23 July 2019

a wee Demi Palette

My purse-sized sketching kit just shrunk a bit more.

Maria Coryell-Martin at Expeditionary Art has just introduced a Demi Palette and, since my birthday was just a week ago, one just arrived in the mail! At half the size of regular Pocket Palettes, this wee palette fits just about anywhere! Add a mini waterbrush and a favorite fountain pen (another birthday gift, a Pilot Namiki Falcon, extra fine nib) to a pocket-sized sketchbook (my current one is a Stillman & Birn Delta softcover, 3.5 x 5.5”) — now all I need is more time to sketch!

22 July 2019

my new job as goatherd?

 We were coming to the new property today to do a bit of work and to meet with a potential carpenter to get bids on the barndominium. At the country intersection, there were 5 goats standing in a huddle, appearing to be sharing the daily gossip.

We carefully drove around them and on to our long drive. Next thing we know, the goats have followed our truck down the drive. They quickly came running to me in particular, expecting me to “fix it!” Not knowing for sure where they come from, I’m not sure how to help. (The funny thing is that when Bill tried to approach them, they ran away from him!)

 This billy goat in particular is very affectionate and appears to want me as his new BFF.

I opened the gate to the back pasture and filled a small water tank the former owners had left with fresh water. And they came running into the enclosure with expressions like “Finally! What took you so long?”

Before we leave, I’ll check with the nearby property owners who have goats to see if they are theirs. If so, these rascals went on a long square walk-about with several turns to end up here!

21 July 2019

a very red bag

I like to switch what bag I’m using on a regular basis. Maybe that’s because every Christmas, my grandma gave me some kind of new purse. Today I went from an oversized canvas bag that could hold my largest sketchbook (plus a bit of knitting) to this old red leather bag. It was sold as a bag to carry your Bible to church, found at The Celtic Ranch in our favorite Irish town of Weston, MO. But I like using it as a purse. Lots of art supplies and several sketchbooks can fit inside, each one easily accessible. It’s nice when stuff can just be grabbed without unzipping or opening a side pocket.

20 July 2019

my new normal?

Is it an urban sketch if it’s in the middle of the countryside? I’ve always been confused about that.

This morning, as our realtor showed our cabin to potential buyers, we took the kitties to our new place. (They are being anti-social and choosing to stay in the laundry room mostly). Before our daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter arrived for a pool party, I sat at the edge of the pool (with my feet dangling in the water) and drew the pump house and table set — the umbrella is broken but a replacement is on the way.

Later, all of us nibbled snacks and hit the pool. Kristen showed me several techniques she learned in water aerobics — both of us want to use the pool to get in better shape. But mostly we just hung out and enjoyed the peace and quiet and sunshine!

So far, we have seen purple martins, cardinals, wrens, the ever-present mockingbirds, possibly a crested cara cara (Mexican eagle),  hummingbirds, and tons of large butterflies. We are eager to get our bird feeders moved onsite to see just how many birds we can attract. I’ve heard there are plenty of deer and an occasional bobcat in the area.

Not as heavy with live oaks as we have north of Brenham, though there are some. Lots of other types of oaks and the very tall loblolly and yellow pines, plus many trees we haven’t yet identified.

18 July 2019

sampler memories

During the 33 years that I totally ignored art, after high school graduation and getting married, creativity kept breaking out in other ways. Sewing, knitting, decoupage, or cross stitch — I was always searching for the right mode of expression. Since coming back to sketching, I no longer feel the urge to try other things, though I still occasionally knit.

In 1983 we moved into what I always think of as our family home, the Tudor Revival style Craftsman bungalow depicted in the larger sampler piece above. It was actually the third house we bought, after 3 or 4 years of renting during and directly following Bill’s years in the Navy. I made these two sampler bits to fit into clear switch-plate covers in our family room, complete with each of our children’s initials. Jeff was not born until later — the large sampler’s date is the year we moved into this house but they were actually stitched in 1990.

I haven’t had much time for sketching lately as we box things up to move. I came across these while packing family photos and old albums. Some boxes are packed for long-term, not to be opened until the barn is converted into our new home. Others are simply boxed up to move to our daughter’s new house where we will live temporarily.

Now if I can only keep the two straight in my mind!

16 July 2019

Scottie’s new favorite hidey-hole

Scottie, one of our two Scottish Fold Straights, loves his cat carrier (as well as his favorite mouse toy — that bedraggled bit of white fuzz). I’ve left the carriers out in case interested parties wish to look at the cabin and we need to leave. We’re taking the cats with us rather than chance an unknown realtor letting them outside. Our own realtor is crazy-in-love with our two cats and would protect them.

Anyway, Scottie used to nap on the bed but now he prefers his carrier. 

former residents say goodbye

 Yesterday our daughter and son-in-law closed on our new property in the country, then we met at the house to get an idea of what needs done now that the sellers’ furnishings are gone.

I wandered over to the barn that will one day be my new home and was greeted by some of the former residents. In fact, this horse practically ran up to greet me at the fence! Her face was covered — probably to calm her for the upcoming travel.

She might have thought at first that I was someone else, but once she sniffed my hands, she decided to be friends. I wish I had a better photo of her, but she also wanted to play with my phone!

The sheep that remained also came up to me, now that their protective sheepdogs were gone. The owners had already moved half the flock to their new home west of hill country, and would be returning later in the day for these. Four Great Pyrenees usually live among the sheep for protection (area bobcats love mutton!), and the owners also have three border collies that work the sheep.

It began to thunder with a heavy downpour, so we all ducked under the barn and lean-to for shelter.

After loading the sheep and horse in their trailer, the owners looked for their two barn cats — only one could be found. After they left, we spotted the other one but she ran from us. Hopefully we will eventually catch her and return her to their daughter who lives in College Station.

15 July 2019

lawn sculptures

It seems many former HOA board members in our little lake community are choosing to sell and move away. Not surprising given what they know about the community well situation and the present board’s refusal to proactively plan for taking care of the problem.

Our friend Kim had TONS of garden stuff, so much that she left quite a lot of it with another neighbor after her house sold. Among the garden art, these 2 birds were my favorite. Last week she came after the last of it . . . and brought us lots of boxes to pack up our own stuff.

13 July 2019

antiquing . . . or not

We found ourselves with nothing scheduled Thursday, so we decided to head to nearby Round Top for a bit of antiquing. It’s become kind of a tradition when we are buying a new home.

On my birthday in 1983, we moved into “the parsonage” where we mostly raised our four kids, a 1913 Craftsman Tudor Revival bungalow. It had been our church’s parsonage before we bought it. After a busy day of toting boxes and furniture, we took a break and went to a local estate auction. There, we bought a beautiful set of 5 nesting bowls made of depression glass for our new home.

So we headed for Round Top where we have often found treasures. Once Bill found matching railroad lamps with their colored filters intact that he used for porch lights on his woodshop (and yes, we are taking them with us!). But this time, every single antique shop was closed — even those that said they were open! Perhaps the dealers make so much money during the 2 yearly antique sales events that they no longer need to open on a daily business? Or maybe they open only weekends now — we don’t like to battle the crowds for weekend shopping.

Anyway, the only shop open was the Junk Gypsies — and they are just silly frou-frou and not antiques at all. But their building was fun to sketch, especially the old cistern with a quote from J. R. R. Tolkien painted on its side: “Not All Who Wander Are Lost”.

We left Round Top and drove on to Giddings, where we had fun at an expanding antique shop. Bill bought an old milk can with tight-fitting lid to set outside our barndaminium. It will hold birdseed to refill bird feeders. I was looking for one of those old kitchen stools with fold-out steps for our new kitchen, but instead I chose a vintage enameled kitchen cart on wheels. Haven’t sketched either, as we left them in the back of the car ready to take to the new place in a few days.

12 July 2019

a new lake?

Yesterday we went for a drive — Farm Road 1948 is finally open again — and found a new lake where it isn’t supposed to be. Four out of the five years we’ve lived here, Lake Somerville has seen a springtime flood. And the local corps of engineers must hold the excess waters to prevent major flooding further south along the Brazos River.

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