Monday, May 27, 2019

When Life Gives You Lemons...

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
                                                                 - Julius Rosenwald
It's a good philosophy, I think... Although it is easier to say when you're not in the middle of facing some of life's lemons. 😀

This was a funny painting to work on.  It started with a tan-ish blue-ish background, an orange-ish brown-ish table, and some lemon yellow lemons.  I "finished" it and hoped that the painting fairies would come in the night and work their magic.  They did not.
... sigh...
Wipe off the wood color...
Soften the back edges...
Warm up the lemons with different yellows...
Try purple-ish...
Put some shadows...
Add the shine highlights...
... hmph... The painting fairies sometimes have a lousy work ethic, and you just have to dig in and do it yourself! 😀

Original Oil Painting on 11"x 14" Wrapped Canvas

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Quote Booklets, Words to Live By

I've been a collector of quotes for a long time.  
An adage I've heard all my life...
   a sentence out of a novel... 
        a line from a movie... 
             a verse from the Bible...
                   a thought from a children's book...
                         a chorus from a song...
Words from a president, a coach, an author, an actor, a scientist, a CEO...

Whenever I came across a good one, I'd write it down in a little hand-made booklet that I had. It couldn't be just any old quote, it had to be one that I loved. 
Then a few years ago, I made a little booklet with 52 of my favorite quotes with 52 of my favorite images.  It was a great little gift for friends, family,  and co-workers.
Recently I realized that I'd collected plenty more favorite quotes and I'd painted plenty more pictures, so I made a new one.

I called this one "... A Thousand Words." Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words and sometimes just a few words are enough.

It makes me smile to see my favorite paintings and my favorite words together.

If you'd like one (or more), click "... A Thousand Words" or "It Is Well..." where they're available in my Etsy shop. 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

New Chickies!!!

Dominique and her five sweet little fluffies!
Oops... I've done it again...
We set a limit of 7 chickens.  
We decided that was a good number.  4 could sleep in the Sister House, 3 could sleep in the Cousin House, and no one would be the least bit crowded.
Here are our 6 hens.
Dolly, Dominique, Sylvia, Red Red, Fancy, Other Red


Sweet Monique who was just a little chickie last spring got broody a few weeks ago.  She sat so patiently in the dark nesting box day after day after day.  I'd try scooting her out, but she wasn't having it.  She wanted to be a mama and was determined to keep the eggs warm.  (One of those eggs is the fake one that reminds hens where to lay, and the others are those the other hens would lay each day.  We don't have a rooster, so none of them would ever become chickens.)  
Finally I got 4 eggs from a friend who does have a rooster.  Dominique was happy to sit on those 4 for 21 more days.  And, she did.  What a patient girl. But, alas, all of them were duds.  Zero babies.
I went to my friend Google and discovered that there might be a way.
First I called our farmers' coop and asked if they had chicks. They said they'd have them on next Friday from 10:00-12:00. O... K... That's pretty specific and too late.
Next I called a farm supply store.  They had plenty, so I happily headed there to buy 2 (probably 3) for this experiment.
Fun fact*** Apparently there's a law that says that chicks can only be purchased in groups of 6 or more. What?  Wait... I only need a couple.  Sorry, we'll get fined if we sell less.  
Well, what do you suppose I did? I couldn't break the law, could I?  
Yeah, I bought 6.  
I would just explain that there was a law, so Ron would be completely fine with us going.... juuuust a little over our limit of 7.  😉
I made a home for these tiny little fluffs in a box for the afternoon.  At about 10:00 pm, after it was completely dark, we went out to the coop and slipped them one at a time under Dominique.  She couldn't see us, but she just purred in her mama chicken way and tucked each one farther under her.
It worked!
The next morning they were a happy, happy little family!
Sadly, one didn't make it, but there are 5 happy babies just busily learning all the important chicken lessons from their mama.
2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 California Whites, 1 Bantum
This little Bantum is about the size of a cotton ball!
I think we'll call her Thumbelina.
This funny one with the black spot prefers to ride on mama.
What shall I name her?
When Red Red came to inspect the new chicks,
Dominique puffed up and had a fit!
So much to learn!

In case you think this can't be a real law... Yes... It is.

2012 Arkansas CodeTitle 5 - Criminal OffensesSubtitle 6 - Offenses Against Public Health, Safety, Or WelfareChapter 62 - AnimalsSubchapter 1 - -- General Provisions§ 5-62-121 - Transfer of certain chicks, ducklings, or rabbits.Universal Citation: AR Code § 5-62-121 (2012)
(a) It is unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to sell or offer for sale, barter, or give away living baby chicks, rabbits, or ducklings under two (2) months of age in any quantity less than six (6).(b) It is unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to sell, offer for sale, barter, give away, or display living baby chicks, rabbits, or ducklings that have been dyed, colored, or otherwise treated so as to impart to them an artificial color.(d) Any person, firm, or corporation violating any provision of this section upon conviction is deemed guilty of a Class C misdemeanor.
Class C misdemeanors are the least serious misdemeanors in Arkansas, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. (Ark. ... Public intoxication is a Class C misdemeanor.
Here's an explanation as to why this law exists.
A Poultry Breeder's PerspectiveJim Hall, Drew County 4H Poultry Club Leader Poultry are a flock bird.  Within a flock there is comfort companionship and contentment for each member of the flock.  With baby chicks, ducklings, poults, etc. they have a natural instinct to flock together.  Many times a single chick will die of loneliness.  With Easter a few days away, many will want to purchase a baby chick for the children.  What will you do when the chick is grown?  Many breeds of poultry live very long lives.  A chicken can live to more tan 13 years... With any pet, one must contemplate the full cost and long term obligations of the pet.  With poultry one must consider housing and maintenance for the long term...

Friday, May 17, 2019

Harper, a Black & White Kitty

My blog friend, Sandra, asked me to paint Harper (named for the author of To Kill a Mockingbird) as a birthday present for her daughter.  Actually I'd painted Harper before. Look very closely at the painting "Harmony"... at the base of the third tree... Surprise!  There she is!! 
Not only do I like to tell the story behind my paintings, I want to know their stories while I'm painting them!
Sandra told me this:
"Harper and Dayna bonded immediately in a playroom in the Windsor Humane Society. Dayna needed a feline friend: she’d recently lost her previous rescue to feline leukaemia, and she was in college far away from her family. This fluffy, gentle, black and white ‘skunk’ brought a calm presence to Dayna’s home. Harper is her heart, her daemon."
Knowing this kitty's story makes me love her even more.  
Well, that and the fact that I think she may be a long lost relative of my Pounce!

Original Oil Painting on 11"x 14" Wrapped Canvas

Monday, May 6, 2019


Cricket is such a sweetie!
She was the baby of the family...

 ... until... she wasn't...

Original Oil Painting on 10"x 10" Wrapped Canvas

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Sunbonnet Sue & Overall Sam

I know I should have cropped the picture a little closer, but how about a little credit for my quilt holder / painting holder / whatever project holder.  You never see him in the pictures of my paintings, but he's usually behind them... literally. 😉

Surprise!! I made a quilt.  No... I am not a quilter, but I did make a quilt. I saw the description of a six-week class that promised completing a project. Since I'm still trying to figure out exactly who I am as a retired person, thought I'd give that a try. 

Both of my grandmothers made quilts, and I loved the stories behind them... who wore the dress that this scrap came from... what shirt  got ripped so it got cut up and used for this square... who helped stitch this one together...
I see quilts on other blogs that are simply works of art, the way they put colors,values, and geometric shapes together to create their stories. Fascinating.
My imagination was flipping through intricate quilt patterns of small pieces of fabric sewn in perfect alignment.  My common sense was reminding me that I was pretty close to a beginner.                          I chose to do an applique pattern of Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Sam because it reminded me of a quilt my mother had that she called her Dutch doll quilt.
There were a lot of fond memories that came to the surface as I chose fabric scraps to use.  The navy background was from the my son's first set of big-boy sheets. The top Sue's dress came from scraps of Raggedy Ann dresses I made for my daughter and me 25 years ago.  The bottom Sue's dress came from the Raggedy that I made 30 years ago and eventually used for a painting 6 years ago.  The white backgrounds are from a sheet that came from my mother's linen closet and had "Powell" written in black magic marker across the edge; probably one of my brothers took it to camp or college 40 years ago. The middle Sam is wearing a hat and shoes from one of Ron's work shirts that got a rip in it.   The pockets of a pair of Ron's former dress pants became the shirt of that Sam.  The top Sam is wearing overalls that were once a pair of his shorts. And on and on... All of the other pieces came from the fabric scraps I inherited when I cleaned our my mother's stash.  She'd never throw a perfectly good piece of fabric away.  You just never knew when it might be the exact thing you'd need. 

Each lady in my class had a story... "Already gave mine to my grandson..." "From the blocks my grandmother made..."  "For my granddaughter..."  Precious, precious, precious!  What a pleasure to meet, get to know, and work alongside these ladies.
I said above that I had made a quilt but that I was not a quilter.  Many of these ladies were quilters. They knew the quilting lingo... had the tools... knew the tricks... and... Oh, my goodness!  They could sew straight lines that perfectly intersected other straight lines.  They were quilters.

That could be the end of this quilt's story, but oh, no. That was the history part.  Now about the process... sigh... It has a happy ending... but like every good story, there's a twist.
The process started like it should. I chose my pattern and learned about how to use a product called Wonder-Under to keep the pieces from fraying. I gathered my fabrics, selected those that I thought would go together, cut, ironed on the Wonder-Under, and tried to attach the dolls to the background.  Hmmm... I thought it was supposed to stick. It didn't.  I gave up and tried to use some Stitch Witchery. Ugh. That didn't work too well on the paper backing.  Well, old fashioned pins were okay, but it was hard with the paper.  Anyway... it worked. Next came putting the blocks together then adding the batting and backing. I used a tight zigzag around every little papery-feeling piece (Let me just give huge respect to quilters who manage to sew on those huge projects!  OMG! I'm glad mine wasn't any bigger!) 
When I headed back to the next class I was ready to do some stitching in the ditch on all the seams (Do not enlarge my photo and look closely.  I more or less did stitch in the ditch, beside the ditch, close to the ditch, make the corners look like they meet stitching.)  As I was happily sewing at the machines with my quilter friends... the mood changed...
ME: I know y'all like it, but I am not a fan of the Wonder Under.
FRIEND 1: Why?
ME: I hate how it makes it feel all papery and crunchy."
FRIEND 2: What do you mean?
FRIEND 1: Didn't you take the backing off?
FRIEND 2: You know, to make it stick?
ME: What? Mine didn't stick?
FRIEND 1: You have to peel off the back.
FRIEND 2: I wondered what that crinkly sound was.
ME: What are you talking about? I had to use pins to keep it on.
FRIEND 1: Let me show you on a little piece how it works.
FRIEND 2: Can we help you rip the whole thing out?
ME: ... wanting to put the quilt over my head and cry right then and there but am determined to learn how to do the binding and leave as fast as I can before I break down and sob in front of everyone.
Filled with disappointment, I listened to an audio book and did the last part of the binding by hand. 
My quilt was finished.  It was cute. But I wasn't really proud of it because I felt so stupid for doing it wrong.
I spent some time holding my new little grandson.  He had this little toy that crinkled and jingled and rattled depending on where you held onto it. Hmmmmm...
I ordered some "dog toy replacements" that came Amazon Prime delivered the next day. I had some blue scraps in the stash that hadn't been used yet.  I had plenty of the backing left.  And, now I knew (sort of) what I was doing.  One more Sunbonnet Sue and one more Overall Sam.  She has squeakers sewn inside her bonnet and dress.  He has rattlers sewn inside his hat and overalls.  

The blanket crinkles, one pillow squeaks, the other pillow rattles.
One might even think I planned it that way!
I'm proud of it.