Saturday, January 10, 2015

A stapler

Jan 9 - stapler 
In everything I know about any craft form, It's always practice makes perfect.  The hardest thing for me is to put my pen on the paper and start.

I've been following the blog of France Belleville-Van Stone - Wagonized and read her book, Sketch! a few times over now. One thing that stuck with me is that you don't need a lot of time, a few minutes here and there. Blocks of time so tiny that it's not worthwhile for me to pull my knitting out of my bag.

So, instead of eating at my desk and working through lunch, I still eat at my desk but use the time to draw what's in front of me. And according to France, if I draw the same thing over and over again, that's ok. If I don't finish the drawing in the time, that's ok too.  I've drawn a lot of staplers this week. They're still not great but at least the last drawing looks like a stapler.

Sunday, January 04, 2015 year, 52 weeks, 365 new possibilities.

365 new possibilities
I've never been a big fan of New Year's resolutions having broken many within the first week.  I do like looking back on the old year and reflect back and think about what I would like to do differently for the new year.  It feels like the past five years have been transition years for me. The latter part of 2014 has been more so with son finishing school and husband retiring. It feels like it's time to look at the next stage of my life.

Top 10 highlights and game changers for me:
  • Husband retired in September 2014.  His job was so hard on him physically.  He went back and forth on this but it was the best thing for him and us.  
  • Son finished university this December.  Convocation ceremonies will be in June 2015 but he's all done!
  • Son got a job right away in his chosen field with his first application!  The interview process was tough but he got the job just right before Christmas.  He starts in January.
  • Taking the Watercolour painting class. I was nervous about it but I'm glad I did it. It was a small class (3 of us) and we all became friends. Although the classes are over now, we will still get together to paint. 
  • A close coworker passed away end of January 2014.  She was 46.  She was was having stomach pains but she came in on the weekend to finish up something to meet a deadline.  She pretty much left the office, drove herself to the hospital and passed away a week later.  She had pre-existing medical issues that she neglected because she didn't have time.  That was a wake-up call for me.
  • Another coworker whom I've known for 27 years passed away two weeks before his 60th birthday.  He was going to retire and spend more time with his family.  
  • My boss telling me that although I'm a valued member of the team, the important ones are the ones who are flight risk.  On the bright side, at least he was honest about it. I don't feel bad about planning my early retirement. People leave because it's not worth it, not because the work is hard. 
  • I was told I'm pre-diabetic. It's not serious but it made me take a hard look at my habits and lifestyle.  
  • My crafts and hobbies are really important to me.  I stuck to my plan to create something everyday. 
  • I can draw!  After 50+ years of thinking I can't draw and one needs talent to do so, I learned that it comes with practice. I'm never going to be Michelangelo but I'm ok with that.  
Looking at a new year is like looking at a bag of raw fleece...think of the possibilities. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

January 2015 Desktop Calendar

2015 January desktop calendar
Black capped chickadees aka pig birds as they're affectionally called around my place. They can empty a feeder in no time flat. They're not shy birds and will chatter at you as you're trying to refill the feeders as fast as you can.  These guys winter here on the West Coast. I love watching them from our kitchen window.

What I've learned in watercolour class does translate to digital painting. I have yet to try this painting on paper but really liking the painting on Artrage. Despite the awful lags, it is still the best app for watercolour painting on the iPad.

Bird painted with Artrage, imported to Sketchclub to combine into desktop calendar.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Easy Quince Tart

Easy Quince Tart

When I came across a recipe called Easy Jam Tart, I can't help but wondered if it's easy for normal people or easy for me, the baking challenged.  I tested it out yesterday and it really is that easy. In fact, so easy and so tasty that I'm making this for Christmas. Quince jelly provided by my friend, Gloria. She regularly gives me a jar of this wonderful heavenly goodness and it is absolutely perfect for this tart. I have enough to make one more tart.


The pastry is a short crust pastry, more crumbly than flaky, and no rolling is needed. Super easy, everything goes in the stand mixer. Super yummy!

My variations:
Bake at 375 deg for 22 mins.
Save the egg white from the second egg to make a wash to brush over the top before sprinkling the Turbinado sugar.
Jam amount used - 1 1/3 cups.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Needlefelted Totoro

Every year, my sister hosts her Annual Christmas Breakfast. You have to bring an handmade ornament. This year's offering is a needlefelted Totoro, just under an inch and half tall with ears.  She loved it.  I used the little blue felted balls I made in the summer. 
Needlefelted Totoro

Thursday, November 20, 2014

2014 December Desktop calendars

2014 December Snowman desktop calendar

2014 December Blue Bird desktop calendar
I know I'm a bit early for December...I'm rushing the holiday season.  :)

I got in the Christmas mood early and started making calendars.  Right now, I have the snowman one on my desktop.  I wasn't happy with the November seems that Sketchclub had a bit of an issue with things saving as a low res JPEG instead of PNG so the quality was not there. Sketchclub is fixed now but I didn't want to re-do it so I went straight to December. 

Snowman desktop - done in Procreate.  Blue Bird desktop - done in Sketchclub. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rest in peace, Mike.

I was at a funeral service for a coworker who was also a good friend.  It was rather sudden, taken away by the big C.

How do you find words to convey loss without sounding trite?  I don't remember much of the service for my dad but I do remember how I was feeling.  I wondered if it will be the same for his family? People going up to them to say their condolences. I think, even if they don't remember the words, they will remember the support and that people cared.

The pain never goes away.  You think it does and you might forget about it once in a while.  But when you're sitting at someone's funeral and you're watching their family cry, it all comes back.  I don't remember anything people were saying to me but I do remember the very moment when it hit me that my dad is truly gone and never to return.  I remember thinking the next day how surprising it was that the sun came up and the skies were blue.  People were going on with their daily lives as if there was not a great loss in the world and I'm in pain.

Mike, you will be sorely missed.  Rest in peace.