Saturday, January 18, 2020

Wintery Weather

Hi everyone. The weekend is here as well as is winter. At least here in New Hampshire. We've had  some cold temperatures, and the snow is coming. Sounds like a good weekend to stay inside by a warm wood stove fire, watch more movies, read and make a little art.
Well I guess I might have to do a bit of snow shovelling tomorrow, which is not my most favorite thing. Yet it is some exercise and fresh air, so I suppose there is even good in that. (Well, I don't know if it is really my kind of good though. Smile.)
But the winter weather did inspire me to make a tag for Tag Tuesday and their latest winter scenes challenge.
The tag is not about the shoveling, but the pretty views that come after snow. I used this vintage image of some birds on a fence. I attached it to my base, which is actually a flooring sample from a local big box hardware store. I picked up a couple of these on a recent trip there as I thought they might be a good art surface. Then I attached some various items to complete the tag.
After finished the tag I decided to use it on a page in my winter journal. 

I call my page winter blue to celebrate the gorgeous blue skies that come after a snowstorm blows out. I used my ink pad to make some interesting shapes on the background paper as well as color it. Then I used some pieces of tape, my tag, as well as some die cut, plastic and metal snowflake embellishments. 
And since I have never used the plastic flooring sample in art before, I will like this page up to Jo's challenge at Art Journal Journey also.
I hope you have a warmer, less wintery weekend than we are having!
Thanks for visiting.

Friday, January 17, 2020

A New Journal Project

Hi everyone. 
It is almost the weekend here which is exciting as my work week has been very busy. The quarter at school is wrapping up with final exams next week so I've been trying to finish up the curriculum (to kids who are feeling the stress and are very cranky because everyone is trying to finish their curriculums.) But the good news is I was successful without causing too much pain (I think), and there is a 3 day weekend ahead. You would think with the holiday break just a few weeks ago this 3 day weekend would seem unneeded, but I am looking forward to some down time.
And yesterday we had more snow, and my morning drive  was horrible until I reached the coast and hit rain. But at home we had this.

And more snow is due this Saturday night. I am keeping my fingers crossed it isn't as much as the last forecast predicted.

Today I have a new journal cover to share with you and also over at Art Journal Journey. This month's hostess is Jo and her theme is Something New.
 I started with a blank kraft covered binder  and some blue paint. I spread it thick with lots of brush strokes so I would end up with some cool texture. 
Then I rubbed a brown ink pad over the blue to fill in the brush grooves. I doodled and painted the clouds, and added a bit of napkin to the bottom with matte medium. I die cut this cool southwestern sun from some copper colored paper, and used a bronze Sharpie marker to color in the sun.
 And then I added the letter stickers and a bit of paper tape at the bottom.

I wanted to make this journal cover as the hubby and I are heading out to visit our friends in New Mexico at the end of February when I have a week's break at school. I haven't been out there since 2017 so I must say I am pretty excited. It will be nice to see our friends and to get away from the snow (hopefully) for a few days.

Hope you have a great start to your weekend. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

New Ink

Hi everyone.
I'm a little late in showing this holiday page, but it worked out because it fits Jo's challenge at Art Journal Journey. This month her challenge is something new, and the background on my page made with some green ink that I hadn't used before.
I had picked up a  pad of this Dyestress ink back in the fall because I found it on markdown and also because really liked the green. I didn't have any ink pads of this particular shade.  (It is the green one on the far left, right underneath the blue.) I was curious how this ink worked  (and how it compared to the Tim Hotlz reactive ink) so finally around Christmas I tried it out.
I stamped the leaves, and then with a wet paintbrush, I did a bit of smearing. I know that it isn't most wild or unusual technique, but I like the sneary leaves. I also used some grey-blue watercolor paint on the background, and I stamped the jingle bells words with some grey ink. The rest of the page is made with some stamped and colored images, some die cuts, a bit of red trim ribbon and also a cute little gnome picture.
It's the last mild today today before winter returns. They say more arctic cold is returning as well s a bit of snow. Yes, it is still January.
That's all for me today. Hope your week is going well.

Monday, January 13, 2020

T Stands for January Thaw

Hello everyone. Time to visit and share the weekly T drink post.
                  I'm joining everyone over at  Altered Book Lover blog for another Tuesday T day.                           
So this week I am going to share a beach walk on a Saturday that felt like spring.. This past Saturday the temperature reached a high of 66  (19 degrees C), and it was really gorgeous. It is January in New Hampshire which means it could be cold and snowy any time, and the way the weather changes around here that kind of  beautiful day doesn't come all that often. 

So my husband and I packed the dogs into the car and took a drive down to the seacoast and over the border into Maine. 
I've taken you here before but we are at York Beach in York, Maine.
The beach was crowded as I think lots of people had the same idea. It doesn't look crowded here but that's because we were down in the wet zone.
 And it was windy which created this cool ripple effect at the edge of the water.
 Unfortunately I didn't see the wave that came on on the left,  and it splashed right up over the bottom of my jeans and even into one of my boots.  Good thing my boots are warm and the air was too. But I did slosh along my walk, even though I emptied out my boot twice.

It felt good to get some sun and be outside for awhile. But a walk does make you thirsty.
And hungry too.
So we headed to our favorite local little hole in the wall restaurant. I've taken you here for breakfast and lunch many many times.
 I can offer you half of a tuna sandwich on rye as well as a few onion rings.

And for T a glass of diet pepsi.
Winter has returned in my world and the spring like weather is gone.  Sad face. But it is T Day and I wish you all a very happy one.
Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Alice is Back

Hi everyone.  Our temperature is starting off warm today, and although we have a bit of rain, it makes me think of March or April. By tonight we'll be back in the normal January chilliness, but this little January thaw has been super and I even managed a walk yesterday.   And a rainy Sunday morning means it is a good time to have a lazy morning. Hurrah!
The puddles and melt in the driveway made a cool photo with the reflections of the trees.

For the last few weeks I have been working on my Alice in Christmasland second book, since I ran out of paper in the original book.  And even if I wrapped up the story enough in book 1, I was having too much fun to stop.
 I didn't have another copy of the same type of book, so I went with something a bit different. For book 2 I used something I believe is called a zig-zag book. It has  2 hard covers and one long folded piece of watercolor in between.
Here is a photo of a blank one which is similar only the ones I have (I bought a few last year on a major markdown at Hobby Lobby) although mine have a few more paper folds.

To refresh your memory, let me recap part 1.
Alice climbs up on the roof of her home because she wants to look down the chimney to see how Santa can fit. In the process she falls down the chimney, shrinking in the process. Alice spends most of the rest of that story trying to get back to her normal size, and the book ends with Alice falling out of bed. I never said whether she was just dreaming and back to her normal size or not.

This is where book 2 picks up. Here's the first couple of 2 page spreads.
 As you can see it is now spring. The page says
" Oh Chessie, you are a regular sized cat." Alice said.
She had woken up on the floor wrapped in her blankets.
"I dreamt I was very very small and you were very very big."
Alice wiped her eyes and looked around the room.
"It was also Christmas in my dream.,
but it doesn't look like Christmas at all."

Myy spread is a mix of my drawings/paintings as well a bits of Studio Light/Art by Marlene punch outs. 
And here is the next section.

Alice walked out of her bedroom and noticed indeed it was spring.
The sun was shining through the windows,
and there was NO Christmas tree.
"And I am NOT very small." Alice said again in a voice that was very relieved.

This page is mad with some inking, painting, doodling, a die cut as well as some Studio Light Art by Marlene dots.
Just a tease. More to come another day.
Thanks so much for stopping by. 

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Something New from Something Old

Hi everyone.  The weekend has arrived, and  it is warming up here in New Hampshire, at least until early tomorrow. We even had overnight snow melt.  Here is my deck when I got home yesterday after work. It had a little snow cover from snow squalls that moved through Wednesday night. 
(And had lots of puppy paw prints.)
And now this morning.
Oh the small excitements of life.
So last weekend I cleaned off my work table a little. I had lots of bits and pieces to deal with so I gave them new life on this collaged journal page.
There are pieces of clothing tags, some stickers, an old photographed slide, some die cuts and bits of paper.  All of these were glued down onto some painted watercolor paper. Sorry about the glare on the top left corner. Taking photos at night doesn't always go so well.
And since it is something new, I am going to link up to Jo's what's new challenge at Art Journal Journey.
Not much yet written on my agenda for this weekend, but I have major cabin fever and the day is going to be springlike so something will be on that agenda, once I get around to figuring it out. (It sure felt good to sleep in this morning which is why I am off to such a late start to my day. Smile.)
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

The Cold Has Arrived

Happy mid-week everyone. We are having some crazy weather this week. The bitter Arctic cold has arrived and it it supposed to be cold and windy tonight and tomorrow. The weather people are telling us to expect it to feel like -5 degrees Fahrenheit (or -12 degrees C) with the wind chill tomorrow morning.  But then they are also telling us that by Saturday our temperatures will be practically balmy and in the 50's (degrees F. That's almost 13 degrees Celsius.)  I think the weather doesn't know what month it is. 
I find it hard to get excited about the bitter cold, but I did  read an article lately about a way to create cold looking water or ice in art. 

It was a new technique for me, and I was very interested to try it. And here is my very cold looking page to try it out. 
To create the look, I used some matte medium on my watercolor paper. Then I took plastic food wrap and laid it down in a slightly rough manner. Once the matte medium had dried, I put drops of a couple of different blue alcohol inks on the plastic wrap and rubbed them with a baby wipe.
I made the sky simply by spraying some blue ink and rubbing some pink ink on a brush also. 
I decided to use a polar bear and ice float images to make my designs, and then add a few snowflake die cuts. 
This was a new technique for me, so I am linking up to Jo's Something New challenge at Art Journal Journey.
Hope your week is going well, and of course
thanks so much for visiting.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The First Try It On Tuesday for the New Year

Hi everyone. It is time for the challenges at Try It On Tuesday to start up again after a short holiday hiatus. This year we have so many great challenges lined up for you, and our first one is a great way to start of the new year. It is  What a Cutie/ Make Someone Smile Today.

I went with the What a Cutie theme, as I saw this adorable little girl image on someone's blog last year and fell in love with her. She is adorable but looks like she has some spunk too. That is right up my alley. (And perfect for this Try It On Tuesday challenge too.)
Only I had no idea what stamp company made her or where she came from.
And then one day over the holidays when looking at some sale stamps online I came across this set
and there was that cute little girl. 
So today I am using her for the first time. The quote is an oldie from my stash that I stamped and cut into 3 smaller pieces.

Check out the inspiration from our design team also over at the Try It On Tuesday blog. I think is a challenge you are going to love!
And don't forget all kinds of art is accepted. So show us your cards, tags, 3D projects, journal pages, paintings, etc.

And I am also going to link up to Jo's Something New challenge at Art Journal Journey as I have my new stamp  to share on this journal page.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, January 6, 2020

T Stands for New Year Adventures

Hi everyone. Welcome to the first T Day post for 2020. It is very exciting, isn't it? I love the thought of a whole year of T adventures ahead of us. I wonder what kind of "things" we shall get to see on this year's T day posts over at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog .                    .

I started my year off with another college hockey game on this past Saturday afternoon. 
This game was in Portland, Maine, and some of our good (from) college friends live there. They invited us to go with them. So we drove over and met them for breakfast before the noontime game. (For those of you who have asked in the past, Portland is about an hour away from where I live in New Hampshire. I live very close to the Maine border-it is only like 2 towns away on the map. And you regular T day ladies might remember my husband and I enjoy an occasional college hockey game.)  

I got to have breakfast at a new diner. This is the Miss Portland diner.
The fun thing I found out about this diner is that it was made by the Worcester (Massachusetts) lunch car company back in 1949. Not only is it a real vintage diner but Worcester is my hometown. I like that connection.
The sad news is I got busy chatting and eating and forgot to take a photo of the inside for you.
But I did remember my breakfast photo.
Eggs, hash and toast. Since it was going on 11 when we ate, I had a Diet Coke for my drink. Everyone else had coffee in those happy yellow mugs. You can see one on the left side of my photo.
After breakfast we headed off to the game.

And I got this photo of our bear mascot as he slated around the arena.
Sometime the mascot obviously can't skate, but right now he's actually pretty good.  He even did a few spins for us.

We are toasting our team's 3-2 win. They were playing the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
The other interesting thing that occured to me and also to my friend Jenny is that for both of us, we are the only couples we each know from college that are still couples. We've all known each other for almost 40 years.
Wow! I guess we are all lucky. And that is even a better celebration than a game win.
Have a super T day.
hoping your 2020 has started well!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Coping with Winter

Happy Sunday everyone. Yesterday it was "warm" for January, and we had lots of rain and then, last night, a cold front blew in so today, although sunny, it is a little breezy out there. The good news is the weather forecast was wrong for last night. Instead of 2-5 inches we only got a dusting, and it is pretty this morning. (Plus no snow to have to clean up so to speak! Hurrah)

The dogs actually managed to stay still so I could get this photo. 

So I am trying to "enjoy" winter more this year to get myself through this season a little better than I normally fare. It is easier to do in January than it is do in March, so I suspect I might only be able to talk myself through this for a little bit. But whatever happens, I have been making some winter art and having fun with it. Today I have a tag for Tag Tuesday and their celebrations challenge. I am going to celebrate winter.

I started by inking my tag in 2 shades of blue. Is it only me who thinks of winter as blue? (Maybe because other than brown, white and the occasional gorgeous sunrises and sunsets when it isn't cloudy winter is lacking a lot of color. Or it is here in New Hampshire where many buildings are also white do the our traditional ways.)
Anyhow, then I added part of a gold dotted paper doily and  this photo of a caribou/reindeer. This is one animal I have always wanted to see in the wild, and everytime I go someplace they live I still don't manage to see one. I gave him a die cut bow tie and I added the rest of it around it neck. And then some die cut snowflakes which I spruced up with some glitter and a bit of a sticker center. Finally I added the quote.
My other "art" lately is I pulled out some knitting that I haven't touched in a couple of years. I finished a pair of socks I was making just before Christmas (a gift for my daughter that I never photographed) so now it is back to this sweater which is a very easy pattern and hopefully I won't get bored with it.

But it should be perfect while I watch TV since I often need something so I don't fall asleep at 8 pm. 
I found the pattern in this magazine while browsing a magazine rack one day. I don't know exactly when this was published and for some reason I can't seem to find it.
I don't know this publication at all but I spent some time relooking through this issue and it had a lot of cool things  like dyeing fabric, baking pie and more. I saw several things I want to try  in here, and now that it is out of my knitting bag, I hope to do so.
I guess I thought the same thing when I bought it as it was one of those expensive copies. Once I post this I think I need to go look it up on the internet.

OK, enough for me. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and the start of your new week.
Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Books 2019

Hi everyone. 
I'm here today with a break from my normal posting to write about  my 2019 reading. For those of you who enjoy book posts you can read through, and if not, then I'll be back another day with more interesting things. As I've said before, I write these book posts for myself so I can look back and see what's been on my bedside table.
2019 was a record reading year for me. On my reading list I logged 105 books either read or listened to. According to an email I got from Audible, I listened to 526  hours of books. What surprised me the most was that summer was the season I listened the most. I figured it would be the other seasons as I have a 45 minute commute to and from work and that's when I do a lot of listening.
There were LOTS of enjoyable reads. Today I will mention  my most memorable reads from that long list. 


I have been a mystery mood this past year. I've read all 10 of these Elly Griffiths mysteries; she was my big newly discovered author. I really enjoy her Dr. Ruth Galloway forensic archeologist stories. I also read her Stranger Diaries which is a stand alone mystery about a teacher and her daughter. I liked it but not quite as much as the Ruth Galloway series.  I have book 11 on my nightstand of the Dr.Ruth Galloway series. I am curious to see what happens to all the characters in the next book of the series.

 I also discovered the Glass and Steele (by CJ Archer) mysteries set in 1890's London which include some magic with the mystery.  I managed to get through 4 of those books.  I've got book 5 loaded on my phone for listening to in 2020 as I picked it up on a sale so I don't have to use a credit on it. These stories have to be read in order as each one picks up where the last one left off. They are also a bit more predictable, but I am hoping book 5 might have a little twist. We shall see.

And if you like cozy mysteries, I finished books 2 and 3 of H Y Hanna's Oxford (England) tearoom mysteries. I'd listened to number 1 in 2018. They are well written but light and fun murder mysteries with Muesli, the tearoom cat, as one of the stories characters. 

The other big mystery author I read in 2019 was Louise Penny. I caught up on the last couple of her Inspector Gamache books, and then when my bookclub picked her first book, I decided it was time to reread some of her earlier works in order. Louise Penny is a fantastic writer and her little town of Three Pines sounds like such a wonderful place. I may just have to go on a search to find it one of these days as it is set in Quebec not far over the Vermont border.

Other top mystery reads include the Darwin Affair by Tim Mason (set in Charles Darwin's London), Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna by Mario Giordano (set in modern Italy with a fun 60 year old sleuth), Front Page Fatality by Lyndee Walker and the Tale Teller by Anne Hillerman (who picked up where her father, Tony Hillerman, left off.)  Plus it's always good to reread a little Agatha Christie. She's on my to read more of list for 2020.

Fiction-new reads for me

Here's my top new fiction reads for 2019.
 Have you read this book about the Swamp Girl? Where the Crawdads Sing is a beautiful story with so many natural elements. (No wonder as Delia Owens was a zoologist). This was one of the rare books in my book club that everyone liked.
 I liked the Night Tiger as it is set in the Malaysian Chinese community in the 1930s, and it had some mystery and a great suspenseful story. It was an interesting journey. I also enjoyed her book the Ghost Bride which I also read this past year, but not quite as much as this one.
 The Great Alone was another book club book. It read quickly and went through peaks and valleys.  nd its a book that still occasionally comes to mind, and as you readers know, some books just disappear and you can't even remember reading them. My book club was split on this book. Some people liked it, and some thought it was too predictable.
The Secrets We Kept was the book that inspired me to read Dr. Zhivago. It was all about the people involved in writing the book as well as how the book was a propaganda weapon in the US side of the cold war. It is fiction, but I learned a lot.
 And finally here's a Mexican novel. It is full of magic, love and some wonderful imagery. It spans several decades, beginning before the time of the 1910 Mexican Revolution. It's a nice story about family love and family conflict.

Fiction-rereads for me
And here's some books I reread/listened to after not having read for many many years that I liked as much time 2 as did the first time.
The Historian is a  modern day search for Count Dracula. This book is a bit long and could have moved a bit faster, but I did really enjoy it round two. I love how it took me around parts of Europe and the suspense the author created.
 A much shorter read and full of Mexican magic (and food) was Like Water for Chocolate. Yes I was a little mad at the ending, but doesn't that mean that the author really got you involved in the book?
 OK, my reading goal was to get through all 7 of the Harry Potter books this past year. And I listened to them all, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Jim Dale is such a great narrator and as he reads all 7, you can tell by the voice he uses what character is speaking.   I discovered book 5 is still my least favorite, and books 6 and 7 are my favorites, but none of them should be missed.  I can see why they are so successful.
 This is the third time I have read this Anne Rice novel of the New Orleans witch family and the spectre that haunts them. There are 2 more books in this series, which I don't know if I have ever read because they are not jumping out at me. I've put them on my 2020 to read list. Of course I could put so many books on my 2020 read list I wouldn't have time to either read them all or read anything else.
 I recently mentioned Dr. Zhivago in a post, and I am very glad I listened to it. Boris Pasternak wrote such a graphic and lyrical story, and relatively short for a Russian classic novel. (Harry Potter book 5 is longer.)

Other Reads
Finally for today, here are my top nonfiction books.

 If you haven't read any Bill Bryson you should. This was his latest book and even though I have a degree in biology I learned a lot from reading this. He has updated information and a dry wit that made this book one of my top reads. And you don't have to be a science person to enjoy it.
 OK, The Ends of the World and the Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs fulfilled my geology and paleontology interest. I learned a lot of global climate in those past eons and about  how many dinosaurs actually had feathers.  As well as other things. If you like these areas of science, you might enjoy these.
 OK, let's take a science break. The Library Book talks about a fire in the main LA Public Library, the case to trace the arsonist and also just info about libraries in general. Who knew? But I enjoyed it.
 And I read Prairie Fires before heading off to the Dakotas this past summer. I can't say I am personally that l interested in Laura Ingalls Wilder who wrote the Little House on the Prairie books, but this story really talks about life on the prairies back in the late 1800s. It is an unromantic view, but certainly fascinating. I also didn't know that Ingalls Wilder's daughter was one of the women who started the Libertarian political party in the US. The ending of the book did drag on a bit for me, but this book did win a Pulitzer Prize, so I do recommend it if you have any interest in thee stories.
 And finally another science book by the man who won a Nobel Prize for his discoveries about the cell part called the ribosome. Probably not for you if you don't have any science interest, but it was a great story about that journey and what life becomes once you win a Nobel prize.

And right now there are a couple of classics on my reading list. I am listening to Little Women about 4 American sisters in the 1860's and 1870's by Louisa May Alcott. It is a book for older children, but I never read it and I am loving it. And I just started read The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. I picked that book because the author's name seemed to have come up several times in the last several months, so it seemed like one of his books was calling me to read him. So far, I am enjoying this also.

OK, enough for me. This post has taken me 2 nights to write and it is probably longer than most people want to read.
If you have any good suggestions I'd love to hear them  as there is a whole 360 + days left of reading this year. 

 Have a great year of reading and books!