20 November 2017

mushrooms edging a tree stump

On the oak tree side of our yard, there are several tree stumps cut at ground level. These original trees were cut to make room for building the cabin and thinned a bit to make it more "yard-like". Around the edge of this particular stump some beautiful, luminous mushrooms have popped up this past week.

18 November 2017

a really big leaf

Three of our grandkids came to spend a couple of days with us. Needville High School was sending their volleyball team to the state competition up north of Dallas; so many teachers planned on going (including our son, Jason) that they just closed all the town's schools Friday rather than trying to find all those substitutes.

Today the kids and I took a walk . . . and found this Really Big oak leaf, a full 11" long! Rather bug-chewed and crumbly, but fun to sketch anyway.

And we just heard: the Needville team are the new state champions!

13 November 2017

saying goodbye . . .

Since moving here nearly 4 years ago, Bill has formed a close friendship with our elderly neighbor, John. He lost his beloved wife, Bobbie, just a couple of months after we had settled here. His own elderly aunt and uncle once owned the cabin that is now our home.

John is now dying. His son and daughter-in-law have been very thankful for Bill's help as they go through the process of saying goodbye. I sketched this card to give them from us; Bill and John have spent many hours visiting on this side patio of John's.

11 November 2017

a braiding team

Yesterday afternoon, we drove to Troy, TX to watch our young friend Macy play basketball. Before her team played, I saw these team members "tag team" a hair-braiding session. Macy didn't get much play time, having recently recovered from a concussion she received at a volleyball practice, but her team won!

09 November 2017

results . . . or not

Yesterday, I sketched this while waiting in the neurosurgeon's office at Scott & White in Temple, Texas. After extensive new tests, this second neurosurgeon found no indication for further surgery to correct Bill's damaged nerve. Pain management was suggested; we already went that route and it did not help at all. The nerve may possibly heal over time, it may not. Bill's feeling pretty down at the moment.

We are trusting the Lord to have better answers.

06 November 2017

a few leaves and Internet woes

A young girl at church, Kathleen, heard that I miss colorful autumn leaves so she brought me a few leaves from her yard. Not as brilliant as our Autumn Joy maple tree produced but fun to sketch.

Having internet problems . . . Currently, I can only post entries at church with their free wifi. Not a lot of selection around here but I'm asking around in hopes of finding a new service. I can't really think of opening an Etsy shop to sell prints or notecards online until this is resolved. Also looking into buying a signal booster for my phone to solve my not having a signal on a regular basis.

30 October 2017

sketching Saturday's meeting

Our local homeowner's association held the annual meeting on Saturday -- I sketched the water well system that is the center of the current battle. We are a small housing group in the country, far from any water lines (also far from decent internet connections or clear cell phone signals, but that may be all the lovely trees), and we share this private well.

In theory, our yearly dues go to pay for upkeep on the wells and maintain the roads. 

In reality: in the past 2 years, board members have freely spent the money on whatever notion they had in mind at the moment WITHOUT bringing these items before the community for a vote, and have depleted much of what was set aside for the wells. 

Now, with an expensive evaluation by an engineering firm, we learn of multiple violations in our system and the fact that any replacement will require bringing the whole thing up to code --- a very expensive process. Or we can do nothing and chance the state coming in and shutting the wells down. Leaving us without water.

Yet, the board president and vice-president did nothing at this meeting except whine about themselves . . . Bill, who has served in a minor position on the board, was trying to lead an open discussion with all the residents about the problems and searching for answers together, drawing on ALL residents' thoughts and suggestions. While being interrupted by the president's pity party.

A frustrating day to say the least!

28 October 2017

Jeremiah's new baggage

My wee mohair bear, Jeremiah, now has his own art tool kit . . . complete with a hand-sewn leather-covered journal with decorative end papers. All kept together in his own suitcase -- designed and crafted by artist Andrea Joseph and sold in her Etsy shop. The perfect little journal was made by Holly Serjeant of Scrivener's Books, Buxton, Derbyshire, UK.

Andrea's attention to detail is amazing! She even includes 2 mini ink cartridges with instructions on filling the tiny cork-stoppered glass bottle. The "pen" is a sharpened stick. The case is lined with "scraps" of some of her ink sketches. I no longer see these in her shop -- they possibly were a limited production. With the packing, she included encouragement to fill the sketchbook with drawings and post them online. So far, I'm still thinking about it . . .

24 October 2017

finally! I found another one . . .

The upper vintage Prang watercolor box is one I've had for years. I love it's being metal yet so much lighter in weight than modern metal watercolor boxes. And a full-sized brush fits inside, depending on how many pans of paint I put inside.

A couple of years ago, I foolishly took my Prang box to the beach --- we were camping right at the gulf shore on Mustang Island. Lots of wind and sand! My poor box was sand-blasted inside and out as I sketched and painted! 

The paints were able to be cleaned up without too much loss but the inside finish of the box was ruined. I tried sanding it down and spraying with an enamel paint, but the surface still fought my mixing paints on it.

Now and then, I would check on eBay but these boxes have caught on in popularity; average prices were $25 and higher for boxes in poor shape with rusty areas. I was willing to settle for a box from the 1950's though I do love this Art Deco version with it's wee Old Faithful geyser, as long as the inside was in good shape,

And finally I found this one for only $10! I didn't know the Prang company had a primaries version. I removed the tray and set my own pans in place -- this time, using pans with a magnet on the bottom to hold them in place easily. 

And here it is, filled with an earthy granulating palette for autumn. (Granulation without all that sandy grit furnished by the Gulf of Mexico!)

23 October 2017

a bit of church sketching

Just some random sketches and thoughts  . . .
Both days, I was using a Noodler's Creaper fountain pen. One is filled with a custom "sepia" mixed from leftover Noodler's Polar Black and Polar Brown inks. The other is a custom dark gray mixed from Noodler's Lexington Gray and a bit of leftover Polar Black.
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