Monday, February 28, 2022

T Stands for A Spring Like Day

 Hi everyone. Happy last day of February or first of March, depending when you read this. I am glad February is ending, even though it hasn't been the worst February I've ever experienced.  Let's keep our fingers crossed March will stay a little bit warmer with a nice gradual (but fast if that's possible) snow melt for those of you with snow.

Let's also keep our finger's crossed this mess in Ukraine will end soon with Ukraine remaining a sovereign nation. It has all been so needless all for one power hungry man's ego. I am posting a couple of photos from last summer as I read  (first on Jeanie's and then a few other places) that sunflowers are flower of Ukraine, and posting one shows your solidarity.

Happy T day also. On Tuesdays we join Bleubeard and Elizabeth and share our drink related posts over at  Bleubeard's and Elizabeth's blog.

 I really don't have a lot to share for T this week, but I do have some beach photos from earlier in February I thought I could post.

 These first  few are from a couple of weeks back when we were having a gorgeous 40 degree F (around 4.5 degrees C) day. I know for some of you this temperature would be cold, but for those of us in the north where we've had many days of well below freezing, this day was wonderful. You can see in this first photo there was still some snow left from a big storm we had recently had.

The storm that brought the snow did a lot of beach damage because there were also really high tides at the same time. The moon was in its phase (either full or new moon-I can't remember which) when these high tides are called spring tides, plus add the extra energy in the sea from the storm so the high tide water levels were really high.

You can see the seaweed and some wood scraps that washed up over sea wall  near the beach house at the state beach.

The other big damage was there were several pairs of stairs that obvious got ripped off of people's properties and washed into the state beach. This next photo shows 1 set of stairs that got washed over the sea wall. 

 You also can't see in this (above) photo that there was seaweed all the way back to where the cars are parked. The tide normally doesn't even go over the seawall, so that was one giant tide.

And here's some stairs that got washed up onto the rocks below the sea wall.

Last week we had a gorgeous day on Wednesday, and this time it was close to 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). A  walk at the beach meant you didn't even need a coat. I met my friend, and I brought along Maddie and Pete, because they could use the exercise too.

Of course they decided it was warm enough for a swim. Good thing I had a towel for them in my car, plus some old blankets on my seats. When the sand sticks to their wet fur it takes awhile before it all falls off. Smile.

After our morning beach walk my friend and I went out to lunch.  Covid numbers are down here so I decided it was time to enjoy a few things again, or at least before the next variant sends us back into isolation. (And I also knew my friend had been testing for covid several times over the last few weeks because 2 of her grandchildren  had ended up being positive, but all of my friend's tests had come back negative, and the grandchildren had once again tested negative and were back in school.)

You can  also see the restaurant (at least in this view) was pretty empty. 

I have a double shot for my ticket to T this week. On the left is the water they brought us at the table, and on the right is a blackberry cider I had with my salad. I'd never had blackberry cider before, but it was delicious. A mouthful started sweet and then you got that just slightly tart punch of the blackberries. I would definitely order this one again. Plus it is a great color.

That's about all that is new with me. I've been watching snow melt and then come back again when we had a good sized snow storm last Friday. And I've been working in the spare bedroom/craft room/ studio redo. 

Thanks for visiting my blog! Have a wonderful new month and Happy T day too. 

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Wrapping Up February

 Hi everyone. I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend. 

Another month is quickly winding down. March can be winter or March can be spring here in New Hampshire. One never knows what to expect.  Yet with my yearning for spring,  I am glad to say February is just about in the books. 

Today I have my last page for Elizabeth's "What's Your Style?" challenge at Art Journal Journey. I had a lot of fun playing with style this past month. Thank you Elizabeth for this fun challenge.

My page today has a winter theme, but  I am hoping we are wrapping that up as well as the month also. I am saying goodbye to winter (at least in my art) with this page.

My page began with a torn out magazine page as my background and some winter jackets cut out of the Amazon clothing ad booklet.  I stamped a few things in white on the background, and then I added these die cut snowflakes. I cut them out of silver metallic paper. After gluing them on my page, I added a little dot in the middle. The words also come from the Amazon ad booklet.

The idea of playing outside though is great at any time of year, but after several months of winter, it will be even better when I don't need a puffy jacket. Smile.

 I also have a tag for Pinky's challenge at Tag Tuesday. Her latest challenge is BINGO.

I didn't think I'd be able to participate in this challenge because most of my craft supplies are packed up at the moment with my craft room being redone and under construction. Then I remembered I had some bingo cards in a cloth hanging pocket  on the back of the door that goes in and out of the room. Most of my bingo cards are larger (I got them cheap and use them as pages), but in my stack I found 1 smaller card that was the perfect tag size. Hurrah.

Since my journal page has a cold theme, I thought I would go with a more warm weather theme with my bingo card tag. Sorry my tag is only referring to bingo with the card, but I did use little black dots on the flower chain like you'd dot out your number on a bingo card. That's the best I could do right now with so many supplies out of commission.

The quote says 'I am little but I bee fierce". I will feel like I won bingo once there are some flowers blooming and once I see (thinking positively here) that my bees made it through the winter. Smile.

Similar the last few weekends, I've been working with and without my husband on the spare bedroom/studio project.  Last week  I had some easy scraping to do.

When the people who built the house put up the closet (that we just pulled down), they never fully finished the inside. They took joint compound and spread it roughly over the inside of the sheetrock (as you can see in the photo), but they never painted it. Since the inside closet walls are now my room walls, we first thought we might have to pull down the sheetrock and put up new smooth sheetrock, but when we realized the sheetrock had never been painted, we tried taking spray bottles of water and scrapers. Low and behold, the old joint compound softened and came off without a lot of effort, meaning now we don't have to pull off sheetrock and can prime the walls. Hurrah. Getting the walls in the area done was my week’s project.

I also went out this past week and bought the flooring for the room, even though we don't need it yet. Costco was having a sale of $8 off a box that ends today/Sunday the 27th, so I wanted to decide whether to go with their flooring choices or not. 

I went out shopping to see what I wanted, and I have to say, I was shocked at how expensive some laminate flooring was. I don't want a junk floor, but it is a spare bedroom. Plus I will be getting messy in there, so I knew I didn't want to spend a huge amount on the floor. I would have liked a floor with a white stained look to keep the room brighter, but the one I really liked was $70 a box. After calculating what was needed, which was 10 boxes, that would have been a $700 floor.  Nope, I'll save my money for a trip or some other house project (because we have several of those also). 

Costco online had 2 different white floors, but you had to have samples snail mail sent to you (seeing I couldn't find those floors anywhere else around me to see what they looked like in person), and they were hard to tell over the internet exactly what they would look like in the room. Plus, even though  shipping is free from Costco online, they charge a bit more online for the boxes of flooring to make up for that free shipping, but they are still half the price of a $70  box.

When I'd gone to Costco earlier in the week and looked at what they sold in the store, I didn't mind this brownish rustic hickory looking floor.  I thought it would work with our post and beam/rustic house. I didn't buy it then because I was still thinking white. After I did my floor shopping later in the week, I decided  the Costco brown floor would work, and I could save a bunch of money too. Off I went, and got my 10 boxes of flooring, which was $8 cheaper a box than the same floor would have been from Costco online.  Another thing checked off the list.

I'm hoping today we can get the ceiling ripped down in the closet area. That is also covered with this same textured sheetrock as the walls were, and we are going to put up a tongue and groove wood ceiling in this part of the room. Since my house is post and beam, half of the room already has  a permanent wood ceiling. I'm going to give this ceiling a light white stain to make up for the brown floor that is going in. We've done that in other parts of the house, and it looks nice.

OK, enough said. Sorry for babbling on so much in this post. Enjoy your what's left to your weekend.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Sweater Weather

Hi everyone. Happy almost weekend. Can you believe this will be  the last weekend of February? Wow. I know February is a shorter month than the rest, but it still seemed to fly right by.

This month we've had some spring like temperatures that teased us into thinking of warmer times, along with some cold, but February and sometimes March can be tough months.  At least for me,  especially if I can't get outside or walk. Funny how something as simple as a walk or being outside can make you feel so happy. Depending on the snow and other weather events, of course, depends how much I can get outside. This year I have definitely felt it during  February, mainly because we've had a lot of ice.  In many ways, I am REALLY ready for March to begin. 

Add to that we have a big snow right now. It started overnight night and there's more to come today. (Grumble, grumble. )

My playful journal page is one I should have posted earlier in the month because I would not be upset if the snow (after today) was over for the year. (Wishful thinking hoping on my part-smile.) Although I must say, I am always into sweater weather, even if it is just a light throw.

I used a stencil and spray paints, as well as an evergreen tree stamp. The lady is TH found relative, and the kitty is a TH stamp that I stamped, colored and fussy cut. The quote comes from the same set. I finished off my page with a few glass-like snowflakes as well as some silver "bead" powder.

This page is definitely my art style, and sweaters are my clothing style, so I've hit Elizabeth's "What's Your Style?" challenge over at Art Journal Journey in 2 ways. I don't mind a nice  scarf either when its cold. 

I will cut my post off here before my  snowing downer mood sinks this whole post. Spring WILL be here soon enough.  Have a great start to your weekend. And as always, thanks for visiting.


Thursday, February 24, 2022

Asian Style

Hi everyone. February is starting to wind down. I've  noticed the days getting longer,  which gives me a lot more energy. It is exciting to watch spring arrive, even if it is a bit slow here in New Hampshire  compared to some of you have elsewhere in the world. 

(And I'm not mentioning the weather due tomorrow. I'm going to be like the ostrich and stick my head in the sand.)

Today I have another page for Elizabeth's "What's Your Style?" challenge at Art Journal Journey. I like to play around with my own take on Asian style journal pages, and that's what I have to share today.

I hadn't attached this page to the white paper when I took this photo, but I liked the white background around the edge, so I ended up attaching the page onto the other sheet of paper.

The background is collaged paper, painted wax paper, printed tissue paper and gelli print pieces on deli wrap paper.  The frame is made with  stencil and some texture paste. Once dry, I used brown and grey paint on it. Originally it was wider.

I cut the edges a bit because my "frame" was too thick. I like it a bit more rough  as it is now.

The Geisha is a stamped imaged that I colored and fussy cut out. I framed her with a scrap frame from my work table. (Back when I had my old work table. I usually make pages a few weeks in advance.) I stamped the quote on white paper and cut it out. I chose that phrase as the misty seemed to work with the colors on my page. Then I added a few plastic gemstones to finish off the page.

Today is my turn to share a bit of Japan in my travel reminiscing. Many of you know I traveled to Japan back in 2018 with the school where I worked. These (pre-covid) annual trips between my school and the community of Nichinan, Japan occurred because of a treaty signing event that  is illustrated in the painting (found in this photo) below.

This is a painting of the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth, which occurred in 1905 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was partly brokered by President Theodore Roosevelt (for which he won a Nobel Peace Prize even though he never even traveled to Portsmouth). The Japanese signer of this treaty was from Nichinan, and I taught at Portsmouth High School. That is the sister city connection between the 2 communities. I took this photo when we visited the peace treaty museum. It is still a major historical moment  for Japan.

Unfortunately this treaty put Korea under control of Japan and also gave Japan control of the Manchurian Peninsula.  The Korean Declaration of Independence from Japan came in 1919. Manchuria stayed under Japanese and then Russian control longer.  And it came under Chinese control in 1949 where it remains today.

It was fascinating to visit Nichinan, which is located at the very southern tip of the southern most  main island that make up Japan. Here's a few things we saw.

This is a view  of Obi Castle. Some of this castle burned but has since been rebuilt.  It originated in 1588 and was the home of the local ruling group. When this was rebuilt, the original town area was also rebuilt. That also was quite interesting to see.

Here's old "city", but this area of Japan was quite rural so I'm not sure it was actually a city.

In the water running along either side of the road were koi fish.

We visited a National Park at Cape Toi. One thing this park is known for is the wild horses there. They originated when local farmers mechanized and then released their unneeded horses into the area.

We saw some amazing views. This Nichinan area is quite lovely.

As we traveled with the school, we spent some time doing some school related activities. I love how so many students bicycle to school.

We also visited the off season training home to the Hiroshima Toyo Carps. There was no game going on as the season had begun and the Carps had moved back to Hiroshima. Baseball, as you might know, is huge in Japan. The school we visited has one of the premier baseball teams in the nation. It is like at US colleges, where very good players are recruited. They will then practice and play baseball during the entire school year, and even live in a separate campus,

And by total chance we were able to visit this tropical greenhouse south of the city. This was part of the complex  where some very special mangoes were grown. No one was allowed into the mango greenhouse, but those mangoes sold for  $30 for 1. This greenhouse was filled with some tropical flowers, tropical trees and also coffee plants with seeds ready to pick.

Here are photos of the $30 mangoes you can buy. I guess buying them is a big tourist attraction, but we did not buy any.

And these bean paste pastry treats were remarkable.

None of us thought we would enjoy the Moss Museum, but it ended up being a highlight at least for the 2 of us who were biology teachers. We were lucky the year we went. There were 5 science teachers and only 8 kids. The 5 of us were all friends to begin with, and the 8 kids were wonderful. It ended up being an amazing group to travel with.

April was boy's month in Japan, and these koi fish kites were flown as a symbol to represent that. Homes with male children would fly this koi fish kites outside of them. These were taken outside the treaty museum. 
Sadly girls month had already come and gone, but it would have been interesting to see how they celebrated.

One other place of note is one of the many shrines we visited. This one was in Nichinan right along the ocean.

And finally, one of my favorite parts of the trip, though our Japanese hosts did not get why we wanted to do this. We visited Monkey Island, where the University of Kyoto was studying the Japanese Macaques and how they wash their food. It started with one monkey washing their food, and then soon they all were washing their food.

This is the biologist (in the next photo) we traveled with, and he is throwing them food of some sort as part of his study. Here they were gathering it up. They weren't really washing this food. It was being spread to bring them out of the forests where they tend to stay. We did see monkeys actually washing their native foods, which were  wild fruits.

Just so you know, these were wild monkeys, and we were not allowed to go near or handle them. And they also said don't look them in the eye as they could get nasty.

Hope you didn't mind my travel memories of a few spots in Nichinan we visited. We also visited Kyoto and Tokyo while we were there, but I think this post is long enough.

It was fun to write this post and reminisce of days when traveling was so much easier than now. Thanks for sticking with me this far too. 


Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Wednesday Pizza Talk

Hi everyone. Happy middle of the week.

Today for Kathy's Food Wednesday post.  I have a meal we make usually once a week in my house. It's pretty obvious what it is.

I have this cast iron pan which I love and almost always make my pizza in. I can use it in the oven, but I can also put it right on the grill when the weather is warm. It actually crisps my crust up even better on the grill than in my oven, but in the winter, I just use the oven.

We don't always use the same toppings, but last week we used pepperoni, onions and some chopped up left over chicken. I would have added some green pepper, but we didn't have any.

I almost always make my own crust, usually sourdough. It's a good way to use my discard sourdough and then feed my culture. Here's my dough recipe, which basically comes from King Arthur Flour.

1 cup sourdough starter
1 tsp. of yeast
a dash of salt
1/2 cup or 4 ounces of warm water
10.5 ounces of flour
1/4 cup or one large unmeasured handful (how I measure this)  of assorted harvest grain blend-you can add more or less depending on how much "crunch" you want in your dough

Here's the harvest grain blend product I use from King Arthur flour; photos are from their website. I know there are other ones out there that are probably just as good, but I haven't tried them.

I usually like to make my dough in the morning and let it have a slow rise in the fridge. I take it out a couple of hours before dinner time.  I have also made dough and let it sit in the fridge for several days before using it. 

Do you use a scale when you bake? I never did until I went to a one week basic pastry school several summers ago.  I really prefer it, but most recipes here in the US aren't written that way. One thing I learned in this class is how much 1 cup of flour can actually vary, depending on the type or even brand of flour you use, but not with the the scale. I also like the scale because I can use recipes in metric. It does open up a whole range of recipes. And  it brings back my lab days measuring out things on a scale in various science labs. Hee hee. For me at least, I love my little kitchen scale. 

I do know that generations of bakers didn't have scales and also made some yummy things, so I'm not writing about scales to make anyone think my baking is better with one or other's baking isn't good without one. 

That's it for me today. Thanks Kathy for hosting this link up also. 


Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Add Some Texture

Hi everyone.  Happy Tuesday.

Our "All Loved Up" challenge at Try It On Tuesday has come to end. Thanks to everyone who joined us. Yet when one thing ends another begins, so today I want to share our new challenge theme which is 

Add Some Texture.

My page started with a not so fantastic CitraSolve transfer. You can see the red flower just above the middle of the page, along with the yellow/green background around it. I then added bits of printed tissue and painted paper around that image.

I had this quote which I cut out of an ad that I liked, and I decided to make my page about it. Margot and Francine are relaxing and listening to some music. I cut 2 small pieces of kraft paper to make their seats. Then I used my sewing machine and stitched and stitched and stitched some more to give the background some texture.  It does add interest to the page, doesn't it? I think I need to do this much stitching more frequently.

Finally I used a black Sharpie and a musical stencil to add the notes. For those of you who can read music, I didn't realized I put the staff on upside down until after I did it, and by then it would have been a big mess to fix it. I does look pretty interesting upside down though. 

I hope Margot and Francine are enjoying some down time and the music too.

Don't forget at Try It On Tuesday you have 2 weeks to join our challenge, and any kind of art is welcome. Be sure to check out the other great examples from our design team. They never fail to have great ideas. 

I'm also linking up my page to 2 other challenges. First of all I am once again joining Bleubeard and Elizabeth over at Art Journal Journey. This month their challenge is "What's Your Style?"
I am also linking up to River of Creativity, and their challenge this month is "Anything Goes". 

I hope to see your textured art at Try It On Tuesday in the next 2 weeks.
Thanks for visiting.

Monday, February 21, 2022

T Stands for a Nice Saturday Afternoon

 Hi everyone. Happy new week. It is time for T again over at Bleubeard's and Elzaibeth's blog.

This week for T I have some photos and a drink to share that go back to a warm Saturday a few weeks back. Later in the afternoon my husband and I went out for a short drive to the Big Lake at Alton Bay, about 15 minutes away. There was a lot of action on the ice, as well as some pretty views.

I'll start with the views, which are pretty even if they don't show a lot of the lake.

And what really caught my eye in this next photo was the interesting look of the  melted water on the ice. It was near 50 degrees F or 10 degrees C that day. There is still over a foot of ice below the puddles, so it is safe to go out on or even land a plane on. You can see the snowmobile in the photo too, or just barely see something there. It could be a jet ski with the spray of water behind it.

Down at the  base of the bay there was a lot of ice fishing action.

It bet it was a nice day to ice fish. Usually is it so cold. You can also see the truck with a trailer in this last lake photo. I wonder if someone had pulled snowmobiles  out onto the ice.

It was spring like that day, and I had an ice cream craving. There aren't many places open for ice cream at this time of year, but at the one restaurant in my town, you can go inside the restaurant and get ice cream to go since their window is closed. My husband and I each had frappes. I've mentioned this before, how here in New England a frappe is milk, syrup and ice cream, just like a milk shake would be in other places (or at least places I am familiar with).

My choice (which you can't see) is coffee ice cream, coffee syrup and milk. The hubby prefers chocolate. We got our frappes before we went down to the lake so we could enjoy our summery treat while we watched the world go by on the ice. 

That's my ticket to T this week.
Thanks for visiting. Have a great T day and week ahead.