Friday, December 31, 2021

It's The End of 2021: More California Trip Photos

 Hi everyone.

Happy last day of the year.  2021 was a pretty good year for me. How about for you?

Since yesterday I posted my last AJJ  for December, and it's still too early for a new January challenge, I thought today would be a good day to share a few more California photos from trip back in November. 

Today I'm taking you here.

The hubby looks good in his blue against the white wall.

It's a great aquarium, and they not only had some fascinating sea creatures, they also had some fun art displayed.

They had some really interesting giant tanks too. This one connected to the harbor outside and displayed the giant kelp forests which are found in this area.

And did you know moray eels could smile at you?

The aquarium is at the site and in the building  of an old sardine canning factory. That was a big industry in Monterey many years back, and so here's a school sardines. Watching schools of fish swim through the water is really fascinating. 

If you're interested in old Monterey, John Steinbeck wrote some novels about life there which you could check out. I've never read his book Cannery Row, but I have read several other of his books. He was an excellent writer.

These metal fish are really cool. I wish they sold them as I'd get a couple to hang at home.

The aquarium had this giant tank with some local fish including some tuna, more sardines and a Pacific sunfish.  They had a little "show" where a couple of divers went in to feed them, and that's when I took this photo. Unfortunately for my photo, the railing on the second level, where we were, ran across my photo.

And if you've watched jellyfish in a tank before, wouldn't a big tank of jellyfish would be great to have on a wall in your bedroom? Watching them float  and glide in the water is not only interesting but so relaxing. Watching them might mesmerize you into a deep sleep.

And I love this cool Asian print of squid.

Cephalopods like squid are so interesting to watch. The cuttlefish is a favorite of mine. I didn't see any at the aquarium though.
And aren't these ancient style vases cool?

And I don't know which was better, the otters in the aquarium's tank

or the otters frolicking in the bay.

They also had an exhibit of some sea "creatures" created out of ocean trash.

This last one is the giant Pacific trash gyre.

And finally for this post, a few more sea creatures. I'll start with another cephalopod.

And this tropical view that looks like a painting.

Here's a s shark in the giant kelp forest tank,

and more schooling fish in the big tank.

This Pacific puffin who came over to visit me while I looked in.

Sea pens-I can see where they got their name.

Also here's some  cool anemones,

Can you find the flatfish (flounders) in the next photo?

And lastly, I always wondered what sand dollars looked like under the sea. You sometimes find their empty shells on the beach, but I had never seen them in their watery environment.

I hope you're last day of the year is a good one. Happy rest of 2021.

And if I haven't already wished you  a Happy Neww Year already, I hope your 2022 is full of happiness, joy, good health and a little less covid worry than we have now. 

Thanks for visiting me during 2021 also. It is always much appreciated!
Hugs to you all!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Your Home Is Your Castle

 Hi everyone. The old year is winding down quickly, isn't it?  I hope you've been enjoying your last few days of 2021. 

Does anyone have any big plans for New Years Eve? We're not very exciting and with covid, not even a little bit exciting.  We used to go out to eat and catch a movie, but this year we'll once again be home. Which is OK with me. This Omicron variant sounds  way too easy to catch.

Today I want to share my last page for Valerie's challenge at Art Journal Journey. This month her challenge is When One Door Opens Another One Closes, and I chose to use lots of doors for my page today. 

Half my page is painted, and the other half is covered with some cloud paper I've had in my stash for years.

On the cloudy left side, I added lots of Art by Marlene punch out buildings. I wanted them all to be castles but I was one short for the number of clouds on the paper. On the left I painted the page with some tan paint and stamped some pink and blue painted circles using an empty tape role. I also stitched that side and added the lace, as well as one house.

My thoughts on this was page was that no matter what or where your home is, it is your castle.  If you are a dreamer, then maybe you dream about living in an actual castle too.

THANK YOU Valerie for this fun challenge. I know it's a tough month to host because people are busy, but you inspired us with so many great pages. I had a lot of fun making door pages too.

I've been having a low key week. Afterall its "Twixmas", which is a new word for me.  It will also be a short work week for my husband as Friday is a holiday. 

One thing I've been doing is getting my 2022 journal ready to go.

I don't know why I wrote only Columbus Day and didn't add Indigenous Peoples Day. Hmm. I need to fix that.
It's just about time to start the new journal and put away this 2021 journal (photo below).

Hope your day is going well, and thanks so much for visiting.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

After the BIG Snowstorm

Hi everyone.  Happy Wednesday.

I'm back today with a page for Valerie's When One Door Opens Another One Closes challenge at Art Journal Journey.  I drew a lot of  houses in December, and I decided to draw this house to match the season, so even if you don't have snow or didn't have a white Christmas, it might still feel like winter. I know some of you are having unseasonably warm weather, and  so if you don't have winter weather, perhaps you can get your winter fix through this art journal page. (Or count yourself lucky, your choice.)

Luckily, we haven't had this big snowstorm here, at least not yet. There's the possibility of a bit of more snow this coming weekend, but that's still too far off to know for certain at this point.

I started my page by drawing the snow line and then the house. I added the details and some colors. The sky is colored with a Gelato and then  smoothed out with some water and a paint brush. I then gave the roof a wash of snow, and I painted the snow with some acrylic paint, using my smooshing brush (a brush in not the best of shape due to previous paint smooshing) to create a bit of texture. I fixed up my black lines be be sure they were sharp. Then I drew in the shovel and added the text. 
With this amount of snow, even if you could open the door, I think the front entrance way would fill up with snow as a lot of it would tumble inside. I hope whoever lives in that house has a plow or snowblower though, because they would have awfully sore arms after shoveling that much of the white stuff. Smile.

That's it for me today. Have a great middle of your week!


Monday, December 27, 2021

T Stands for UNO

 Hi everyone. 

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend. Mine was great; it flew right by, and now we are into the last few days of 2021. 

Last week I showed you the Harry Potter hat I was hoping to finish for my daughter for Christmas. I "forced" myself to sit down one afternoon last week (before the holiday) and watch a couple of movies so I could knit.  Then on the morning of the 24th, my husband and I drove over for a visit with my MIL and my SIL (plus her family).  Since my MIL is living over in Maine with my SIL 90 minutes away and also since my husband was driving, I could sit and  knit the hat during the ride. I can happily say I finished the hat.

I can also happily say it was a hit with my daughter too.

It is already time for T again. Be sure to stop by Bleubeard's and Elizabeth's blog to see what everyone has been up to. I thought I would share a couple of Christmas photos this week for T.

My daughter and her fiance arrived during the afternoon of Christmas Eve. The fiance's family decided it was best to wait on their Christmas celebration. Your might recall that his sister had come down with covid. We kept hearing his sister luckily wasn't too sick, but then on Christmas, when Zach was talking with his grandfather, he heard his sister was actually pretty sick which is why the Christmas celebration was postponed. Hopefully Zach's sister is recovering, and hopefully his Mom will go get vaccinated now. I know Zach has been worried about them.

On Christmas Eve, while dinner was cooking, we had some fun and quite passionate games of UNO.

If you aren't familiar with UNO, it is a card game where the winner is the first person to get rid of all the cards in their hand.  Everyone starts with 7 random cards. The cards come in 4 colors (red, blue, green and yellow). Cards are also numbered. If a yellow 4 is played, the next person to go can play another yellow card or they can play a 4 card of another color. Some cards also cause the next player to skip a turn, pick up 2 or 4 new cards, to reverse the direction of play or are wild cards where the color can be changed. If  someone can't play a card, then they need to pick up a card, or as we play,  they need to keep picking up  cards until they can actually play a card. My daughter brought her Disney set, and unlike  regular UNO, this set has cards that force everyone to switch hands also.

UNO has a lot of tradition in my family. My husband and I ( as well as our other friends) used to play a lot of UNO back in college, and we played even more UNO when my daughter was younger and lived at home. Because of that, this game  has some competitive history and what I could describe as strong comments, all meant in fun. It was a good time and a good way to spend Christmas Eve.

From my husband's expression I think he's going to make a nasty play.

You can see my husband's beer can and my partial glass of wine in these photos. They are my ticket to T this week.

We decided to take a morning family group photo before we opened our Christmas presents on the morning of the 25th, and since I forgot to get a photo of my daughter's fiance as we played UNO, here's a family portrait to wrap up my post.

Have a wonderful rest of of 2021, a very happy T day, and I wish you a very happy start to the new year.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

The Morning After

 Hi everyone.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend and holiday if you celebrate. And maybe you are lucky enough to have an extended holiday too. 

We had snow and then freezing rain and then more snow on Christmas. I was glad my daughter and her fiance came on Christmas Eve as the news reported there were over 100 accidents on Christmas morning due to the bad roads. 

This morning it is grey but pretty outside.  My daughter's fiance left early since he is seeing some friends who are back in the area for the holiday for brunch. My daughter is here until tomorrow, and my husband is even taking tomorrow off, so my holiday weekend is getting extended also. 

My holiday was wonderful, and Santa was very good to me. He brought me a big set colored Sharpies, a Harry Potter throw with Hedwig the snowy owl all over it, a new bird house to put in the garden come spring as well as the bee hive set up I wanted so I can have 2 hives next year. No complaints about this Christmas for certain!

I have another door page to share over at Art Journal Journey. There's still a week to join Valerie's challenge which by now you probably know is When One Door Opens, Another One Closes

My page started with some spray paint on some watercolor paper. Once that dried I added some images that I cut out of a sheet of scrapbooking paper. I also added a few sticky pearls and a few glassy snowflakes. I finished my page with a bit of random stitching. 

The lady on my page has a story I am sure. I wonder who or what she is looking at. She doesn't look really excited at her view, but perhaps she is not yet certain who or what is coming. Since it is snowing, she had better get inside the door soon before she gets too cold. Her dress is beautiful but probably not the warmest.

I hope everyone enjoys their Boxing Day or day after Christmas if it doesn't have a name where you live.
Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

The Gingerbread House

 Hi everyone. Happy almost Christmas to you.

Today will be my last post until after this weekend's Christmas holiday, but I wanted to share this gingerbread house journal page I made with you. I'm quite happy how it came out, especially since I was just randomly cutting paper to make it. 

Most of today's page is drawn and fussy cut by me.  The only thing I die cut was the mini gingerbread people.

I used brown craft paper for the gingerbread structure, including the roof, as it looks like bakes gingerbread. I did however cover the roof in some of this designed paper, which reminded me of the candy you might use to make the roofing shingles on a gingerbread house. The doors and window are colored with paint to give them their color, much as you might melt hard sugar candies or isomalt sugar to create the glass. When I finished, I sprayed the page with some white sparkle ink.

I am linking up to Valerie's When One Door Closes Another One Opens  challenge at Art Journal Journey If you can't tell I've had lots of fun making houses (still some to come) this month. My dad was an architect, and as a kid I used to draw houses and house plans using his tools. He'd look over my design and tell me what would work and what wouldn't. My dad didn't design houses himself as he worked on a lot of public buildings like schools and medical arts structures, but he would still tell me if my house design would create a nice looking home, or not. I haven't drawn houses for a long time, and this has been fun.

I've made several gingerbread houses over the years, and you would think this year, being home, I might try my hand it another one, but somehow this month has really gotten away from me. I'll put it on next year's list and see how things are going then. Smile.

If you celebrate the Christmas holiday, I hope you have a wonderful day. And even if you don't, have a wonderful weekend. 

Merry Christmas to you from me. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Baking Cookies

Hi everyone.  Happy first full day of winter (or summer) to you.

I want to squeeze in a couple of holiday pages with doors today and tomorrow. Today's page is about a task I've been doing a bit of lately, baking holiday cookies. 

And if you haven't figured it out, my door today is the oven door.  It is full of cookies that are browning and making the house smell delicious. 

The top left corner of my oven image isn't staying glued down very well. Grrr. Now it looks all wrinkly. Grrrr. Think of it as a little dent. Smile.

I started by die cutting these cookies. Then I randomly glued them down on my page.  After that I took a purple Gelato crayon and scribbled it around the empty spaces, using a wet brush afterwords to soften it and be sure it spread out over most of the paper.

The stove is another die cut. I added that to the page, outlined the details and added lots of little die cut cookies in the oven. Yes, if they were real cookies and they looked like that while they were baking in the oven, the baker would be in big trouble.

I  used some clear drying glue over the glass panel on the oven door. I also used a light grey marker and a black pen to give the oven a bit more depth and shadow on the right.

After that I stamped the quote and the other baking supplies using a very old Hero Art set from my collection.

I've baked a few batches of cookies already this year, but I'm trying not to go overboard . At least for Christmas my daughter will be home to help eat them. 

What I really want to make for Christmas is a Norwegian Kransekake. 

This photo is the Paul Hollywood version I pulled off the internet. 

I bought the molds to make one last year but never got around to it, and I've wanted to try one, so I will be making it for Christmas.  I'll let you know how it comes out.

That's all for me today. I hope your week is going well.

Thanks for visiting.


Monday, December 20, 2021

T Stands for Ranch Dressing

Hi everyone.

Happy first day of winter (or if you're down south of the equator happy first day of summer) to you.  I'm never excited about the length of winter here in New Hampshire, but after today, at least the days start to slowly get longer. 

Can you believe that Christmas is just a few days away? 

I need to do some meal planning this week for the holiday, wrap a few last gifts due to a change in the holiday situation (more about that in a minute), and I have a bit of holiday baking I want to finish. Writing it here it doesn't sound like much, but I feel like I have a busy schedule this week.

I'm hoping I can finish knitting this hufflepuff Harry Potter hat for my daughter by Christmas, but I'm not certain that will happen.

I've been knitting every night for the last few weeks, but this hat is made on really small needles (US size 2, UK size 12 and European size 2.75 mm) so several rows of knitting only amounts to a small amount of hat increase.  The checkerboard part is easy because it is a pattern, but the hufflepuff insignia is not a pattern and takes more concentration as every row is different. Plus, it has to be perfect in order for the insignia to look like it is supposed to look.  I'm having fun knitting it though, and I'm really happy how its coming along. 

And if I don't finish it, then she'll just get it after Christmas.

During our Saturday snow event I did bake a few more cookies:
sugar cookies for my husband and

gingerbread cookies for my daughter and myself.

I also tried these chocolate crinkles just because I've seen photos of them, and they look so yummy. (They taste it too.)

I wish cookies didn't have any calories or sugar so I just keep baking and eating them. Smile.

For T this week, I have this photo and a little story behind it.

For Christmas our daughter was supposed to be coming home. Well she still is, but her fiance is most likely coming also. I feel bad for him because he planned to be with his immediate family for Christmas, but at the end of last week his sister was diagnosed with covid. He wants to postpone his family Christmas get together until after his sister is past her quarantine period, which makes sense, but his Mom sounds like she doesn't want to do that. 

Luckily last I heard his sister isn't very sick, but his mom is not vaccinated ( as his sister wasn't either), and his mom doesn't seem to understand that just because his sister is only mildly ill, she could catch covid and get very ill. Of course there's no way of knowing that, but the situation is causing all kinds of issues for his family. My daughter's fiance's dad is vaccinated, and he wants to postpone their Christmas celebration also. 

I don't know what will happen yet, but right now we have to plan that her fiance will be joining us. That is not a problem at all for us. The only thing we want to do is to be sure he feels included. That means we want him to have a Christmas stocking on Christmas morning as we still do stockings with little gifts for each other (like candy, chapstick/lip balm and and maybe a new toothbrush), and we want him to have a couple more gifts under the tree to open as we open ours.  

This put us into last minute shopping mode. We already had him a big gift, but we needed small things. We know him pretty well, but not well enough to know, for example, what kind of socks he likes or what little Lego set (he and my daughter are huge Lego fans) he might like.

My daughter is taking care of some of the shopping, but one thing she told us he loves is Chick-Fil-A ranch dressing, which he's had trouble finding. One place she knew we could buy it was at the Chick-Fil-A food truck. As we don't have any Chick-Fil-A's fast food restaurants around us, there is a food truck that comes to various shopping areas and has a limited menu.

Anyhow, to shorten this novel, this past Saturday the food truck was in Kittery, Maine. Since the hubby and I didn't have a lot we needed to do, we decided to drive down and get the fiance some sauce for Christmas.

Kittery isn't too far away, and as you can see, we were successful getting him his sauce. 

We also grabbed sandwiches for lunch, which we can see in my photo still in its wrapper with the Diet Coke I brought from home.  That's my photo for T this week.
Don't forget to stop by Bleubeard's and Elizabeth's blog for this week's T.

Now I just need to wrap his few gifts, but I'm waiting a few days so that if he doesn't come with my daughter on the 24th, we can  put aside his small gifts until his birthday or do something else with them.  Except the Ranch dressing, which we will give him anyhow.

Thanks to all of you who sent me a Christmas card too. I still need to photograph and post those, but I was out all day today and didn't get a chance to do that.

 For those of you I only "see" on Tuesdays, I wish you a wonderful Christmas and week ahead. And of course that goes for everyone who stops by also.

Happy Holidays!