Monday, July 24, 2017

It's Been Awhile!

I can't believe it's been over a year since I wrote a blog post! In fact it's been long enough that I sort of forgot how to use blogger. Rather than try to catch up on all the things I've missed, I'll just jump right in to where things are today.

It's HOT! and apparently hotter than our air conditioning unit was prepared to handle, so it gave up the ghost a week or so ago.  It was a hot couple of days, but we were able to get a temporary unit installed and we are cool enough for now.  We are getting a whole new system installed August 3-4, and meanwhile we have been filling out forms and scheduling estimates and an energy audit to qualify for energy rebates.  The new system will certainly be an upgrade from the builder's model, with 66 stages of energy use (WHY??), a programmable WiFi thermostat, and special booster registers that will force the air down from the vaulted ceilings in the hall, living room, kitchen and master. They will expand the size of our current return air vents and the new filter change will be done once a year (YAY!) and at the unit itself up in the attic, as opposed to having to climb to the top of a ladder, balance on toes and change the filter in the house. The duct work in the attic is actually separated in a few places, pouring our "bought air" right into the attic.  No wonder the unit decided it was working too hard!  So, they will repair all that, seal up the duct work and then eventually we will get new insulation.

This weekend Ornery discovered that the automatic sprinkler system had sprung a leak, and it's beyond his skill set as a plumber.  So we have someone coming to look at and fix that today or tomorrow as well.  I balked at using the system, and it has been a rather pesky ongoing expense with repairs and such, but the yard looks fantastic this year, so I suppose it is worth it, especially since I am no longer physically able to get out there to water by hand.



As for what I have been doing, this weekend I finished a painting I started around the first of June.  It has had many incarnations over the almost-two-month period, but I finally decided I liked this one enough to move on to another project.  It's 18 x 24" on canvas board.


I also got a new computer, hence the renewed interest in blogging.  My old laptop still had Vista OS on it, and most firms are no longer providing updates, so not only was it slow, prone to overheating and unable to update, it was becoming a security issue as well.  So, here is the shiny new hp on its first day out of the box.

It took me quite awhile to figure it all out, and longer to get it all set up.  Good grief!  Someone on my Instagram post commented about what a time suck new technology is, and they were right!  However, I am delighted with it, and hope for another long stint of writing before this one is outdated!  Technology, and Google in particular, has sure made things easier to access, for better or worse.  I was able to download the photos in this post from my phone!  It may have been like that for some time, but as I mentioned above, it has been over a year since I wrote a blog post...

I am still writing letters to several pen pals, all of them in the US these days, and post most of my artwork on my Instagram account (which is probably why I haven't felt the need to write blog posts).  I am also active on Swap-Bot, but not as much as I was four years ago when I first started. I am also in a small group of artists on Instagram that does frequent group swaps, the latest being pages for a junk/mail-art journal and a tag book that goes around to each person in the group to have an altered tag added.  Here are a couple that I made for other people's booklets.



A couple of weeks ago, Ornery moved the sauna out of our room into the guest room.  I don't think I have posted pictures of that room since we repainted and built the bed. The bed has a second mattress under the frame which saves space but still allows two guests to share the room. (Art on the floor is by Elizabeth when she was in high school, art above the bed is mine. :)


I also reworked the artwork on the walls in my studio to display a number of ATC's (Artist Trading Cards) and other art people have sent to me in swaps.  There are a few of my own pieces in the mix as well.  I really like how it turned out, and it inspires me to look at all the beautiful artwork on display.


Another thing I have been up to is sewing, something Ornery thought I would never do again!  Ha! Gotta keep the man guessing, I say!  Anyway, this is a little envelope bag I made from scraps leftover from the Christmas stockings I made last year.  The inside is lined with part of an old pair of Elizabeth's jeans.

I added a little pocket inside the flap. 

This is the back side

This is the front.  I added the crocheted flowers, buttons and bow to dress it up. 

I also made a LOT of doll clothes for my granddaughter, Makayla.  Here is a photo of the last dress I made, which matches a skirt for Makayla from the same fabric.


A couple more fun doll dresses and a skirt for Makayla to match.



While I was in the sewing mode, I also made a new window treatment for my studio window.


So, that is what is happening in my life right now.  I hope to get back to working on my memoir and a novel I started back in 2009, and I have a few craft projects in mind as well.  Despite being homebound and mostly immobile, I feel like my life is pretty full, and I am grateful for all the things I am still able to do.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Upgrading the Walls

We have the newly painted canvases hung in the kitchen.  The first photo shows a few things in front of them, but I still would like to add more to the orange, and contrasting pieces in front of the other three as well.  I am pleased with the overall effect.  It's always nice when a vision comes to fruition!

You can barely see the edge of one arm of the mobile in the photo below, but the colors are very close to those that are on the canvases, and from the dining room looking into the kitchen, it is a very colorful fun look.

Here is the finished 'hood in the dining room.  I am so in love with this little grouping!  I had Ornery cut a few more wooden shapes for me, and I hope to eventually fill more of the wall with additions. It makes me smile every time I look at it.


And, since we painted the guest room and there is absolutely NOTHING to break up the very lilac color on the walls,


I decided to make a foray into painting flowers. Here is my first one, it is on a 12x20 canvas done in acrylic.
The accent colors in the room are to be limey green and icy blue. The guest bed will be a trundle type affair built by none other than Ornery himself.  We designed it, purchased two XL Twin mattresses and now we just have to build it.  Stay tuned for updates. :)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

More decorating

A few little artsy projects going on around here.

This mobile was in my other house when the walls were orange, and it had different colors and designs on the little flags. But after looking at it for almost five years here, I decided to give it a facelift.  I used alcohol ink on yupo paper, and glued the shapes into the old ones. Then I painted the arms copper and we moved it from out in the open area at the end of the hall where no one saw it, to this spot above the half wall between the kitchen and dining room.

You can see the walls are still beige in the kitchen, and there is a lot showing above the cabinets. So I decided to paint some canvases with similar colors found in the mobile.



I only have three finished so far, but I'm hoping to get them done and hung by the end if the weekend. Eventually we plan to paint the cabinets to match the off-white trim and doors, but in the between time, this should add some visual interest.  They are meant to be backgrounds for assorted glass and copper treasures as I find them.

Meanwhile, I've made all these little houses, a d reworked an old canvas and now these are on the dining room wall above the puzzle case Ornery built for me a few years ago.


The blank space to the left if the canvas is for another project in the works, that will showcase my collection of house themed Artist Trading Cards. There are a few other houses that I need to think about for awhile longer to decide on how to hang them. But I am delighted with the 'hood as it is so far.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

We've gone to the birds!

I've been busy in the studio lately, and the last couple of weeks have been bird related.
A couple of graduation cards...

And a series of five 6" x 6" canvases featuring Jodi Ohl style birds. 



Today I made one more six by six for a friend, then I will be starting on the 24" square canvases for my kitchen.I dont have a clue what I am doing, but I'm having lots of fun!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Exciting Propositions

I am discovering that the more upbeat and positive my attitude becomes the more opportunities, ideas and options are available to me. Last Friday I received a call from Dr. Richards of Impact Ministries with my first assignment of editing. I had heard from his office a few weeks ago asking if I would be interested in working again on transcribing/editing/ghostwriting his old sermon series to prepare them for eBooks. I had done work similarly (sans ghostwriting) about five years ago on a volunteer basis. I am going to be paid for it this time around, and the work is a bit more extensive and will be more challenging.

He gave me some wonderful compliments that really boosted my self-esteem.

Yesterday I sent off a number of card fronts for printing to see if I can sell them in my Etsy shop. I figure even if I don't sell them, it will be fun to give them as gifts and write pen-pal letters in them.  The cards I used to make all had purchased papers and embellishments on them, so I couldn't say fully they were MY art  work, but these are fresh from my colorful mind, and all my own creations. Here are a couple of photos of  designs...


Others are on my phone, so I don't have access right now to the photos, but they are certainly new and different from my old style of cutting up scrapbook paper and adding flowers and a strip of ribbon! :)

Since I haven't been blogging, most of my art is not here, but I do frequently post on Instagram, (link on sidebar) if you would like to take a peek.

In other news, our next door neighbors appear to have finally gotten rid of the barking dogs.  A couple of weeks ago there was much hammering and yelling, and the next thing we knew, there were lots of construction vehicles and people coming and going.  They ripped out every single bit of the overgrown, weedy landscaping in the front and back, and all the garbage they had in the back yard, then piled it all in a heap in the front yard. Nice.

They got a new roof and have spent the last two weeks working on finishing out the covered patio they had poured a few months ago. The patio fills up at least 1/2 of the back yard, and the area that is left is apparently going to be a water feature of some sort according to Ornery who peeked over the fence to see what all the hoopla was about. Since they are investing so much time, money and energy on upgrading the place I am going to assume the dogs being gone is a permanent thing. Thank you Lord!!

Yesterday when he was home from lunch, one of the workers chased Ornery down and asked for the name of the paint color on our house as they intend to paint the same color. Once that is done, I am ever so hopeful that they will put in some nice landscaping.  Since we have lived here it has been a trashy mess, so even just the removal of the old is somewhat of an improvement.

Meanwhile, since we were unaware that the dogs were going away, we ordered new thermal windows for the whole house.  They should be delivered and installed somewhere around the first of May.  In addition to making the place much quieter (the house on the other side still has two little full-time-yappers!) the windows should help with the climate inside, especially on mild days when I can open ALL the windows if I want.  Even the picture window on the front and our frosted bathroom window over the tub are being replaced with double hung windows with full screens to be able to create a nice cross draft. This was one feature I have really missed since moving into this house as our other house had those windows and they were so nice and easy to clean. Because I am such a window washer.... not. :-D

Oh, and my flower beds are blooming amazing!!! Wanna see?

This is just off the back patio.  There are forget-me-nots on the lawn side of the box, which migrated from the patio side where they came up last year, they are next to the Columbine-on-steriods--the biggest one I have ever seen--and the dianthus.  At the far end of the bed (out of the photo) is another columbine that has variegated leaves and it is just now blooming as well, but not like the big guy!

This is the south end of the front bed Ornery built a couple of summers ago. It has filled in so nicely! It's a little weedy in the photo, so ignore that, but these give you some ideas of how it looks.


This is the north end of  the bed. LOVE those creeping phlox!! There are two peonies coming up that you can't really see in the pictures, and the stick bushes are crape myrtles that bloom all summer. In fact, the bed is pretty colorful from the end of February through October or the first hard freeze. It has always been a dream of mine to have a bed like that, with those creepers coming over the wall to greet passersby.

Well, I think there are other things happening, but that's probably enough excitement for one post. Hey, look at that, two posts in a week! :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Hello.

I knew it had been awhile since I wrote here on my blog, but I hadn't realized it was soooo long! It has been such a challenging year, and since I try to stay positive in what I write, I just haven't written! But I feel a shift happening, and I'd like to document it, perhaps as a benchmark, perhaps as an explanation for my absence, or maybe because Ornery said I should.

I began walking with a cane last spring, at first it was just when I went out, then gradually it became more and more necessary and now it feels as though it is an extension of myself. I saw a new chiropractor for about 8 months who did help me some, but gradually ceased to be effective for alleviating the pain, and became just another financial burden, so I stopped going there.  I am pretty determined not to go the western medicine route, so I have not gone to get a diagnosis for my condition, but a brief tour of the internet suggests that the symptoms of fibromyalgia are what I am experiencing--except for the brain fog.

Needless to say, dealing with continual pain is demoralizing and I fell back into a sort of depression like I had been before.  I haven't lost weight, despite a variety of efforts, and it is really hard to exercise when just walking is such a painful proposition. So I had really begun to feel as though my body had turned against me, and therefore spent a great deal of time thinking and verbalizing criticism toward it.

The new chiropractor I was seeing uses a therapy called NET for Neuro-Emotional Technique.  He cleared several pathways, a remarkable number of which related to experiences at college. He used muscle testing in a much different method than my previous chiropractor, Dr. Gomez, had and it was so intuitive and easy that Ornery and I have been using it at home to test various things on each other. I doubt it is fool-proof and 100% accurate, but it seems to be working okay when we stop to actually do it!  Unlike Dr. G, the new doctor focused exclusively on the emotions and physiology and never did prescribe any supplements, which I probably could have used but was glad to take a break from.

I began taking Tru-Vision products and thought they might be able to help me lose some weight, but it was not to be, and even though I took them for almost a year, I never lost more than a couple of pounds.  I decided to just take the blood chemistry product and not the energy and appetite suppressant for awhile, and felt a little better, but still no change on the scales. I felt like I was waging a war on my body, and neither of us were winning!

Then around the end of January I decided to search online for videos on using EFT for pain management, because my hips had become so incredibly painful and Ibuprofen just wasn't doing much good.  I was amazed at how effective many people found the process, and decided to search a little more.  I discovered I was just in time to attend the online event, 2016 EFT World Wide Summit, hosted by Jessica and Nick Ortner. It is a ten day online event with experts in the field from all over, and one thing led to another to another, and I purchased several programs and past summits to work through.

I have learned SO MUCH, and can feel a shift occurring in my body and even more in my soul.  I watched an interview with Lissa Rankin, MD and immediately ordered her book, Mind Over Medicine.  I read the whole thing, attended all the sessions of the summit, have listened to almost all the sessions from the Tapping for Pain summit, and just finished a 7 week program for weight loss and body confidence.

I tap from one to six or seven times a day, and am much more aware of the moments my body shifts into stress-mode.  When I feel frustrated, sad, lonely, or any other negative emotion as soon as I become aware of it, I stop what I am doing and tap. The results? I am happier, more peaceful and centered, more aware of what my body is trying to tell me, and am beginning to slowly see results in the level of pain and my food choices. I didn't enter this phase in a good place emotionally, physically or spiritually.  But today I feel closer to God, more in love with my self (which leads to better self-care and kindness to others) and am a bit more mobile and less pain-ridden.

I am learning how to talk to myself, and how to share my journey with others so it doesn't sound like I am complaining but expresses how blessed I am.  I am more grounded in reality, not expecting this Utopian result of a perfect, fit body and all the joy that will accompany it.  Instead I am finding the joy NOW and if the other stuff falls in line, then that's great, but I don't have to await the arrival of circumstances to change my attitude toward things.

"In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thessalonians 5:18

This has become my touchstone.  Instead of whining because it hurts to get up, I thank God I am still able to arise and maneuver on my own two feet.  Instead of criticizing my body when I look in the mirror, I tell myself how wonderfully made I am and how blessed I have always been with good health.  The little shifts seem too small to make much of a difference, but they really have! I don't know just how it will all shake down, if I will ever find that one deep-seated emotion that is holding me back from complete healing or if there even is such a thing.  Perhaps my body needs to just have a long period of self-care after years of denying it. I'll try to post along the way, but meanwhile, this is an update of one area of change in my life.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Odds and Ends and Expenses, Oh, MY!!

I don't really have a lot to say today, but it has been an age since I posted, so I figured I'd share a little glimpse into the foggy windows of my life...

  • Saturday (last post) we dropped Big Red off at the Toyota dealer for some torture. The check engine light had come on, and since Ornery was supposed to go out of town Sunday, we had Elizabeth meet us at the dealer after our last training session. The service technician said he thought it might be something that was covered under warranty. Then she dropped him off at work to pick up the rental car he was taking to Clovis, NM. 
  • Sunday morning, bright and early, Ornery left for Clovis. There is no cell phone service there with our carrier, so we talked via the computer or his land line room phone. He worked 17-18 hour days, then drove home on Thursday. 
  • Tuesday we found out the pickup was going to cost $1700. to repair. The main issue was indeed covered by an extended warranty (although the 2007 truck only has 45,000 miles on it) but the other issues were not. Since it is our only vehicle and we intend to keep it a long time, we went ahead and had it repaired.
  • Wednesday afternoon the vehicle was finished, and they drove it home for us and parked it in the garage, so it was here ready and waiting for Ornery when he got home Thursday night! :) 
  • Friday, July 3 was a holiday, so Elizabeth took him over to work to return the car, and his mom came over to work a puzzle with me. We enjoyed the long weekend.  Elizabeth and Michael went to Toys R Us and bought a few toys for our house,  because we just plain didn't have anything for our grandkids to play with!  I'm not sure I would have gotten the Lego Technic set Elizabeth selected, but Ornery and I spent an enjoyable Saturday morning building the three pieces. :)  It was the first time I had ever built one, as Ryan had never wanted my help when he got them as a kid. Before we knew it, Monday had rolled around again.
  • Monday morning a man came to clean our dryer vent. It is not a good design, and feeds through the wall behind the dryer, up into the attic and out the roof. He took the pipe apart inside the attic, and located the problem--a bird had built a 12" deep nest in the top of the pipe, which impeded airflow considerably. The birds ended up in the garage for a few hours, cheeping and carrying on like they had been sorely abused. We were able to get them out eventually.
  • Tuesday morning, a man came and fixed our sprinkler system--it had frozen over the winter and we were just now finally getting around to having it fixed. THAT was an expensive mistake!  Ornery had plugged in the heat tape, but either it was just too cold for it or the GCFI receptacle was bad and we didn't know it. 
  • Monday night we had a call from the company that is training us in Real Estate, and that took pretty much all evening from 4:00 to 9:00.  We signed up for more training... It's all good, and I think this will be the best part as it is one-on-one mentoring.
  • The week flew by, although I can't really tell you what we did.  Friday night, however, we hosted our kids and grandkids for burgers and dogs.  It was a delightful time. Micah really enjoyed the Lego set, and Makayla was quite taken with the horses and play food. 
  • Ornery went to work a bit on Saturday, mowed the lawn, and did some online training. I did a bit of art, read some books, and lounged around.  My hip has been really aggravated lately for some reason, and it just wasn't appealing to be out and about.
  • And here we are back in a new week. We just had our first mentoring call and did part of our first assignments. Ornery is assembling my new desk chair. 
  • I signed up for a pocket letter group and several Swap Bot swaps and am looking forward to spending a bit more time in my art room this week.  
That's about it. When I condense it down to a short paragraph, it seems like a pretty shallow existence...