Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sometimes you need to change your methods...

I have been a Sudoku fan for a long time, and always carry a small puzzle book in my purse for those unavoidable waiting in line times, and I always have a puzzle magazine in the bathroom (easy ones that get done quickly). I admit I do not like the hard ones -- no patience for the long time they take to solve, but I enjoy the medium difficulty ones a lot.

Last summer when I was in Alaska I taught my friend Evie how to do Sudoku puzzles. I showed her my way of going through the numbers one at a time like I show my students when they want to learn how to do the puzzles I have in my "Spare Time" box in the classroom.

... and recently I realized my own solving method had morfed into something different from how I taught other people how to play. I find there is a combination method to solving the puzzles that takes them a box at a time rather than just by numbers in order that works better for me -- no earth shattering news but it seemed like a metaphor for other things in my life that maybe needed to change.

Why? Well as I look around at my messy art room and messy house I see that my old ideas of how to keep things in order no longer work for me.

Time to do something else.

I have had to change how I work with my kids at school lately because a lot of the old methods we could use when the kids actually followed directions don't work anymore. Short attention spans maybe, lack of manners definitely (group work turns into gossip or yelling fests), and so I have had to change my methods.
And I am realizing with a great epiphany this morning that how I approach so many things are going to need a revamp.
Time to do something else.

Maybe it is because in 9 short weeks I will be retired, or maybe I am just tired of my old ways of not cooperating with myself (it is all me of course, I am my worst critic and worst plan derailer)...

No other answers here really, just the call out to myself to start rethinking my methods of living my life and being happy about it...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fitbit free and lots of flowers...

Today was Day 1 Fitbit free. I decided to take a break from counting my steps because I found it was holding me hostage... I would check it all the time and be bothered when it wasn't registering right, and finally it was creating way more stress than I need right now. I already know my patterns: I walk more when I am at school in the course of a day and need to purposefully walk or move more on the weekends. Doesn't take an electronic gadget to tell me that. One less thing to keep track of in my life. I like that.

And lately I have been feeling very stressed enough from other things. I noticed that when I was on my yoga mat before class this morning. I had a hard time stilling my thoughts -- they were all over the map! I am glad at least I got myself out of the house for yoga because at the end of it I did feel less stressed, and a slight bit taller. I love how all the stretching makes me feel and for a while I think I walk taller and more aligned. Of course then I went home and got on the computer and hunch up and probably ruined it all but it was nice while it lasted!

And finally all the bulbs and flowers Andy has been planting in the garden are really exploding with color! Oddly however, we have a ton of yellow poppies coming up. Lovely but he thought he planted red ones! Too bad we don't still have the bag they came in, but anyway they are very pretty.

The freesias just smell divine! They are definitely in my top 3 of favorite spring flowers! And the poppies are going wild! Wish we had a larger area of them planted (like the whole front lawn?) I have never liked grassy areas in gardens although I know we need some for when our dog goes outside, but if I could have what I really wanted I would go for the unkempt English cottage garden look any day!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A different crocus...

Lately every day I go outside a new crocus has come up! Andy planted them this time and I am loving all the color variations. There are some white ones too but I love this variegated purple one!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Same crocus...

Photo app.

Later thoughts...

Whoa! WAAAAYYYYY to big here!

Ok I like this app, it is fun and a little different for me but... just like the phone pic, there is no way to regulate the size of the photo and that I don't like. Ok, now I know to just save the photo and post it the way I usually do from Flickr or my computer.

By the way, the app is from A Beautiful Mess.


Crocus in the rain.

Posting this as a test from my phone.

Later thoughts from my computer...

1. Photo is too big.
2. There is no way to adjust the size of the photo upload from the phone (that I know of, if there is please tell me!)
3. It is a pain to type out blog stuff on my phone. Guess my fingers are too fat!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I know, I know, it's only February...

But I have been thinking lately a lot about my intentions for my first trip this summer once I have retired… (partly because I have to start making reservations and partly because it is just so exciting to think about!)

It will be a relatively local and short trip for me, just to DC and NJ on the East Coast and then to Nova Scotia. The East coast part will be to visit one of my cousins and an old friend from High School with whom I have reconnected thanks to Facebook. They are both named Barbara so I call that part the 2 Barbaras tour. Then I will head to Nova Scotia and that is where the intentions come in.

After a lot of searching on the Internet I found there were so many places I wanted to visit that I had to prioritize and figure out just what it was I wanted to see and do there. So I came up with these three things:

  1. To listen to Celtic music and go to a few Ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee and is a traditional Gaelic social gathering, which usually involves playing Gaelic/Celtic folk music and dancing). I absolutely love Celtic fiddle music.
  2. To enjoy nature there and wander along a few beaches to find some sea glass, especially more rounded older pieces (and if I am lucky, in some of the less common colors.) I also want to see some puffins either from a boat tour off the northern part of Cape Breton Island or a more complicated trip to an island nesting site from New Brunswick. And speaking of nature... getting to see a sun rise from the Altantic, which is why I went to Nova Scotia the first time about 40 years ago!
  3. To visit a few of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in as I like to do when I travel. I am focusing on a few in Nova Scotia but maybe I will also find some in DC and NJ for the East Coast part of the trip.

So just in the planning and dreaming stages... more to come.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Friday florals on Saturday...

I am slowly getting back to things this weekend...

Went outside this morning and saw these bits of Spring playing in the flower pots. Cheered me up enough to get a few photos and make a blog post. Spent some time yesterday starting to plan out a summer trip. Slowly life is getting back to normal.

And thanks to all of you new folks who joined my blog and/or left a message on the Grow Your Blog post. I am (very) slowly getting around to visiting your blogs. Thank you in advance for your patience!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Saying goodbye to another cat...

We had to say goodbye today to our dear Perseus... (Kidney failure) He came into our lives nearly 19 years ago already maybe 6 months to a year old... so he had a wonderful full life here with us. He and Pandora got along so well. When she died, he started going downhill and his kidney disease was discovered. We tried a couple of treatments for him but his health failed quickly this last couple of weeks. We did not want him to suffer any more so we brought him to the vet today and said our goodbyes. He will be buried outside next to Pandora in our flower garden.

Rest in Peace dear wonderful Percy.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Last of the Season...

Satsuma Mandarins. My favorite fruit! I discovered them when I lived in Japan 30 years ago and have loved them ever since! They are an easy-to-peel seedless variety of mandarin orange. I am fortunate in that they are grown in my area for us to enjoy in the States.


They have such a short growing season. Around here it is usually late November until late January. Andy found these tiny ones at the Farmer's Market this morning but they are definitely the last of the season. In high season they are usually twice as big! Still yummy but it just reminds me that some things are seasonal so enjoy them when I can.

HERE is more info about them!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Thinking about a tea cosy...

I cannot believe it is already February!

I was thinking last night that I needed to make a tea cosy. I often make tea in my tea pot and then of course it cools off over time. I remembered last summer having a delightful tea at a cute shop in Tillamook and found I had taken a photo of their tea cosy.

tea in oregon

Not sure this is the kind I want or the sort of quilted kind that goes over the whole teapot. I may have to scour the web later today to find one I like. I am sure I have enough fabric stashed in my closet to make one. (Said with tongue firmly in cheek as I have a whole closet full of fabrics for future quilts and projects!) Now where is my sewing machine...

Linked to:
Pink Saturday

Friday, January 31, 2014

Floral Friday...

A big thanks to all my new blog followers from the Grow Your Blog party last week! I am slowly getting around to all the blogs of the people who left comments from last week's post. Some great new (to me) blogs out there to visit! You can see the list on the Grow Your Blog page via the button on my sidebar or in the last post.

So I have been thinking about the blog and wanting to add more floral colors now that we are starting to get some much-needed rain and Spring is approaching... and then when I came home from work today I saw some of the Icelandic Poppies my husband had planted had gone crazy and bloomed up during the day -- what great color!

I think this poppy red-orange is one of my all-time favorite colors!

Linked to:
Orange You Glad It's Friday

Friday, January 24, 2014

Grow Your Blog Party 2014!

2 Bags Full Welcome to my blog, a ragtag mix of mostly paper arts and crafts, painting, yoga, photos, travels, thoughts and quotes, an occasional recipe and other assorted nonsense! If you are here for the first time and came via the Blog Party, I welcome you and would like to thank you for dropping by! My name is Rhonda and I am blogging from sunny (although we wish it would rain) Sacramento, California.

It is time for Vicki's Grow Your Blog Party and this year I am participating! I learned about it from my friend Leslie's blog last year and realized I had missed the cut off date by around a week, so this year I put it on ALL my calendars to be sure I signed up in time!

Her "GROW YOUR BLOG" event is designed "to bring more readers and FOLLOWERS to our blogs. The premise is simple-- just visit as many blogs as you wish and sign up to follow those that interest you. In turn, all the other folks will be doing the same thing~ we will all be growing our blogs!" Last year she had something like 500 people sign up! I visited a bunch of cool sounding blogs and found many I still follow today -- not all arts and crafts or cooking, but some just an interesting life somewhere else. So I am hoping some of you will visit my blog and find things you like that will keep you interested in more. Either way, I am so thrilled you have stopped in and would love to hear from you!

One of the keys to discovering new blogging friends is to leave a comment, which I always do when I visit a new blog for this kind of event. So please feel free to leave me a comment below if you are visiting for the first time or a repeat visitor! And of course, always feel free to follow or subscribe to my blog.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New gadget...

I just got the coolest little gadget! It's a wrap around your finger knife (xacto knife style blade)... small and you can get close up when you cut. I saw someone using it on a You Tube video the other day and immediately had to have one! It will make stamp carving so much easier I think! Haven't had a chance to try it out yet aside from on a piece of cardboard and I liked how it felt.

There is a video on the Fiskar's website HERE.

I am looking forward to this weekend when I have time to try it out!! I got mine from Amazon by the way (less than $5). It is an add-on item -- one of those small things that ships free if you have Prime and add other items to your cart -- always such a problem for me... NOT!

Monday, January 20, 2014

For a new beginning...

I love this poem. I first heard it at the New Year's Yoga workshop I took and then oddly, the author, John O'Donohue's name has been popping up all over things I read on the Internet. I was in the mood to work on a page in my art journal today and decided to add this poem.


The page started out just as a gelli printed page in my journal. I was in the mood to work in purple and ochre last night and this was the page I opened to. I added the ochre glaze (part gel medium, part acryllic paint) over the stark white printed words and then noticed a little scene was presenting itself at the bottom of the page. I took it to be small mountains with trees and cattails around a little lake so colored it in that way with Stabilo pencils and black pen. These are some of my current favorite colors.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Back to Art and Blogging...

Time to move on and let this roller coaster of recent emotions come out in some art! And blogging... and what better combo than joining in on a Blog Party next week! I had seen it on my friend Leslie's blog last year and realized I had missed the cut-off date by a week or so so this year I put it on ALL my calendars to be sure I would remember!

This is what it is all about...

It is going to be on January 25, 2014 this year. A whole bunch of us will post on that day (or the day before for the other side of the globe) and we will all visit each other's blogs that day and following days. Should be fun!

2 Bags Full

So this week I will be working on a blog post for it and tomorrow have plans to go to yoga then get back to some art! Tonight I am digging out the tried and true gelli plate because that always gets me going... yeah I know, I already have a huge pile of gelli printed papers, and yes thank you I can always use more! Maybe I will work with a new or different color scheme... I have been liking purple and ochre lately... hmmm...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Rest in Peace Elaine...

poppies in my garden

January continues to be a sad month for me...

My step-mother passed away on Thursday. Thank you Elaine for being part of my life. You will be missed.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Learning how to let go of sadness...

                is one of the things I would like happen in this new year.

Yesterday afternoon this art journal page came pouring out, after a lot of old memories and songs made me sad. It started out to be a wonderful day with a nice yoga practice in the morning but by mid-day I was sorting through some old photos and songs on my computer and I got sad. I let it fall on me for a while, made this journal page, and now it is time to let it go. That's the hard part for me:

How to do that and not keep coming back to the things that made me sad before...


Journal page info: Canson field drawing journal, gelli plate printed background, computer printed song lyrics with ink pads as coloring, color copy of old photo of me, pens, markers, rubber stamp star.

Linked to:
A Colorful Gelli Print Party

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Starting 2014...

Starting 2014 off with a bang! Went to a 2 hour yoga workshop on Jan 1 then have been working in my art room. I set up a new arrangement for my art pens. They used to be piled up on top of each other and I could never find what I wanted...

new pens arrangement and work table

And then made my first Art Journal page for the year.

new pens arrangement

I finally got this cabinet for holding my decorative papers.

paper shelves

Got it @ IKEA in West Sacramento and we put it together last night. I started putting my decorative papers in it and realized I really need to sort through them and label the drawers.

cabinet with papers

At least I have someplace to start putting them all together instead of boxes and bins here and there. I probably need around 2 more of these units but I will see how it fits then decide what to do about the extras.

And then today I made a second Art Journal page (when it rains it pours) using up one of the left-over paint backgrounds from my old journal. I was going to tear some of them out cause they were just pages where I cleaned my brayer from gelli printing mostly but I decided I would just work with them as is and see what happens. I can always gesso over something!

AJ what words

Linked to:
Creative Every Day
Art Journal Everyday

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013...

Getting ready to say Happy New Year to 2014 in a few hours...

Tomorrow I will start the New Year off with a 2 hour yoga workshop at It's All Yoga.

Photo credit: Yoga Journal

It is a dream of mine to be able to do The Dancer Pose (Natarajasana) some day, so need to work on my flexibility and balance this coming year.

HERE are some lovely Pinterest images of this pose.

And more inspiring yoga photos HERE.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Yoga thoughts... and lemons.

It is getting easier. Not so many excuses (I don't have anything to wear, I'm hungry, tired, etc, it's too late, or myriad other words that have been keeping me from feeling better) and more doing. Slowly a change...

I went to the "winter Soul-stice" workshop at It's All Yoga last night and really enjoyed the 2 hour practice. And from it came another word for me to focus on in the coming year... soften.

Yes I know I had already chosen my word for 2014 as BREATHE and it will stay because for me it is the most important thing to focus on, but the idea of softening just hit a good chord with me so it might be something I keep handy in my mind as I go about my days too. Two other words/ideas have come from yoga lately too which I have noticed I may need to pay more attention to as well: aware (of myself more than things around me) and boundaries (as in paying attention to them within me).

And an interesting thing I am also noticing. My blog roll list is huge (on Feedly) and most of them are art blogs, but I am finding yoga blogs lately too and adding them and today I realized I have a fair amount of them in my DAILY READ list. And I am finding I go to them first. I enjoy reading of experiences other people have bringing yoga into their life. And I find truths in those blogs that I very well could have written in mine...

“... I remembered something important: practicing yoga makes me feel good. It allows me to move my body, stretching and feeling my muscles activate. It helps calm my mind and keep me centered. It allows me to connect with an entire community of like-minded people. But showing up at the studio for class does not happen by accident. It happens only when I prioritize and make a conscious effort.”
From Bekah: Outside the Box

And now to figure out what to do with my lemons, hiding in the backyard...

Friday, December 20, 2013

On Vacation!

16 days of blissful vacation... Winter Break, formerly known as Christmas Vacation, is here!

Some plans so far:
Clean up the living room, do a lot of yoga, make some art, keep cleaning up my art room and going through my supplies, working towards decluttering and destashing my stuff, and generally relaxing, maybe having lunch with one of my lunch lady friends (I seem to be one of the last ones to retire in a small circle of friends I have) and just enjoying 16 days off. We are not officially doing anything for Christmas this year so that will not be anything that takes any energy.

I got a new Moleskine Weekly Planner to do a better job of keeping track of what I am doing during the year because when I started thinking of what got done in 2013, I found I was short on memories or any documentation and it was hard to see where I had been in my creative journeying. Yes I have some blog posts but I am not really diligent about blogging so a lot of things fell through the cracks this last year.

This is what I got: (photos from Amazon)

The inside:

I like that there is a page opposite each weekly area for extended info or maybe room for some art... I do not plan to do a lot of art in it, more to keep track of what I do on a daily basis, but an occasional art burst could happen and there might be a place for it!

My intention is to wrote just a couple of sentences at night to document my days... one last semester at school, retiring, traveling, whatever comes my way in this next (hopefully exciting) year.

Also it will be a way for me to see how much yoga I end up doing. I have an odd idea about making sure I do yoga at least 108 times this coming year. 108 is a special number in yoga and when I broke it down I realized it was just 9x12... so if I did yoga just 9 times a month, for 12 months, I would easily reach 108. I may elaborate more on this later but if you are really curious you might Google "yoga 108" and read some of the various things that come up. Working up to maybe some day 108 sun salutations?

All I know is that I feel so much better when I practice yoga on a regular basis so I want to make that more of my life. I signed up for a Winter Solstice workshop tomorrow and a New Years Day Workshop at It's All Yoga, and then I will keep going to other classes as well.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hot Glue Gun Stencils...

Who knew? Well apparently a few people judging from the You Tube videos available HERE, HERE, and HERE... but it was a new technique to me so I tried it this weekend!

You need:

tools for project

a hot glue gun and a LOT of glue sticks, some parchment paper or a craft mat (I used 2 pieces of parchment paper),and I used a brayer to press down as it gets hot and hard on my hands to press the glue flat.

then for the printing you need:

yellow layer

a gelli plate, acrylic paints, and a brayer to spread the paints as usual, paper to print on.

You can follow the technique in any of the videos above, but basically, you lay down a design on the parchment paper using the hot glue gun, immediately press the other parchment on top of it, flatten it (for the gelli plate I found this is needed), then when the glue has cooled, lift it away from the parchment and you have your stencil!

Here are a few I did today:


Primary set (a la Jane Davies above), yellow layer first, then red, then blue.


Yellow first, then orange, then teal, with a wash of part yellow-part gel medium to soften it.

olive-magenta print

Olive green and magenta, with a softening overcoat of gel medium mixed with transparent iron oxide (Golden)

and its reverse ghost print (my favorite of all these I did today):

olive-magenta ghosts

These are mostly tests, although there are parts of them I like and might tear or cut up to use in my journals or other art. When Leslie and I get together again after Christmas we are going to play with this technique more. I can't wait to see what she comes up with!

Linked to:
Colorful Gelli Party
Mandarin Orange Monday
Creative Every Day

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Moving on...

It has been a difficult couple of weeks with Pandora's death but I feel like I am finally able to move on. The first few days I could not come back into my art room without crying and seeing her in my arms but that is passing and I am feeling the need to create again. And with Winter Break coming up in a couple of weeks I have a lot of things to think about...

The thing that has been on my mind the last few days is creating another Word for the Year. I did it last year (see THIS post) and it was nice to think about throughout the year. I had it glued to my work table at school and several times when I was mad at the kids I would see it and work on letting it go. I wanted to make a word this year that built on that idea. I thought about what I did when I "released" and it was all about breathing. And now that I am back to doing more yoga practice I find the reminders to "breathe" coming fast and furious from all angles. And wouldn't ya know it, conscious breathing is still hard for me (to remember mid-asana or when I am mad). I need more work on that one.

So I decided for 2014 my word would be BREATHE.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

RIP Pandora

Rest in Peace Pandora. I am so thankful for the 21 years of love you gave us. You came to me small enough to fit under my chin in August of 1992 and passed peacefully in our arms this morning, 11:20 am, Nov. 28, 2013.