Monday, January 14, 2019

T Stands for Lots of Birthdays

Hello T Gang ladies and any other visitors. It is Tuesday again (and already). Time for T.
Stop by  Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog and join as we share our drink related photos.

Last weekend seemed to be a birthday celebration weekend for me. No, it was not my birthday.

On Friday after work we had a little get together for one of my colleagues who turned 50 at New Years. Our  group hadn't gotten together outside of work for quite some time, so it was fun to have a chance to chat and socialize. 
In this restaurant where we met was a specialty tequila bar. And you might know I like a good margarita. So even though they were twice as costly as most Mexican places charge, I ordered one. So did 3 of my other co-workers. And oh my goodness, it was horrible! The worse margarita I have ever had. My co-workers had the same thoughts too.  I certainly won't order one if I ever go back there, but I don't think I will be rushing back.

And then on Saturday we had my Mother-in-law's 85th birthday. She isn't doing all that well, so my sister-in-law (with whom my MIL lives with now) had the whole immediate family over for lunch.
I was most surprised when my sister-in-law asked if I would make the birthday cake. Her husband is a professional pastry chef, and I just assumed he would make the cake. But he didn't have time, so she asked me. 
I felt a little bit like I had to make it special.
And it came out really good too. It was devil's food filled with a white chocolate espresso ganache and with a vanilla buttercream. (No calories in this cake either-ha-ha!)
I got the 2 thumbs up from the pastry chef.
And it was a good time to take some family photos too. You can see my husband and I were getting ready for Sunday's football game as we were wearing out team shirts. (And you can tell it was a really cold day with my big sweater under my football shirt.)
And then there was a photo of the granddaughters (except one who was away at college) and their beaus.
And of course since it is T Day  I need to show you my drink. Back when I went to Vermont in early December I had tried a drink called a holiday daiquiri. Well my brother-in-law the pastry chef managed to replicate the drink and so I had one.

Way better than margarita!

Wishing you all a happy T day!
And thanks for visiting.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Circles and Lines

Hi everyone. Hope you are having (or had) a nice weekend. Here in New Hampshire we've had a bit of cold  weather but lots of sunshine. I have eaten too many pieces of birthday cake . Saturday my mother-in-law turned 85 and there was a family party for her. It's also been an American football game watching weekend as  it is playoff time (as Elizabeth mentioned yesterday) and so the hubby and I have been watching a few of the games.

But I do have this modern page for Alison's Geometric Shapes challenge over at Art Journal Journey.  
This page began when I added the left over edges of a round sticker and I stuck that down onto a sheet of paper that I had cleaned a dirty paintbrush on. You can see the large round circle towards the top center of the page where I put that sticker "trash". 
Then I painted the page with some light green Martha Stewart paint. To make the circles, I took a piece of pipe insulation foam (the pipe would slide inside of this) and painted the round end which I used  as a stamp. Then I added a bunch of paper tape to make "lines". Finally I grabbed a few bits off my work table and added them to finish off the page.
I am also going to join up to Dianella Rogell's Think Monday challenge which is tape this week. This year she is opening up her challenges to more than ATCs.
That's all for me today.  Thanks for visiting. 

Friday, January 11, 2019


Hi everyone. Here in my world the cold has arrived. The real cold with some strong Arctic wind blowing too.  Brrr. I wish I didn't have to go out this morning into the cold and could sit home and watch garden shows on Netflix. But I am tough and I can handle this January winter blast. (smile)
So to make the cold a little more bearable, I have this warm journal page for today. I made a bright yellow background and stamped some circles with a point in each, this vintage parakeet photo (from a Flow magazine), a puzzle piece, and lots of lines to make letters and numbers (and underline those numbers too).
And with  all these geometric shapes  I am going to link up to Alison's challenge at Art Journal Journey
And it's Friday. This was a long week at work for me, but that always happens at the end of the quarter. One more week to go and then we'll reach the halfway point of the school year. And even if this week was long, the school year is flying by.
Hope you had a good week and an even better weekend.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

2018 Calendar Wrap Up

Hi everyone. Yesterday I had some awful snow driving on my way to work and that had turned into rain by the time I got to work. At home we got 3 inches of snow and at work we got none. This had been the story this winter, tricky morning drives. But here's something that has never happened to me in this crazy winter driving. I have a bridge over a narrow strait between where a river goes into a bay that I have to cross, and as I drove onto the bridge it was snowing heavily and as I exited the bridge on the other side it was raining. And it isn't really a very long bridge.
 Today I have some of my "doodles" from my drawing journal, starting with the December calendar that is in the front of the book.
And here's a few of my favorite drawing pages from both November and December.

It was a successful year doing my drawing journal. I didn't necessarily get to it every day, but I would go back in fill something in.  I had some days where I had some new ideas for journal pages, but other days where I just did the same thing, or at least what felt like I was doing the same thing.
I did get myself another journal for 2019. I am hoping some new ideas will come to me as I go along, and I am using this year's journal as more of a general journal and not just a drawing journal. But I do hope to continue drawing because the more I do, the more confidence I get. And confidence seems to be half the ability.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed your visit.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Calendar Journal Day

 Howdy folks! Last week I introduced you to my new journal for 2019. I switched weeks around and last week I showed you this current week's page and so today I am showing you last week's page. 
I love this giant face. He is in shock it is already 2019. I cut him out of a bag from Trader Joe's. The background was green with white dots and I added the blue diamonds, black grid marks and the little bit of music. All of these were stenciled with some acrylic paint.
And last I knew diamonds and dots are geometric shapes, so I am linking this page up to Alison's fun challenge at Art Journal Journey.
And over at Try It On Tuesday the newest challenge is Something Old, Something New. My old calendar journal is filled and done and put on shelf and this is my new calendar journal for 2019.
Not much new here in my life except for going to work and some dreary rain, ice and snowy weather. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

T Stands for Wrapping Up the Old Year

Happy Tuesday everyone. And since it is already once again Tuesday, I will be sharing some T Day photos with the T Gang over at  Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog.
It is hard to believe that last Tuesday was January 1, New Years Day. It seems once the holiday decorations come down and life gets back to "normal" again that the holidays were long ago. But of course, they weren't, were they?
If you have a drink related post join us for T over at   T Stands for Tuesday   also.
So let's go back to last Monday, December 31.
I was still on school break, and my husband decided to take that Monday off from work to give himself a second 4 day weekend, as he had one over the Christmas holiday. We knew we  were going to get a bit of sketchy weather that evening, so we decided to celebrate New Years during the day instead. We started off by going out to breakfast out our favorite local hole in the wall breakfast place.
 I think lots of folks had the same idea because we had a 45 minute wait for a table. I think that is worse than on a weekend.
 I snapped these while we waited in my husband's truck as the restaurant really doesn't have any inside waiting area and it was a bit too chilly to stand for 45 minutes outside.
 Once we got a table I had my usual egg, hash and baked beans, which I totally forgot to snap a photo to show you. But while waiting I had a cup of their delicious homemade cocoa with real whipped cream. I figured I had been good for the couple of days before that one, and the "diet" would start on the first. 
Afterwards we headed back to the beach, this time York Beach in York, Maine. It's not a bird watching spot so I didn't go looking for snowy owls this time, but at low tide there's lots of walking area and the sand here gets hard. My dad used to refer to this beach as Hard Sands, but it's actually called Long Sands.
 The clouds from the New Year's Eve storm were starting to roll in by the time we went walking, but it sure made for some great lighting for photos.

 And of course we brought the dogs along. They love a good beach walk. Infact, for some reason they get so excited they need to act like crazy dogs and jump up on their hind legs and growl and play bite each other. Only at this beach though. I don't get that part.

But then they settled down into walking mode.

 Back in my youthful 20's I used to rent a furnished  condo here from September through June. It worked out perfect for me because I could walk this beach most days after work. And then when school got out in June, I could move out and the owners could rent it out for the summer. I think I used to pay like $240 a month to live at the beach off season. I can only imagine what it costs now since I have been at this job for 35 years. Holy cow. I didn't imagine that would happen back when I lived here in York.

This was my perfect way to wrap up the old year and celebrate a new one, since I love going out for breakfast and a good beach walk.  Think I will have to make this more of a priority in 2019, well at least before it is beach season and they then charge for parking and the beaches are packed with sunbathers. 
Have a happy T day my friends, and for the rest of you who didn't stop by for T, hope it's a great day also.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Books of 2018-Part 2

Hi everyone. Hope you are all had a wonderful weekend. Mine was quiet  with lots of art time and it was good.
Today I am doing another book post. 
 I started my little book review  a week and half ago, and today I thought I would wrap it up with my favorite non-fiction reads/listens from 2018.
As I said last book post (which if you have any interest you can check out here The Book Post-Part 1) this is more a post to help me sort through my own reading. But I know some of you, like myself,  like finding a recommendation.


About a year and half ago I joined Audible.   I am NOT writing this  to sell you a subscription to Audible but because sometimes the author reads their book, and a few of my biographies fall into this category.
Ravenmaster was read by the author, and he is in charge of the care of the ravens at the Tower of London.  As I will never have a job like that, it was fascinating to see what it involves and learn more about the behind the scenes of working and living in this London landmark.
 Michelle Obama read her biography also. For me was like Michele giving me a private view into her life. Whether you agree with her politics or not, what a classy lady she is.
 And finally Trevor Noah, a South African comedian, read his biography too. He had all kinds of fun voices for characters in his life. I especially loved his mother. As his dad is white and his mom is black, which was illegal during his childhood, I learned a lot about living with Apartheid.
 I don't know if this J.R.R. Tolkien book is considered a biography, but he wrote letters to his children from Santa during much of the 1920's and 30's, and they were a joy to listen to.
 Educated is the story of a woman's childhood and how she had to break away from her family in order to get an education. Wow. What she had to go through just to grow up and then go to college made me realize how much we who have public  or even private childhood education take for granted.
 This book, The Year of Living Danishly,  made me laugh. The author moved to Denmark from England when her husband got a job working for Lego. She recorded her experiences and it was an enjoyable romp.
 And this last biography was recommended by Jeanie. I loved it. It is not only a family history but an art story. It is interesting how the family's circumstances, like the times, changed with their history from the late 1800's in France to Vienna and finally to Japan. It must be amazing to know your family history so well, and also tough to write about some of the scary times like when the Nazi's took over Vienna.

 Science and Nature (in general)  Books:
Here's another book read by the author. I  loved this book. The author is a British farmer who has so much respect for animals and has so many wonderful stories about the free ranging creatures on her farm. My friends roll their eyes at me when I talk about this book, but it shows you the intelligence and dignity these creatures have when they are not factory farmed. And no, this book does not go into factory farming but insteads focuses on the personalities of animals who free ranged on her farm.

 And I, Mammal is really a book that appealed to my zoology background. This one may not be for most people unless you love science reads.  But I learned many new things that I didn't know about mammal reproduction. This, however, not a textbook and has lots of interesting stories.

 I had heard about an experiment in Russia where the whole idea of domestication  is/was being tested. So when How To Tame A Fox showed up as a daily deal on Audible, I picked it up. This domestication experiment has been going on for several decades and the author is the woman who worked with the researcher. It's an interesting story not only about the experiment but about the foxes themselves.

 OK, my biology teacher friends don't think they want to read the book Never Home Alone because it is all about those unseen creatures in our homes. But, I didn't find  it creepy (OK, I teach microbiology) but  fascinating. It talked a lot about the benefits to human health by not living in a sterile environment.  And yes, there are diseases out there, but this book focused on how homemade bread gets unique tastes from our hands and how dogs more than cats, impart a lot more healthy biodiversity to our homes. Another words, it focused on the good things not the creepy crawly things.  I know many of you probably don't find this book your cup of tea, but I hope to read some other books by this author.

 And lastly 2 books I listened to that were also read by their authors. In Atlas of the Lost World, I learned about archeology and how people are believed to have moved into North and South America from Asia. And alongside was the author's test to a few of the theories the book discusses. I am not an archeologist (although one of my closests friends is a Dr. of Archeology), but I find it fascinating. Maybe if I knew more about it back when I was applying to college at 17 years old I would have gone in that direction.
And The Food Explorer is about a one man's world travels in the early 1900's and all the plants he brought back to the US for food. Many of them we still eat,peaches and avocados to name a few, as well as many things he brought back that never went mainstream.

Art,Travel, Etc: The Rest:

 Gardens of Awe and Folly-
Vivien Swift's books are more art/sketch/stories. I had this book for a bit before I actually indulged in it. Not only does she illustrate her own books, but her prose is great. She also wrote When Travellers Cease to Roam and Le Road Trip.  I love them both and have reread them each a couple of times (maybe it's time for another reread), And she is one of the reasons I have been keeping a drawing journal to improve my sketches. I would love to reach a  point I could do an illustrated travel or nature journal.

 Travels Through the French Riviera was an interesting book even if you aren't jetting off  in that direction. There was some wonderful stories and some great sketches/art to go along with the stories. It was a nice little armchair trip on a cloudy afternoon for me.
 And these Japan travel guides I picked up for my trip last April. They are full of drawings as well as travel info,(most importantly custom differences), but even if you aren't going to Japan the info is fascinating and the drawings are a lot of fun.

 I picked up this watercolor book on a major markdown at Hobby Lobby, any even though I am not a watercolor painter, this book had a lot of info about perspective, color theory, etc. I know many of you probably know much of this, and  it might be  instinctive, but I found this book really helpful in my art. If nothing else, for me it helped "loosen up" what I thought I had to do.
 And how can you not like Jane Davenport? I am still nervous about drawing people, but she has some fantastic info to make it a bit easier.  Now if only I can get my arms and hands to look a little less monster like.

 And finally, American Cookie. This is a cookbook, but also a book that tells the story of different cookies. I love reading cookbooks (besides cooking from them), and it is really interesting to read about some historical treats you don't see all that often as well as those which have become a part of our American food vocabulary.

And that's it, my 2018 shortlist of books.
I am working on 2 books now, one I am reading and one I am listening too. Has anyone read the Goldfinch by Donna Tartt? It's my reading book and I am really enjoying it. If you have any good recommendations for 2019, I would love to hear them. Thanks Yvonne for yours last book post. I am checking out that Viking one for certain.
Enjoy the start of the new week. And as always, thanks so much for stopping by.