du Jour 1

Perhaps the title should be “The Good The Bad and The Ugly”.  I am practicing drawing faces.  I gathered them all up, snapped pictures of my pictures, saved and edited them and turned them all sepia.  Because it’s a sepia kind of day.  Big fat snowflakes coming down out there.

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It’s been an interesting Sunday pursuit and I’m thinking a daily art project might be a good feature here.  For days when words fail me.  Anyway, if I do 365 of these, just imagine how good I’ll be in the 300’s!  I don’t know why everybody’s right eyeball is blurred.  Trick of the light, or the artist.

Happy Sunday.


Just Jazzy 288

Jazzy Does 100 Days of Happiness 75

Happiness is making it to the magical 3/4 mark in your happiness project!    Giving yourself stars!  Hey, we should drink to that!

Happiness is making it to the magical 3/4 mark in your happiness project! Giving yourself stars! Raising your glass and toasting your own awesomeness! Although that last one doesn’t really need a reason.

Look Mom – I Did it Myself!

These are the words that make a mother deliriously proud.  Or cause her to weep uncontrollably, depending on the situation.  Either of these reactions have also been known to follow all do it yourself projects performed by me in the privacy of my own home.  Friends and family will see and be prompted to praise the results of the successes, and the failures will die with me, along with other various missteps, fiascos and sordid secrets.

Prompts for the Promptless:  Do it yourself (DIY) is the method of building, modifying, or repairing something without the aid of experts or professionals.

What do we need experts and professionals for when we’ve got Google?  said a lot of clueless people who went on to learn that experts and professionals are not completely without merit after all.

For my do-it-yourself project today, I will be making a sun catcher.  I don’t really need or want one, but I have plastic beads hanging around which no grandchild seems at all gung-ho to string.  And I don’t want to throw them out and be all wasteful.  Better to throw out the finished product and feel good about myself for having at least given it a try.  Or file it under F for fiasco.  It’s kind of exciting to have no idea how something will turn out.

I am using an old pie tin that I will not miss if this whole thing turns out badly.

I am using an old pie tin that I will not miss if this whole thing turns out badly.

I am also using one of the good pie plates because I have way more stupid beads than I thought.

I am also using one of the good pie plates because I have way more stupid beads than I thought.

Notice the artistic arrangement in both cases with some opaque beads in one and only clear green, blue and purple in the other.  This is about as artistic as I feel like getting today.

While waiting for the oven to heat to 400 degrees, on the other side of the kitchen counter I ponder what to do with these three avocados I bought because they are supposedly so good for me.  The creative, multi-tasking side of my brain thinks putting them in a smoothie might be interesting, while the other side of my brain reminds me that I haven’t yet had breakfast.  Voila!  Coconut almond milk, a banana, scooped out avocado, key lime greek yogurt (which I bought accidentally thinking it was vanilla) and a bag of frozen spinach and kale results in this delightful looking concoction.

Before blending.

Before blending.

After blending.

After blending fuzzy close up. Do it yourself photography is a topic for another time.

The consistency and color are great, but the taste is rather disappointing.  In fact, there is no taste.  So I add a squirt of lemon juice, a shake of cinnamon and a couple scoops of frozen blueberries.  This makes the smoothie look like mud, but a lot easier to swallow.

suncatchers 005

Starbucks is in no way responsible for this goop in their glass.

I can’t say for sure whether the aroma of melting plastic is adding or detracting from the avocado smoothie taste experience.

The melting process is supposed to take twenty minutes, but I’d suggest forty is more realistic.  This number comes from my admittedly limited experience – please note that I am not a professional or expert melter of beads.

suncatchers 006

Sun catchers fresh from the oven. Wow, look how clean my stove top is!

The next thing to do is let these things cool, slip them out of the plates (ha – I’m not optimistic about that one), drill holes in them and hang them up with something like fishing line to catch the rays of the sun.  It’s cloudy today, so I’m not optimistic about that one either.  I notice the one on the left already has a hole close to one edge, so how forward thinking was that?  Flukey forward thinking is probably an apt name for it in this case.

Oh. My. God.  They really do pop right out of the pans.  And there is a little hole in the second sun catcher as well, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no luck like dumb luck.

Now I will pretend that I was never skeptical, and expected nothing less than these amazing results.  Because that's what true DIY people excel at.

Now I will pretend that I was never skeptical, and expected nothing less than these amazing results. Because that’s where real DIY people truly excel.

Okay, all that’s left of this Sunday project (which didn’t turn out to be from hell after all), is to air out that burnt plastic smell from my house and wish for some sparkly sunshine.  Plus think up some totally awesome weird thing to do with the two remaining avocados.  That should not be a problem as I appear to be on a roll.

The Great Declutter Plan

Operation De-Clutter has officially begun here in Casa Mia.

I am writing this little declaration, not because I believe anyone will find it fascinating, (and if you do, holy cow, I hope your day improves), but because having it in writing is likely to motivate me to carry this through to a satisfactory conclusion.  In other words, embarrass and guilt me in to keeping my word about it and finishing what I’ve started.

It wasn’t rocket science to figure out that the thought of actually getting rid of stuff permanently was what was holding me back.  So now I have a giant purple plastic bin into which I will be lovingly placing precious articles with which I cannot possibly part.  (Unless they’re confiscated behind my back and I don’t notice they’re gone, but no one has volunteered to do this for me.)  So I’m on my own.

Yesterday I donated three bags of miscellaneous toys and puzzles to our local County Clothesline.  And hardly made a dent in the “toy room”.  But it’s a start. I have donated three big green garbage bags full of clothing to another charity.  My bedroom/office is next.  Walls and shelf surfaces will soon be bare while I sort out only the necessary from the purely frivolous.  There are things in here I don’t even like, but they were given to me or have some sort of sentimental value or have been around so long I don’t really see them anymore.  They are on their way out.

There will be many steps to this process – I expect it will keep me busy for days and days. Maybe the whole summer.  More purple bins are a very real possibility.  At the end of it all, everything will be put in the storage room with the door closed where I can’t see it.  Then we wait.  If in, say, six months, I haven’t missed or longed to see whatever is in there, out it goes.  I will be ruthless.

We never used to be such crazy hoarders because we moved around so much and learned to give it away or toss it out before the move, rather than pack it up, only to pitch it out at the new location.  Living in the same house for almost thirty years means we haven’t done a big purge for a very long time, and we are currently running the risk of being buried in the collected rubble.  I’m just a little overwhelmed by it all.  Time for a change.

So Good Luck Me!  Get this done, and then we’ll work on the behavioural collecting problem that started all this in the first place.

My 2012 Project 365

Here’s what I’ve decided to do for my own personal blog a day project, inspired by WordPress’ suggestions.  I’m pretty sure they won’t want to take any credit for this one, but that’s okay.  The things they were talking about involved leaving the house and interacting with people and expending effort.  Who’s up for THAT?  Not me.  I started this blog many many moons ago by taking a picture from my life and writing whatever popped into my head – remembered, made up, whatever.  Then Plinky got me writing about stuff and finding a picture later.  So kind of backwards, if you think about it.

I suppose the picture thing works, whichever way you look at it, because it’s kept me writing for six years.  And it’s time to go forward once again.  I will photograph random things in my house and write something about them, even if it’s only a moronic caption.  I will try to do this every day.  Hopefully we do not ever get so desperate for subject matter that we find ourselves looking at what I made for dinner or the dust bunnies under my couch.  My life is vastly more interesting than that.  I think.

The picture of the coffee cup is in my bedroom.  I realize it should be in the kitchen, but there’s no room for it in there, plus it doesn’t go with my nautical beach sea gull theme that I’ve got going on in that room.  I like the colors in this picture and I like looking at it.  So there it is.  I’ve hung it under my stencil experiment that didn’t turn out all that great, but I’ve never gotten around to removing it, and really, who cares, its just the bedroom.

I’ve even added a new category for my project.  So the pressure is on.  It’s almost like some kind of bizarre New Year’s resolution.  I’m very excited about it.  So much so that I’m falling asleep just thinking about it!  But that’s a good thing because I have to get up early and go to work tomorrow.  It’s kind of insane, when you think about it, that there are over three hundred and sixty five things within picture taking distance of me with which I can bore the pants off of everyone who bothers to read this.  It will be like one of those sleeper Indie movies where nothing ever happens but you keep watching because you can’t wait to see what doesn’t happen next.

It’s suddenly June and….

…..another month bites the dust.  W. has been gone since the 10th of May (returning tomorrow), and I’ve had pneumonia.  But that’s cleared up and I’m now fighting mere allergies.  Which have my head completely plugged up, ears and all, even with a cortisone nasal spray and an inhaler on a daily basis.  Boo hoo, poor me.  Actually it’s getting better, but I like to milk these things for all they’re worth.

Dream Fairy

Dream Fairy (Photo credit: Alexandria LaNier)

I continue to read until my brain hurts.  I’ve done some amazing spring cleaning, store-room and various junk collecting spots (I’m embarrassed to admit they’re EVERYWHERE in this house…) and I’ve probably developed a severe reaction to dust along with all the pollen in the air.  A little air purifier and a cool air humidifier are supposed to help me sleep, but I’m wondering if all the noise they make is counter productive.  And I’m also trying to figure out why I get my second wind at this time of night so that I don’t feel even remotely like sleeping, and then it’s a huge struggle to get myself moving in the morning.My page a day forgotten English calendar has generally been boring the hell out of me, except for this wonderful little gem from the 18th of May, which was the birthday of Elias Ashmole (1617-1692).  What an unfortunate name.  The word for the day is pigwidgeon – “a kind of cant word for anything petty or small;  a fairy. ”  Since when are fairies petty??  Maybe they meant to say pretty.  “The word is of obscure origin and meaning.  Some have identified it with the name of a fairy knight favoured by Queen Mab, the wife of Oberon.”  (A fairy knight??) That just seems wrong.

Anyway, all that aside, Elias wrote a manuscript titled “An excellent way to get a fairy”, which reads:

“First, get a broad, square crystal, in length and breadth three inches, and lay it in the blood of a hen three Wednesdays or three Fridays.  Then take it out and wash it in Holy Water and fumigate it.  (Sounds pretty easy so far, right??  Crystals, hen blood and holy water being common household items.  I’m puzzled about the fumigator though, but that can probably be googled.)  Then take three hazel rods of a year’s growth, peel them fair and white, and write the fairy’s name, which you call three times, on every stick being made flat one side.  (So if you don’t know the fairy’s name, at this point you’re in big trouble).  Then bury them under some hill whereas you suppose fairies haunt the Wednesday before you call her; and the Friday following, call her three times at eight, or three, or ten of the clock.  (What kind of hills do fairies haunt?  Are they the size of ant hills?  or potato hills? or foot hills?  This is why I can never be good at this.  I just don’t know.)  But when you call, be in Clean Life and turn thy face towards the east; and when you have her, bind her in that crystal.”

Is it just me, or do you think there’s a couple of steps missing there at the end?  And after the mysterious binding, then what?  What exactly do you do with your crystal bound fairy?  Although this all at first seems like a LOT of information, apparently I need more.  And some motivation would be good too.  Otherwise I think I’ll just let the fairies get on with whatever it is fairies do and leave them alone.  Besides, Mr Ashmole never says in so many words that this excellent method actually works, and he does throw in a lot of tricky conditions that set you up for failure.  Like if your hazel tree is under a year old or your watch is wrong, the whole project is doomed.

And speaking of doomed projects, I’ve decided to take up painting again!  So far I’ve bought some new paints and a couple of boards and have drawn two outlines on them.  Whew.  All that in just over a week!  Now I need to decide on a place to start the actual painting without taking up a ridiculous amount of space and making a colossal mess.  Where the light is good.  In a chair that’s comfortable and where the table doesn’t wobble.  And a lot more conditions too numerous to get into.  I’ll get back to you on how that’s going.  Three Wednesdays from the next rainy Friday, if not sooner.