28 February 2018

a new Bardie hidey-hole

On the peninsula separating our little kitchen from the main room, there are these odd cubbies near the front door. Too deep and narrow to be of much practical use, I found three narrow baskets at Hobby Lobby that fit — easy to toss my purse or sunglasses into.

Bardie just discovered the middle one when my purse was not put away. He seemed to think we could not see him as he spied on us. So I cleaned out the lowest one for his toys and blankie. I think he will still steal the middle one when my purse is not there.

23 February 2018

another neighborhood home

When we were looking to buy a house in Texas, this home just down the lane from our log cabin was one of those we considered buying. The price was very low and the existing garage would have made a great wood shop for Bill. I LOVED the stone fireplace!

But the roof needed replacing, the kitchen needed to be torn out and redone, the ugly linoleum floor needed to be removed and wood or stone floor installed, the bedroom wallpaper needed to be stripped off and painted, there was a moldy smell in the bathrooms and they needed to be redesigned . . .

All said, it was just too much to take on so we passed on it. I wonder if the new owner likes chocolate mint ice cream?

This limited palette is loosely based on one I found on artist Iain Stewart’s blog from a few years ago. I substituted colors I already had for some of his choices.

17 February 2018

like living in The Birds movie

Lately it has been sounding like we are living in Alfred Hitchcock’s scary movie, “The Birds”. All day long, they can be heard calling from the tree tops and filling up our neighborhood yards.

Last week, it was yards-full of black birds — and I’m talking total carpeting the grass with black! At one time, they were on three sides of our cabin at once.

For several weeks, we have had more than the usual number of very fat, very bright red cardinals (Love them!)

And the past few mornings, I’ve counted well over 30 robins congregating in our yard at one time.

By the way, that movie totally terrified me as a child. Imagine my surprise when I recently learned that the book was written by a favorite childhood author, Daphne Du Maurier!

16 February 2018

a quick breakfast sketch

Before getting started with chores and miscellaneous stuff I need to do today, I mixed up some Greek yoghurt, sweet dark cherries, and sliced almonds for breakfast . . . . and then I did a quick sketch with a Duke 209 bent nib (fude) fountain pen.

15 February 2018

tea, either hot or iced

During my recent viral / respiratory thingy, I found that I could not drink a full mug of hot tea. Even though I regularly enjoy several cups of hot brewed tea daily, usually loose leaf teas — which are impossible to find locally so I order online.

Even though I knew I needed to drink lots of fluids, my throat hurt too much to swallow hot liquids (even chicken soup, but I forced it). I tried the old standby from childhood tonsillitis of ginger ale poured over orange sherbet but after a day or two that didn’t taste good. In fact, nothing tasted ‘right’.

So, even though I detest sweeteners in my tea, I tried brewing a combination of peach tea, lemon ginger tea, and a bit of stevia or real sugar, then poured it over LOTS of ice. Perfect! It tasted great and the ice killed the pain.

I am completely well now but am still enjoying my iced tea concoction once in a while, though with this unusually cold weather I’m also back to enjoying several cups of good old hot tea again.

14 February 2018

beginning a new journal

As with all of my journals, I added my current palette to the first page of my new journal, a Stillman and Birn Beta softcover. The heavier Beta paper is my favorite of this brand’s excellent product line, with its brighter white cold press surface.The watercolors on the right-hand page are my up-dated choices, along with my favorite fountain pen, a Kaweco Liliput XF.

I read the quote from Cathy Johnson recently on her Facebook page and it stuck with me. Beware what you write on blogs and social media — it might find its way into some sketchbook artist’s journal!

The tube watercolors are squeezed into various sizes of metal pans borrowed from my Pocket Palette, from Expeditionary Art. Two business card sized magnets were attached to the bottom of this flat metal Daler Rowney palette box I once found at a Target store in the scrapbooking section. I can play around with the paint arrangement, and there is space at the bottom for both a travel squirrel mop brush and my Liliput pen.

But another arrangement I can switch to, especially if I find myself using toned papers, is to add a row of gouache along the upper edge. Just a basic triad plus white; I can mix just about any color from these, or mix them with the watercolors. I added the gouache colors to the upper left of the first page spread, after deciding to have this option.

I carry a waterbrush that can be used with the gouache, as I think the pigments might be hard on the squirrel or sable travel brushes I carry with me.

09 February 2018

Fude Friday; Frankenpen failure

Since today is “Fude Friday” among online sketchers, and my recently made Frankenpen was filled and ready to go, I decided to end this sketchbook journal with an Fude nib drawing of my next journal and tools.

But try as I might, the Frankenpen would NOT write! Full of ink, pen nib freshly flushed, and yet nothing I did could coax the ink to come out to draw or write. Plenty of ink came out when I dipped it in a bit of water, and again when I held it up to a paper towel. But nothing to write or draw . . .

So I had to grab a Sailor Fude de Mannen pen to finish the sketch. A bit more clumsy than the Hero fude nib, but at least it responds. I removed the Frankenpen from the pocket protector after finishing the drawing; I’ll stick to my wee Liliput fountain pen and perhaps a Lamy Safari instead!

07 February 2018

pull up a Chevy and sit a spell . . .

For last year’s bathroom remodel, we found a source of reclaimed antique barn wood in Brenham. Along with piles and piles of unused planks of reclaimed wood, the owner had a couple of warehouses full of interesting treasures, such as this couch he modeled from an antique Chevrolet pickup. Not having time to sketch it on the spot, I took a photo of it . . . and then forgot all about it. Until now.

03 February 2018

bills wait for no man

Actually, I am beginning to feel much better — I have decided that I will actually survive this stupid head & chest cold. Not that there was any doubt, but then I have never before felt like my face was screaming. This has been a very strange cold.

Still lacking in energy; yesterday I managed to reconcile charge receipts and pay some bills . . . and then I was done. The checkbook balancing can wait until tomorrow. Rather than go searching for something to draw, I just drew what was in front of me.

01 February 2018

my own Frankenpen, finally

Just about every good idea I’ve had regarding sketching tools has been learned from someone else. That’s one of the great things about the online sketching community. My dear friend Kate (aka Cathy Johnson) has been the source for so many wonderful ideas! This is an old one of hers — I’ve been meaning to copy her for years but never got around to doing so. Her blog entries describing the process are here, part one and part two.

We both had one of these Hero M-86 Chinese bent-nib calligraphy pens that were elegant to look at but very awkward to use due to the weight and odd round shape. (I always thought the rounded pen looks like a wee Chinaman.) Kate discovered that the nib fits perfectly in a Noodler’s Creaper, a much lighter streamlined pen. So she called this new combination her Frankenpen.

There’s not much to occupy my brain while I rest and wait for this wicked cold to run its course. So I started thinking about fountain pens . . . and decided it was time for my own Frankenpen.
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