13 February 2016

two of my pals

We arrived to our friend's home, one day before the movers were to arrive, with almost nothing packed. So their daughter, Bill, and I worked feverishly at boxing things up. (They own three households-worth of kitchen stuff alone!)

When the movers arrived, we shut their husky-corgi mix dog along with two of their daughter's chihuahuas in a back bedroom (she had two with her and two more at home -- all have sweet personalities!). Then, when they needed to work in that bedroom, I kept Maggie, Baby, and Lucie-Loo on leashes in an out-of-the-way spot. All three determined to be lap puppies, with Baby attempting to be "King of the hill" by climbing above the rest!

Poor Maggie is showing a bit of stress as her owners face various stages of dementia. She loves them dearly and is very protective of them; it's confusing for her to see them scream at each other. Where are the caring, loving people she knows?

12 February 2016

driving Arkansas roads

Driving the Arkansas Ozarks is always lovely. I had never been here in the winter before --- there is less color but it is still beautiful.

Sketching in a moving truck proved a bit too bumpy so I snapped several photos through the windshield to sketch from later. Afterwards, it seemed all I got were shots of roads curving right; I'm sure we must have curved the other way at some point!

I brought back several large rocks / petrified wood from our friends' rock garden. We have a planting bed next to our cabin that gets flooded when it rains, and had decided to put in a rock garden with a few containers there. So now I have large specimen rocks for that area. Bill teased that my rocks were putting the weight limit over the top --- nothing to do with that industrial metal lathe he brought back, right? It only tips the scale somewhere over 1000 lbs. after all.

One of these days, I will sketch a few of the rocks.

09 February 2016

travel essentials ready to go . . .

. . . except that I found no time to actually sketch. We traveled to Arkansas to help a dear friend (actually we adopted her as our sister) move her parents, both dealing with dementia, to Kansas. And that was quite an adventure!

An example of what we walked into: the day before the movers were scheduled to arrive, our friend's dad yelled at her, saying he told her to pack up the kitchen stuff --- every plate she put into a box, her mother took out and placed back in the cupboard, telling her to stop or she'd slap her.

But we eventually got things packed up, with the help of a very gracious team of movers, and helped them get settled in their new house in Kansas. Then a quick trip over to Wichita to see my mom and then visit my dad & step-mom. We even got to spend time with our dearest friends from El Dorado and Bill visited several old work buddies --- we squeezed quite a lot into one day.

All I got sketched was the first pages of my new journal, showing the supplies I packed in my bag. But I took photos to draw in the book now that we are again home, to document the trip. It is a very long drive, made longer when an 18-wheeler crashed with a cement truck north of Dallas, closing a main freeway right as we were coming up to it. 

40-mile-an-hour winds literally blew us home as well, complicating the load in the back of the truck, a small industrial metal lathe that was given to Bill. And 7 petrified wood "rocks" that I kept from Arkansas for a new rock garden I'm putting in. Of course, they are what Bill said was tipping our weight over the maximum allowed in his truck!

02 February 2016

some January roses

Through the month of January I sort of collected some of the local roses that continued to bloom in spite of some actual wintery night temperatures, sketching them on the last 2-page spread of this journal. Our first winter in the area roses all went dormant but this year has been mostly mild with occasional rainfall. Our rose shrubs that died did so more from too much rain.

I usually use the very last end paper pages for random information, quotes, testing colors and inks, and a few random sketches. Rarely is there visible space left --- blame it on my being too busy packing for a road trip. I'm taking a new journal and didn't wish to carry both with me.

01 February 2016

a turquoise day

Lately I seem to be drawn to all things turquoise. Wearing a favorite Mexican peasant skirt at church yesterday (it reached over 80 degrees -- sandal weather!), I then drew the necklace I was wearing . . . then a quick sketch of my new favorite purse that Bill gave me for Christmas . . . . I have even gone back to using an old hand-thrown turquoise tea mug!

I love the John Singer Sargent quote on the upper left page, found recently online: "You can't do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh."

31 January 2016

another challenge . . .

Just for fun on Friday, we took a drive . . . and ended up exploring the Waller Rustic Furniture store.

Great place to shop . . . if you are a cattle baron or hit it big in oil. Expensive! But some really lovely pieces of wood with turquoise inlays, leather, and horn.

I drew two tables for the next EDM challenge.

29 January 2016

revisit to Just Like Heaven

Recently we again ate at a favorite local sandwich-soup-salad shop, this time sitting somewhere new for me to sketch. Must Be Heaven has lots of interesting antiques and collectibles as decoration. But this area I chose to draw is right where customers line up to order their food. I took some quick photos . . . just before a large high school soccer team blocked my view. Then drew this later from the photos.

28 January 2016

garden planning . . . or undoing

My illustrated journals are really a "one place for everything" gathering place. Notes, memories, testing art supplies, snippets of daily life -- all find their way into my books. And by posting everything on this blog (and remembering to add labels!), I can always find something later on.

We moved into our cabin during a drought; now we have seen the effects of flooding rains and scorching summer heat. So some changes need to be made to the planting beds that were here when we moved in.

Along the walk leading to our front door was a flower bed that I turned into a culinary herb bed. But the heavy downpours of rain continually washed the sandy soil onto our patio, leaving drifts of sand dunes and drowning the herb plants. Bill plans to redo the drainage system ___ the French drains were not installed correctly ___ but we also are letting this bed go back to grassy sod to stop the erosion.

On the other side of the patio is a flower bed where former owners had zinnias. They only lived here five years, all during the drought, so the flowers thrived. But during heavy rains, this bed becomes a wet swamp. So we are going to lay in some decorative rock here and set some containers of herbs. We can always move the pots away from the heaviest rain as needed.

The existing lantana that was in the rose bed have been moved to the south of the cabin where they are doing much better in full sun. So I am considering doing a new herb bed here. The patio cover shades it part of the day but it seems to get a good amount of sun as well. And if I include plants that attract hummingbirds, our constant stream of hummers will be happy as well.

I jotted down more garden notes on the next couple of pages. We have a separate raised vegetable garden near the woodshop but are still trying to figure out which tomatoes grow best here. So I listed some varieties a central Texas gardening book recommends. All names we are not familiar with. I wonder if some are actually the same varieties we grew in Kansas but under different names? Bill likes to grow ingredients for homemade salsa.

We also need to replace a photinia shrub that died; a dwarf holly would add green color all year while hiding the AC unit. And our birds might enjoy the berries.

27 January 2016

something strange . . .

The next Everyday Matters prompt on the drawing challenge list is to draw something strange.

We had to take our car in for some expensive repairs this past week. Greeting us at the repair shop's gate was this muffler man.

The strange thing would be his wearing heavy socks as mittens. It was a lovely sunshiny day with temperatures over 70°!

25 January 2016

drawing practice . . .

I'm continuing to draw the next Everyday Matters challenges just to practice. Like any skill, if you don't use it, you lose it. It is much easier to capture an image when I want to if I have been keeping up with daily drawing.

The above images have one thing in common: none of them can be drawn from life because we don't have any of them in our home. We no longer eat bread so no toast. I don't particularly like the color orange so nothing in our house is orange and I'm fresh out of real oranges. And we don't buy bottles water. So I drew all of these from online photos.

Continuing the drawing practice, I just drew what I could see in front of my at church yesterday. And no, this looks nothing like our pastor --- blame it on his moving around too much. A mighty lion who can not be contained in one spot. (The quote at the bottom of the page has nothing to do with the sermon; I just read it a few days ago and jotted it down in my journal.)
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