|Posted on 5 February, 2018 at 11:20||comments (0)|
Okay, so we had the annual prediction from the resident groundhog, known as Wiarton Willie. He saw his shadow so there will be another six weeks of winter. I'm not sure how this actually works, there's either another six weeks until Spring, or another six weeks of winter. Hmmm. Whatever your beliefs may be, it's inevitable that we are going to have to go through at least another six weeks of wintery blasts so the only thing to do is to grit your teeth and get through it the best way you can. At least it's a short month, and really that's the only kind thing I can say about February. Not a fan. It's the Monday of the months. First of all, it's pretty colourless, especially in the city, with the endless piles of black gritty snow, the leafless trees and bushes, the mucky brown salt-stained cars. There's the ever-present threat of potentially very nasty weather still looming over us. Then. There's. St Valentine's Day. A day which strikes fear and dread in most floral designer's hearts. It's the single most busy day for us. It's all about the roses. The big heavy boxes arriving from the Columbian and Ecuadorian farms full of roses which need to be unpacked, cut, processed, stored, then cleaned, boxed, wrapped, arranged and delivered. Men also figure largely in this mix. Men who are often quite afraid to go home without clutching tightly a bunch of roses, or have had the foresight to arrange a delivery to their loved ones' place of employ. Oftentimes huge displays are purchased, complete with chocolates and Teddy Bears for that "wow" factor. So, for the next two weeks, I shall be busy at my other job, working with flowers (roses) and making people and their lovers happy. There is, however a light in February, a saving grace for me and that is My Holiday. A cleverly arranged short escape to sunnier climes, conveniently happening at the end of Valentine's Week. This will help me cope with Valentine's Day. I'm dreaming of sun (hope so) and warmth (come on it must be warmer than here) and freedom. Freedom from everyday thoughts. I will not think about numb fingers, shoveling snow, or starting my car twenty minutes before I am leaving, or the commute to work. I will not think about scraping the ice off of my windows, or wearing boots, gloves and a ten-ton coat. I won't think about the shivery sessions at the fuel pumps or worry that I'll run out of windshield washer fluid. I'm not going to think about what to make for dinner, or what I need from the grocery store. I'm going to breathe. I'm going to watch the sun rise over the ocean. I shall walk on the beach in the early morning, and gather shells, take photographs (to paint later!) and take delight in seeing green plants and flowers outside, and hear the beautiful song of birds. I'm going to eat ice cream. I will recharge and then when I come back I'll look forward to Spring.
See you in March. Many blessings.
|Posted on 30 January, 2018 at 21:30||comments (0)|
Last weekend I was able to finish my little postcard entry for this year's Twitter Art Exhibit which takes place in Canberra, Australia this Spring. I chose to paint apples this year as I think they're a subject that has wide appeal. I picked Granny Smith apples to be precise, as they're so fresh and tart and of course are my favourite shade of green. This is always such an exciting event for me, as I'm sure it is for all of the participating artists from all corners of our Earth. It's such a thrill to be a part of it all, to contribute in such a far-reaching event. This year's charity chosen is Pegasus Riding Academy, an organisation which is a riding school for the disabled. I posted my entry on Sunday and now I am eager to find out that it has arrived safely at it's destination in Canberra. The Twitter Art organisation is an impressive one. This is my third year and I've been so blown away by the individual response each entry receives, every one of them posted on each of the Twitter Art social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram (not just Twitter!) with the artists names, with a wonderful thank you and personal comment. It's mind boggling the commitment and hard work that goes into this, and that's not even considering the actual exhibition and sales.
This is my 2018 Twitter Art submission, simply titled 'Green Apples' It is my hope my tiny contribution will help with the wonderful work that Pegasus is doing in Australia. Hats off to everyone involved.
Have a blessed week, and if you get the chance tonight, or tomorrow, have a look at the beautiful supermoon!!!
|Posted on 22 January, 2018 at 11:15||comments (0)|
That's a title of an old song....but I have to say I don't agree with the next line which is "Always get me down". Today I'm working at home so Monday is just fine with me, and it's raining in January in Southern Ontario which is even more fine with me as it could very easily be snow or worse yet, freezing rain. There was a possibility of the latter actually but dear Mother Nature has once again been very kind and decided to let it be rain. Thank you Mother, freezing rain is not a laughing matter.
I'm working on my Twitter Art entry today, which I started last week. It's in Canberra this year and supporting a riding academy for the disabled. What a wonderful cause, and I'm proud to be a part of this once again. I've decided to paint some granny smith apples. One of my favourite varieties, so refreshing. And of course they happen to be that fantastic shade of green which I love.
Mondays aren't always so pleasant as today however, last Monday was a roughish one in my little household. My male cat Nibs somehow managed to hurt one of his hind legs and appeared to be in considerable pain. He'd been fine until he jumped off the sofa that evening and it's my belief that he must have twisted or strained something. However he was limping and eventually not even putting weight on it so off we went to the Emergency Clinic here in the city. Thank goodness we have that. Of course there'd been a nasty bout of wintery weather and the snow was thick and unploughed on most roads. It was a treacherous trip with the added stress of poor Nibs being very upset at being first of all, crammed into the cat carrier and then put into a vehicle. He's a big fellow and was squashed and very afraid. He serenaded us with some very piteous meows and howls accompanied by rapid and alarming panting. Once at the clinic, the noise subsided and we settled in for the wait. He was very good as the vet examined his leg and didn't really react with much pain until a final hiss which I'm not sure was the result of the exam or just the last straw for the poor boy. It was suggested that he undergo x-rays to determine whether there was a fracture. By this time it was getting past midnight. The good news was there's no fracture, and perhaps it was what was called a "soft tissue injury" and rest along with some pain medication and an anti-inflammatory drug was prescribed. Now...any cat owners out there will know it's nearly impossible to get a cat to rest. That is an active boy like Nibs...if it was my little Chubs that wouldn't be any problem at all, she's a couch potato - but not Nibs! No he's a very athletic, goofy cat who gallops up and down the stairs twenty times a day. I'm happy to report that he's much better now. In fact he made a swift and remarkable recovery. (Thank You MN) He doesn't like the anti-inflammatory medication though and his normally gentle nature disappeared as I tried to administer it this morning. I left him after that and now he's dozing in what we call his daytime sleepng position, on the sofa.
Have a great week and many blessings to you and yours.
|Posted on 16 January, 2018 at 20:15||comments (0)|
A Task Finally Completed
Sometime ago, a few months before Christmas, I was asked to create a painting from a photograph. It was an extremely interesting image taken of a police car blocking a road with all it's lights blazing. Normally I shy away from painting vehicles of any kind but this was such a striking photo that I decided to break my own rule and go for it. It was a real challenge mind you! I struggled a little with the technical parts of the car, especially with all the lettering and such. I started painting it in November, after all the year's shows were finished. I decided to use a fairly decent sized canvas, and chose 24" x 24". I got a pretty good start on it then I followed my usual method of placing the piece where I could see it daily and tried to think about it and see what improvements I had to make. It wasn't long before I realised that I'd totally messed up the angle of the road, and that realisation drove me nuts until I was finally able to find the time to change it. I made a list and kept it by my easel so I wouldn't forget anything I felt was wrong. Christmas was on the horizon by then and I had to put it off until after the festivities were all over. I didn't, however, move the painting and at times I felt as though it had developed a pair of eyes to follow me accusingly. Finally I had a day free to complete the painting. I thought I'd have trouble getting back into the "feel" of the piece but it wasn't actually too hard. I noticed another few elements that weren't quite right and was able to fix all the issues that were of concern. I'm happy to report that it's now in the hands of it's new owner. I'm lucky that there was a lot of patience as far as this person was concerned!
Below I've posted one "work in progress" photo and beside it, the finished product.
Photo credit belongs to OPP Officer David Beaulieu, and was taken on Highway 520 near Magnetawan, ON on August 4, 2016
Have a blessed week.
|Posted on 9 January, 2018 at 19:15||comments (0)|
We have been in a deep freeze for a few days. The base temperatures have been in the minus 20's at times and if that wasn't nippy enough, the wind decided to jump on the bandwagon and add more punch to the cold. The wind chill values at times reached in the minus 30's.. My car decided to rebel and last weekend just said no and didn't start. We charged up the battery but it was still a bit reluctant in the cold air so we treated it to a new battery. It's happy now, and so am I!
The cold air means that the snow has stuck around in the city, but I must not complain. The area known as "Central Ontario" and the Bruce Peninsula have been pounded with some areas receiving more than one hundred centimeters of accumulated snow. The cold air passes over the warmer water and fuels up the Great Snow Machine and dumps lake effect snow on these areas. For once I'm glad to be in the city as Meaford has also been subject to the Machine.
This past weekend I wanted just to stay inside and dodge the cold. I had a lie-in and a good read of my new book about Medieval England, which was so cosy with The Two Kittens nestled comfortably beside me. After getting up I had that urge to cook and after a few chores I made tomato soup from the last of our frozen garden tomatoes, a macaroni and cheese casserole and some garlic and cheese potatoes. I also pulled out my bread machine and the house smelled wonderfully of baking fresh bread. There's nothing as pleasant as that aroma, except perhaps fresh coffee.
I've joined a "pod" on Instagram. This is a group of users, (in this case artisans) who basically follow and support each other. You post pictures of your work, and then in the main message centre you post "new" so that the other members are aware of your new posting. When you've liked and commented on a fellow members posts you type in the same message centre a Heart so that everyone realises you have commented and liked. I've found it to be a really pleasant and useful experience. The other members are very supportive and for me, it has meant that I've been able to increase my followers. I find great value in social media in this regard, whether it be Facebook. Instagram or Twitter.
So that sums up my week. Next week is supposed to be a bit warmer, rocketing up to a sweaty +6C by Thursday apparently! And rain. We'll see how that pans out.
Have a blessed week!!
|Posted on 2 January, 2018 at 19:35||comments (0)|
Hello and best wishes for the New Year. Sometimes I can't believe that it's already 2018. I remember the panic over Y2K! When people thought everything would grind to a halt because the computer systems wouldn't be able to handle the change. It's hard to believe that almost two decades have passed since then.
It's been very cold here. We had a white Christmas like most meteorologists predicted. A lot of people were happy about that. Me...? I'm fine with a green Christmas quite honestly, or if it snowed just on Christmas Eve, then disappeared the next day that's okay too. Our Christmas was very pleasant, but of course passed much too quickly. Now it seems like it was weeks ago.
For the new year we journeyed to the north. It snowed the entire time without letting up. There were no actual storms but a lot of lake effect snow, which can be quite terrifying at time as it's so unpredictable. One minute it's clear, the next you cannot see the hand in front of your face. That snow had accumulated and drifted on our carport roof, resulting in a precarious shoveling to ease the load.
Now that the holidays are behind us it's time to get back to work and that commissioned piece is waiting. I plan to finish it in the next two weeks then it's on to thinking about my Twitter Art submission.
Have a great week!
|Posted on 19 December, 2017 at 19:25||comments (0)|
We're in the home stretch now, and I'm considerably more prepared than I was last week although there's still quite a bit to get done, especially in the baking department. I've tried to make at least one thing each day, and one particularly energetic day I managed to make two items! The weather today was great, quite balmy in fact and apart from a few grubby piles our snow has all gone!
I won't be posting a blog until after the holidays, so I'll take this opportunity to wish all the best of the season to you all.
Have a wonderful blessed holiday season.
|Posted on 12 December, 2017 at 11:55||comments (0)|
What a difference a week makes! Last week the temperatures were well above freezing, but this week Old Man Winter has decided to pay a visit. Yesterday afternoon there was quite a bit of snow, results they say from a weather system known as an "Alberta Clipper". These are fairly fast moving storms but still enough to make an impact on our daily lives. We've been spoiled so far, I admit. Last night another fairly significant dumping occurred so it is definitely time for the shovels. Temperatures are pretty cold as well so this snow will not go anywhere for some time. A White Christmas perhaps? The weather experts are saying so, and I'm fine with that as long as it goes away afterwards, which of course it won't. I am afraid they are going to be right in their predictions of a snowy winter. I'm not a fan of the driving in the winter. These past two days I've been at home, only venturing out to clear the drive and steps, and to retrieve the bins from being emptied. Winter makes me want to cook, bake and store food and be cosy indoors with my cats. They've got it right, both of them curled up in their favourite daytime sleeping postions; Chubs on the end of the couch on her little blanket and her brother Nibs in his basket by the window. He is right there in case a squirrel needs to be watched, or the brave little hedge sparrows start chirping among the bare branches.
Needless to say I haven't been very productive as far as painting goes. I packed away my brushes and paint and will likely not unpack again until after the holidays. There's just too much I need to accomplish and the commissioned painting will have to wait. Luckily there's no rush! I confess that despite seeing it daily, sitting accusingly on my easel, I've got out of the mode I was in while working on it. My day job will soon be busy as floral orders will inevitably start piling up, and I've not done any baking except a few mince pies that I must put away. I love mince pies and the temptation to eat them is torturous. I'm lucky that my daughter, accomplished baker that she is, will be bringing some of her fabulous cookies and squares, and I can ease off a bit on that front. I'm going to make shortbread of course, and ginger cookies and a couple of other traditional treats but I've cut down considerably due to diet and the fact that we are trying to cut down on sugars.
On that note, I am going to go in the kitchen and do something. Probably shortbread and perhaps make the dough for the gingerbread.
Have a safe and blessed week.
|Posted on 5 December, 2017 at 18:10||comments (0)|
I am happy to report that The Loft Gallery sold three of my Square Foot Show submissions. I collected the unsold work on the weekend, and I must say how wonderfully organised Heather is at the Gallery. I was in and out in a matter of minutes! I look forward to next year.
I must put my thinking cap on for Twitter Art Exhibit 2018, or TAE18 for short. There's been a number of artists who have already sent their work in and from what I've seen so far it's going to be a wonderful show with some really beautiful work. The Twitter Art organisation does such a stellar job of promoting the contributing artists' work, posting the submissions not only on Twitter, but on all of their social media accounts. It's really wonderful exposure for any artist and with the proceeds of the sales supporting these great charities, well it's a win-win situation. More about that later.
There's been a bit of change in my little household lately. My son has changed his job and works much later in the day than before. The cats, Nibs and Chubs do not understand this. I should say Nibs does not because in actual fact Chubs is occupying her usual spot on the couch snoring while Nibs is in his basket near the window anxiously keeping watch for the car. My son's later departure in the morning is also puzzling them, they just do not like change. As I'm writing this I suddenly remembered that they hadn't had their dinner! It's become my duty since the job change. As soon as I opened the cupboard where their food is kept they both made a mad dash for their bowls. I must try and remember! Poor kittens.
Another change is that the weather has suddenly decided to be colder. We enjoyed double-digit temperatures on Monday and again today, but as this afteroon wore on the temperature dropped and at five o'clock it was actually nippy. I can hear Mr. Wind whipping up around the roof. I would like to stay in under a blanket with a cat or two on my lap but I've got to go out this evening.
That's all my news. Have a blessed week.
|Posted on 28 November, 2017 at 18:55||comments (0)|
I missed writing my blog last week due to not feeling well. I've been given medications to help the issue, something I'm quite unfamiliar with. Additionally I seem to have fallen victim to that terrible state of mind known as Procrastination. I'm still looking at the commissioned piece and haven't worked on that or anything else. I think part of my lethargy may stem from the time of year, so hopefully it won't last!
This weekend is the Window Unveiling in Meaford. I'm sure I've mentioned this annual event before, but just to refresh memories, it's when the shops and businesses in the town dress up their windows to a theme, keeping them covered until the night of the unveiling. There's cider, hot chocolate and festive treats in each shop and I find it really gets me in the spirit of the season. The street is closed off to traffic, and fires in drums keep the shoppers warm as they get the chance to admire the window displays. One year it was a bit of a damper (literally) as it poured with unseasonal rain but usually it's a really fun time. A little "wobbly" hot chocolate in a takeaway mug helps too!
Have a blessed week!