Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Beauty of Nature

Hi everyone. Two weeks have flown by and it is time again for another new challenge at Try It On Tuesday
Today we start a challenge called the Beauty of Nature. Think about all the beautiful things in nature and take some inspiration from them. This is especially true now that most of us are stuck inside  than before the Covid-19 reared its ugly head. 
  I got to thinking about spring, and that made me think of cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms made me think about Japan.
So here's my page.

I started with a green background and some pink stamped polka dots. Then I added some bits of cherry blossom paper from my scrap pile. I added some die cut cherry blossoms  and this die cut pagoda. The paper was a little thick so it didn't all cut all the way through, but I like the shape so I added it anyhow. The cranes are stamped and fussy cut and then I added a few other bits and pieces to finish off my page.
And don't forget to check out the design team's pieces. They have such great takes on this challenge for your inspiration. 

And since my page also has green, I am going to make one last link up to Eileen's challenge at Art Journal Journey. Thanks Eileen for a great month and a great challenge. Green was a very inspiring challenge theme.
Thanks for visiting, and I can't wait to see you over at the Try It On Tuesday challenge.

Monday, March 30, 2020

T Stands for a Peek into a Day During the Virus Pandemic

Hi everyone. Life is slow and quiet for me as it is for most of you. Working from home is keeping me busy , maybe too busy. I mostly like working from home, but I also prefer the separation of work and home.
My hubby and I have to share the table as we don't have any other place to work, unless of course I wanted to work in my studio. (Ha-ha- I can see what a work disaster that would be. Smile)
It has created quite a clutter on my table and in the dining area, but oh well. When I retire I shall have time to declutter. 
And behind my husband you can see my hutch and on it I have lots of T related items. 
So this week for T I will show you those items on my hutch. I have a fun little collection of ceramic items which brighten up my room. 

As you can see, I even have a cat mug. My daughter gave me that for Christmas about 5 years ago when I had my cat Leo. He was a large orange tiger cat, around 22 pounds and at his ideal weight according to my vet.  He was like a feline dog personality wise. I turned the mug so you could see it.
The cut glass on the top shelf came from my grandmother and great aunt. I have a few other pieces too but I alternate things as I only have so much space on the hutch.
And speaking of my hutch, it was a wedding gift from one of my oldest and closest friends. Her dad took up the hobby of building furniture when he retired. He was really good at it. I am glad to have this piece as he has since passed , and according to my friend, this was the only hutch he ever built. 
I am linking up to Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog for T. You should stop by and join us with your drink related post.
That's all I have for today. Thanks so much for visiting.
And Happy T day.

My Last Green Irish Journal Page

Happy new week everyone. I hope everyone had a nice weekend. I had some art time, read and took Sunday off from using the computer. It was nice. Now that I am teaching online from home I feel like I am spending too much of my day on a computer. It is  too easy to never leave work as the computer is always sitting there, and it is sometimes hard to not check in via email or Google classroom which is one format we are using. (And for those of you who asked, we are using ZOOM, and online meeting format, to meet with our kids.)
I will stop by and visit as I get some time today.
This month is almost over so I wanted to share the last pages from my imaginary trip to Ireland. 
Sorry about the light issues on the top right corner of this first page. I used a transparency with harps on it (you can just see a few) as harps are a part of Irish culture.
 I had a lot of fun collaging these various elements on both of these pages.
And I am going to link up with Eileen's GREEN challenge at Art Journal Journey
I'm keeping this short since it is just about time to go to work, or should I say go out to the table and go back online.
Hope you have a good start to your week.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Signs of Spring

Hi everyone. I hope you are having a nice weekend so far.
My adventures today included a walk where I twisted my ankle on a rock in the road and then, since I was walking the dogs, couldn't catch myself as they were moving forward and pulling me forward also. So down I went onto the road, and now my knees are sore from the landing. And my ankle is slightly swollen and a little tender. 
But at least I can say the dogs came over full of concern as to why I was laying in the road and had to slobber me in dog kisses. And even though I didn't continue further down the road, I did manage to walk home.
And being as stubborn as I am, when I got home, I decided to rake a little bit so I could see if any plants were coming up, and low and behold, some were.

 Even my rhubarb is popping up.
I love this.
And last evening after spending our day on computers,  the hubby and I took a little drive to check out how the ice was on a few of the lakes nears us. Every place we went was empty so I hopped out and take a photo on my phone, and then got back in his truck. It was nice to take a little scenic drive for an hour.
The one closest to us had had ice out. It's pretty early when it happens in March.

The one my mother-in-law's house is on wasn't quite there yet.

But there were lots of openings in the ice so I don't think it will be too many days.
And finally we stopped at the Big Lake, and the bay by us was rather open too. Not 100% as there were still some ice floats s you can see in this bottom photo.
Usually ice out happens sometime in April. Since this is only one bay on the whole lake, it will be interesting to see when this happens this year.
So I have 2 pieces of art to show you today. First I have another tag for the Bunnies and Butterflys challenge at Tag Tuesday.
I was playing with a new set of people stamps by Studio LIght-Art by Marlene.
And then I also have another journal page for Eileen's green challenge at Art Journal Journey.

I actually made this page back in January for an earlier Art Journal Journey challenge but never showed it to you. I started by adding this alphabet page onto the watercolor background paper. The alphabet was colored but the background was white, so I inked the whole page once it was dry and I think it blended together pretty well. Then I added this stamped, colored and fuzzy cut rag doll man.
One reason I never shared it as I thought it might need something more, but then I decided it was what it was, so here you go. 
That's enough from me today. Hope you are staying sane in this trying times, and staying healthy too.
Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Week 2 of Teaching Remotely

Hi everyone. Let me start my post with another piece for Eileen's GREEN challenge over at Art Journal Journey. The month is winding down, and there has been some great pieces so far! Maybe you still want to join us before the month ends?
Here's yet another page from my Vintage Irish Travel journal. This is an art project totally created and not based on any real trip (although I did get to visit Ireland once), and I set the time of this imaginary trip to 1957. My page was started with some stenciling as well as some light inking of the background. I added some ephemera and did a bit of stamping too.
And the photo is a bit crooked-when I tried to straighten the bottom it threw off the top!
And I always forget about some challenges as while going to work, I was just too busy. But now that I can squeeze in some extra art time, I've been thinking about challenges and I want to join the More Mixed Media challenge which is Anything Goes with Optional Green.

And since this week is winding down, I thought I would do another update to my teaching virtually from home. It has been a much better week overall, with less stress, so here's what I've concluded.
Update- schools have just been closed until May 6. We'll see what happens by then.
1-I am missing the kids. Online is better than nothing but online is not the same as being face to face.

2-But I have certainly learned a lot of new things about my students, things I would never learn in the classroom. Many of the kids work from their bedrooms, and that is certainly something I would never see otherwise. There is the girl with purple lights, the girl with some fantastic paintings on her wall, the boy who is a Dallas Cowboys mega-fan, the kids who literally are sitting in bed just having woken up in my 9AM group. I see what they eat for breakfast, see parents walk through, have met their dogs and younger siblings. That part is rather fun.

3-I am working way too hard, but not complaining. With all the new formats I need to use, most of my old lesson plans don't work. I need to adjust and adapt for this new format. In a way it is fun, because planning is something I like to do. And thankfully at least I'd already been using Google classroom and am comfortable with that format. 

4-The administration has gotten less tough. Our building team has backed down  and that is good. It would have saved a lot of stress last week if this had happened then, but the whole administration had a lot on their plates and were probably stressed themselves. This was a lot to pull off. And even though the governor said that online teaching didn't have to begin until this Monday, our district decided we would start last Wednesday, 3 days before the state. That gave us less time to prepare, and of course that increases stress.

5-So yes, this is a less stressful work. Now I am just trying to get more organized. But I will get there.

6- And I have to say, I love not setting an alarm every morning and getting up an hour later.

That's about all here. Just washing my hands a lot and staying away from as many people as possible.  Hope you are too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Just some Chatter

Hi everyone. Hope everyone is still healthy and not going too stir crazy.
I actually had a really productive online class today with some of my students today (I meet with each class every other day except one of my classes that we meet every day.) I guess that is a sign we are getting into the swing of it, and I also believe the kids are actually happy to check in and have a little structure in their life. 
I also have to give a big kudos to Trader Joe's grocery store. I needed a few groceries so I stopped by after getting my allergy shot, and they are only allowing so many people into the store at a time (not sure the number but the store was empty enough that I could keep my 6 feet from people) and then handing you a freshly wiped down cart. And all the cash registers were open so there were no lines to wait and pay.  And even the allergist's office was pretty empty and only allowing in the patient. The seats in the waiting room were really spread out and it was only me and 1 other patient in there.
I am glad to see these changes.
So artwise, I have a tag today for the Bunnies and Butterfly challenge at Tag Tuesday
I am using this fun little bunny stamp that I have had for who knows how long. 
Hope you like it.
And I am also going to link up to Mia's pink and/or blue Craftlandia challenge.
And I don't know if I should show you this, but this is what I woke up to yesterday morning.

But the good news is that it's been back to springtime temperatures and the melt is in full swing.
The only bad thing now I need the road to dry out again (I live on a dirt/gravel road) before it is walkable again. Hopefully before the week is done.

Keep washing your hands and stay smart and safe.

Monday, March 23, 2020

T Stands for Life in the Time of the Virus

Hi everyone. I am starting week 2 of my teaching from home, and I was excited to see my ever demanding principal has softened her message dramatically. I guess enough people must have complained to her. 
And that takes a lot of stress off me, but I heard from a friend with a baby, and she is still feeling the tension. This online teaching is a big change.
I do feel like I have some rhythm to start the new week however, so that is a good thing too. But the bad news is a good dumping of snow is expected overnight tonight, so looks like spring will take a little bit longer before it appears. (Tomorrow is suppose to be nice though so maybe a lot of that snow will melt. Keep your fingers crossed for me please!)
I still have some pages from my  1957 Irish travel journal project left to share, and seeing it is still March I will share more this week. Plus I am jealous of those of you who some green outside already.
So let me pretend with this art project.
 This second photo is not as good but I did go back and stamp one of those Irish blessings on the page which I think finishes it off quite nicely.
I am linking up to Eileen's green challenge at Art Journal Journey The challenge runs until the end of month so if you are home hanging out and feel inspired to make some art, it would great if you could join her.
And since it is time for T again, stop by and join us at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog and share your drink related post. I will still share this photo from the other afternoon.
I had a cup of coco in this mug I bought in New Mexico.  It has some ancestral Pueblo  designs on it. 
And the pile of magazines behind the mug is one of the projects I need to do.Time to weed through and clean them. The Secret Journeys book was a gift from a friend this past Christmas, because she felt I would need to start planning my retirement travel. Of course right now I know when retirement will begin but not when I can start that travel.
My coffee table you see here (by the way) was something my husband built about 25 years ago. 
Otherwise life is quiet.  Thank goodness for art, books and tv. And the internet too. My social life is now totally revolving around technology, except for the hubby and the dogs.
I hope everyone is washing your hands. Stay healthy.
And Happy T day.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Happy Weekend

Hi everyone.
I hope everyone is having a nice weekend at home. I think that is where most of us are spending our time now. My big event was taking an early morning trip to the grocery store. The hubby went with me but because he is immune suppressed he  just waited in the car. I'm hoping the wind won't feel so cold tomorrow so I can get out for a walk, which would have been nice today, but oh well.  And Monday evening the prediction is for a pretty good dumping of snow. OH NO! Let's hope that changes.
But the real excitement of the day was spending most of my afternoon in my happy space with some extended art time. I got caught up on some challenge pieces, and then worked on my New Mexico travel journal. I thought I would share a few pages from that travel journal with you today.

I went back to a mini ring binder for this project. And mostly I been doing some collage style pages. But not  all. I found this travel magazine while in New Mexico, and it was even a freebie. I've been using lots of images from it, as well as some of the little write ups. 
I also added some stickers and business cards I picked up as well as some ephemera I had in my stash.
I used a bit of a map to outline our travels, as well as making a tag that explained those travels.

The right side of this last spread used an image out of the magazine, mainly because it reminded me so much of the view from our friends home in Taos. And on the left I made a page about our trip into Taos, off the beaten path., through the National Monument. 
This National Monument is one that celebrates the Rio Grande River gorge.  Here are photos of the upper part of the gorge and the very high bridge that goes over it.

But  my husband and I took the back way into town, as the main road into Taos would totally bypass the bridge. 
We started on the bottom of the gorge, next to the river. This is the same river you are looking down upon in the upper photos.
 And then we crossed the river over the bridge and started up a steep gravel road that wound back and forth around the sides of the gorge.

 And before we knew it we made it to the top of the gorge.
 Can you make out the river?
It was quite an exciting ride. And I think it was a highlight for my husband.
 And at the top of the gorge you come onto the large flat top of the mesa.
That dark line you can make out on the right of the photo is the edge of the gorge.
That's all for me today.
Thanks for visiting. And stay smart and healthy.

Friday, March 20, 2020

The Good and Bad of Working at Home

Hi everyone. Happy spring. My spring started off not very spring like.
But today we are suppose to have some really warm temperatures. So if this falling snow  hadn't turned to rain and melted yesterday, it would be gone today anyhow. But even though today it is supposed to be warm, we are suppose to get some rain. Oh well. It would have been a nice  day to pulled out a chair and soak up a bit of sun.

So today I want to talk about how my first week at teaching from home has been going.

Let's start with the Bad/ or maybe I should say the not as smooth as would be good. And I know some of these cannot be helped, but they still have to be dealt with.

1-The biggest issue:My principal has these outrageous expectations. That expectation word is hers. She  should worry more that kids are getting some education than we are checking off her boxes. It is not one size fits all. Now I am not letting what she says get to me because come mid-June, I am retiring. (57 school days, but who's counting?) I know they won't want to let me go during this virus situation, so what are they going to do? 
2-There is all this technology to figure out on my own.  I'm not too bad with technology but I am certainly not a whiz kid. There is a big learning curve for sure. (And I can contact tech support at school, but it would still be better if someone could show rather than having to decode their email.)
3-The hubby is working from home. That itself is not bad, except he has lots of conference calls with clients which makes it hard for me to work while he is on a call since we are sharing the table, and I don't want to interfere with the calls.
4- My department head put us all on a group text and although the support is good, the comments can be distractions. And at first people were texting at 9 PM and 6:30 AM. I finally turned off notifications. And we had an on-line department meeting and it was addressed.
5-I do miss seeing the kids in class.
6- The whole change is just plain stressful. But getting better. For now. For me. But I am getting word from some kids that they have teachers giving too much work.

The Good

1- We've had decent dinners each night because I can start cooking earlier than usual and I feel more ambitious because I haven't been out all day.  Plus with us both home the hubby cooks too.
2- No time lost commuting.  And it saves gas too. And I as I usually spend at least 45 minutes driving each way,  I have a lot more time for me instead of driving.
3-I can break up my day more. A few hours of serious work and then  a break. Yesterday was a nice spring day.  I took an hour off  and took the dogs out for a  longwalk.
 The  best advantage to living in the woods is I can walk and not meet a soul. Just a few cars going by.
It was a good stress buster. And I came back refreshed and more ambitious to work for a couple more hours.
4- I get to spend some nice time with the hubby. Since yesterday was so nice we packed our lunch and drove over to a local lake and had lunch in the car.  With the windows mostly shut, except for the sunroof, even though there was no one really around. It was a great little break. I did enjoy to be able to soak up a little sun rather than being stuck in a classroom.
There's still ice on the lake but it is melting in the bays. 
5- The dogs really like us being home, and I really like being home. I get to work in my sweats and comfy clothes.
6- And although I may sounds like I am goofing off, I am doing a lot of work. There are lots of emails to answer and on-line work coming in. And on-line work to send out, s well as little videos to film and then post for the kids. The good news is the kids have been in contact a lot too. I don't think I would want to work this way always, but in this weird time, I am doing the best I can.
And I know I won't mind retirement. I like being home.

And I have had some late afternoon art time a couple of days also. I have a new page for Eileen's green challenge at Art Journal Journey.
Times are strange and so is my page.
It is made some some stamps, paint, Stabilo pencils and some die cut letters. 

Have a great start to your weekend. I am ready for mine. 

Thursday, March 19, 2020


Hi everyone. Now that we have all become more or less homebodies and changed some of our habits, it is hard to believe that it was just three weeks ago my husband and I traveled to New Mexico. Boy things have changed so quickly. Now I wouldn't want to go anywhere, but 4 weeks ago when we left it was a different world.  I suppose at some point in the future we'll be back to normal again. Or maybe it will be a new normal.
Anyhow, back on our trip we did several National Monuments and Parks. Last week I took you to Bandelier, and today I will take you to Petroglyph National Monument, which is right in Albuquerque, the state's biggest city.
This park was formed because as the city was growing so quickly in the past in 30 years, miles of rocks covered with petroglyphs were found. Luckily  smart people got involved and had this place turned into a national monument before all the petroglyphs were lost.
This park is unusual as there are 3 different places were you can see these ancient rock drawings. All are hikes/walks of various lengths. As the day promised some rain, we chose the shortest trail, which should have been about a 2 mile round trip. Of course we did have some rain, and in order not to get all wet and having to sit in those wet clothes, we ended up not completing the entire trail. But we did probably make about a mile and half.
The petroglyphs were great though.

These are just a few. No one knows exactly what these mean. Perhaps directions along a trail, perhaps a story. They do think they belonged to the ancient Pueblo people, perhaps the same people who lived at Bandelier that I showed you last week.
I also saw a couple of cool birds while we walked.
 How about this roadrunner? He stood there and did several poses for me.

 And we saw this hawk.
You can see the rain off on the other side of the city and in the mountains.

I made a spread in my travel journal to remember this.

That's all for me today.
Be smart and safe and stay healthy!
Thanks for visiting.