Sunday, January 23, 2022

still winter even if some things are not convinced

It's Saturday and I have not done a single asana since Monday, never mind a whole routine. Thursdays I don't have time having to be up, coffeed, breakfasted, and out the door to get to SHARE by 9 but the other days I really have no excuse except I've been sleeping late or reluctant to get out of the nice warm bed on cold mornings or I'm just being lazy and anyway by the time the house warms up (we turn the thermostat down when we go to bed) it's inching towards my coffee hour. As you can see I have many excuses.

Cold again today, just now in the mid 30˚s, but should be warmer than yesterday. This is what Minnie thinks of it. 

Still windy though and it's the wind that makes it so awful so I don't guess I'll be venturing out much today beyond giving the dog her walk. I really need to clear off my work table here in the house so maybe I'll do that or work on updating my website.

Later...the wind has finally died down and it has warmed up some out there, warm enough for a stroll around the big backyard picking up some of the biggest fallen branches. There's a dog path across the back end of the property 

and the pasture behind us looks like it will be cut for hay soon. Banana trees are still solid even if all the leaves are brown. The invasive little red woodland lilies that are taking over large swaths of the yard are starting to bloom. 

Haven't been in the front as it's on the north side and in shade. Not very inviting in the winter but will be really nice with the new deck come winter's end.

Sunday...As it turned out I spent the day Saturday updating the current work page on my website, rearranging the menu on the left, adding some things and removing some things. I decided to keep the prices on. I even added the luna moth though without a price as I'm not sure I want to sell it depending on if I make it again because if I do and it comes out better I'll want the stand for it. But everything seems to be working at least on my phone. It won't refresh on the desktop yet. I still have so much to do to finish making all the changes on other pages but one whole day dealing with code is enough. We'll see what today holds. Maybe I'm on a roll.

It's already warmer than the last two days. Another stroll through the yard mid morning revealed the easily fooled native wild peach tree putting out a few buds

and an egg case of some sort nestled in an azalea.

Friday, January 21, 2022

another plunge from the 70˚s to the 30˚s

January 19th and it's balmy out today and the door is open. Won't last the weather prognosticators say as a cold front is coming in tonight and by Friday night it will get below freezing. In the meantime though a young male cardinal is sitting in the red tip photinia in the little backyard singing his love song, playing with a variation, adding in an extra trill I don't usually hear in their mating song. Wrens have been in and out the open door. And a red shouldered hawk is out screeing for love. Too early guys.

The next day was really cold and windy, barely got into the 40˚s, today really cold and supposed to dip below freezing tonight. I think every cardinal in the neighborhood is in my yard chasing each other off the bird feeder. After my morning at SHARE and dropping off the cardboard at the recycling center yesterday I did not venture out again. I could easily not venture out today even though the sun is out and as long as you're in the sun and out of the wind it's not too bad but I have to take a package containing the flicker feather to the post office.

All but my grandson's SO has recovered from covid but they and Paisleigh left for Arkansas on Wednesday so I didn't get a chance to hold that baby before they left. They'll be back in a few weeks for the rest of their stuff so one more chance.

I don't have much else to write. I'm hardly making any progress in the book I'm reading, not because I'm not enjoying it but because my usual dedicated reading time has been spent streaming different shows via the Fire stick. We finally got around to watching the last season of Game of Thrones. And I don't want to write about the two Democrat in name only senators who stood with the Republicans on the voting rights bill and limiting the filibuster or at the very least making it so that those that want to invoke the filibuster have to actually get up there and hold the floor and talk instead of just invoking it which would allow a vote once they ran out of steam. It just makes me too angry.

Not even any photos to post except for the stalwart gerbera daisy above and this winter sky over the fallow field.

Monday, January 17, 2022

a timely donation, a box, MLK/GOP, doctors, and covid

As volunteers at SHARE we'll bring something home occasionally that we want or need. The Elders generally take a few things like snacks or frozen pizza at the administration's urging. This week a box of dried garbanzo beans showed up which I've been keeping an eye out for at the grocery store and haven't been able to find because Marc wants to make falafel and it requires dried garbanzo beans. So, yay! Maybe there's falafel in my future.

I finally got the two trumpet flower pieces boxed up and ready to send out Monday. I always double box my work. First I wrap the piece in bubble wrap and put it in a box with preferably 2” extra space all around which I fill with foam so that it is well cushioned on all six sides. That box goes into a bigger box with ideally 2” of space all the way around that gets filled with peanuts, when I have them, bagged in the plastic bags that the newspaper comes in so they don't scatter, or foam or, in this case, some honeycombed cardboard that the new vanity came packed with and crumpled newspaper. I have very limited choices of box sizes out here for the outer box. The ideal size I needed was 14” x 16” x 15” Walmart has always had a medium size box 16” x 16” x 17” tall, easy enough to cut down the height. Did they have it on Wednesday? No. The medium size box they had was 14” x 19” x 17” tall so I was looking at taking the thing apart and cutting it down in length as well as height. But then Thursday someone brought in a donation in the old medium size box which I immediately claimed and cut down the height by 2” and got it done. Have to wait til tomorrow to send it out because MLK Day.

And so today the hypocrisy shines bright from the GOP and Republican congresspeople as they post on FB and tweet about what a great man MLK Jr. was and how he fought for equality in life and justice for people of color, really all Americans, while at the same time they are passing legislation that suppresses the vote of people of color or obstructing legislation that would expand the rights of Americans to vote and in some instances lying outright like our governor Abbott who tweeted “Nearly 60 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. articulated a vision of freedom, equality, & opportunity in his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. He inspired hope in our nation. And that beacon of hope & liberty still burns bright in Texas.” while he and our Republican legislature are actively suppressing the vote and trying to prevent the history of this country's suppression of black people being taught in our public schools.

You might remember the last crown I got last October, they had a hell of a time getting a temporary crown, took like four tries before they got one that didn't break apart either before or while they were adjusting the bite, and the fourth successful one came off later in the day. When the permanent crown came in I asked the dentist if it was going to stay on considering the trouble they had with the temporary. Absolutely, he said, I'm using the strongest glue available. Well, Friday morning as I was eating my oatmeal for breakfast, it came off. Not only that, it's got a hole in it. I go in tomorrow morning.

And speaking of doctors, I went to the ophthalmologist this afternoon. You might also remember last January when I got my eyesight tested the optometrist said I was developing cataracts (as well as age related macular degeneration) and should go see an ophthalmologist late summer about it. A little late but better late than never. So good news, she says I am developing a cataract in my left eye but it's not bad enough for surgery yet and while she sees a few gray spots in my right eye she wouldn't call it macular degeneration. She seemed a little skeptical of the optometrist and wanted to know where I had gone. She says I have 20/20 in my right eye which is doing my far seeing and 20/50 in my left which is doing my close up seeing and could correct my vision with glasses but as long as I wasn't having any problems seeing or reading, which I'm not, it was up to me so I declined. Come back in a year unless things go south sooner than I think they will she says.

Covid finally hit my family. My grandson Mikey tested positive last Monday and Autumn tested positive after she got back from Ecuador last week, but not Jade so all the girls went and got tested Saturday. Autumn is still positive as is Robin now but not Jade or Sarah. The two boys and Audra are getting tested later this week. In other news Mikey and Audra and, of course, baby Paisleigh, have decided to move to Arkansas where her family lives, where Audra is from. There's a tiny house on Audra's parent's property that they are going to move into. This isn't surprising really, we all expected that they would move to Arkansas eventually. Gonna miss that baby though.

Minnie this morning...

What do you mean it's time to get up? 

Saturday, January 15, 2022

a tour of a run down rabbit warren of a house

Friday Pam and I went to, I hate to call it an estate sale because it was more like walking through an old abandoned house that had been ransacked. It was the second time around for this place so I have no idea what it looked like or offered the first time because we didn't go then. There were some tables set out with dishes and mugs and a lot of very nice wood bowls

and other stuff but mostly it looked like this. This was the largest room in the house and this is about 1/3rd of the room.

The house itself was a wonder and I don't necessarily mean in a good way. It looked like it started out as three rooms and was added onto higgledy piggledy, like a rabbit warren which I would have found to be fun if it all didn't look like it was put together with scrap picked up here and there. Many of the rooms had windows that looked into other rooms where a new room had been added on later. There were two long halls, perpendicular to each other and in our memory driving back home we counted at least 15 rooms, 16 if you include what looked like it might have been an enclosed attached small garage (can't remember if it was open at one end or not), 7 of which seemed to be bedrooms. We wondered if it had been a rooming house, either that or they had a lot of children. The old paneling in places looked like bits and pieces put up whichever way, another part of the house looked like the walls were wood planks, ceilings at least 10' with rows of storage space all the way to the ceiling in every room. One little bathroom and one of the rooms had hot and cold water lines so I assume there was a washer in there and as old and ratty as that house was, the water lines were PEX which I found oddly too modern.

From the biggest room you could get to this hall.

Off this hall were three bedrooms and at the end it opened into a mud room/pantry/store room (below) which is where I was standing when I took the picture above looking back towards the entrance to the kitchen and the first room.

The bedrooms all looked like this with a mountain of clothes? linens? blankets? fabric? who can tell? except for the biggest one at the end of the other hall which was mostly empty.

The other end of the first hall opened into a vestibule with the bathroom off to the right and the kitchen to the left. 

From the kitchen you could get to the dining room or maybe the original living room. 

It had a door to a bedroom on one wall and a short hall off another wall with a small room on the left full of boxes of fabric? and ending at the closed in garage like room which had a big box full of loose lace trims among other junk. Also from the kitchen was a doorway into another small room that I have no idea what it's function was but it led to the second hall with 2 rooms off to the right, the first of which had the PEX water pipes, a room at the end, and on the left closets (full of clothes) and a doorway to a bedroom behind the one you got to from the dining room.

There were also two run down small out buildings full of junk and trash and when we got there a woman was pulling dozens of square glass canisters with metal lids out of one of them. Another couple was digging up narcissus bulbs and iris rhizomes so Pam and I went behind them and pulled up the rest that had been loosened that they didn't take. I did find one item, a lazy susan that was very stiff and wouldn't turn but just needed to be taken apart and the ball bearings cleaned up and now it works fine.

Last night another cold front started blowing in with high NW winds and lows in the 30˚s and today's predicted high in the 40˚s. The last two days started out cool in the morning but warmed up nicely so I got some weeding done and got the narcissus and iris planted temporarily until I figure out where I really want them.

they don't look very happy right now

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

back to the mundane of my life

When we sold the city property my son-in-law saved the old chain link gates across the driveway and they are currently being used out at their house in the county. We removed one of the lions many years ago and made a mold of it and even cast one in glass. When I was out there Sunday to see the baby I took another one (there's still two more). So now the lion gate guardians from the old city house have a new job.

Speaking of the baby, Paisleigh was 3 months old Monday and while I forgot to take a single picture while I was there on Sunday, too busy holding her, here's a recent one her mother took.

Also Sunday I pulled up all the dead orange cosmos some of which were 8' or taller. These things have a very dense fairly shallow root system and when you pull them up they hold onto the dirt and leave a big hole in the ground so I have to bang the stalks against a brick or something to knock off as much dirt as possible.

I mentioned a while back that our daughter fixed us up with a fire stick and added us to all the streaming services they subscribe to. It took us a while to get into it as we weren't in the habit of watching much TV. We've recently been watching Watchmen (HBO) and yesterday we watched the last two episodes. I had to find synopses for it because it just got crazier and weirder as it went. Watchmen is a comic book series about hero vigilantism that was eventually outlawed because of their violence in an alternate 20th century and this show takes place 34 years after the events in the comic books (there is also a movie based on the comic books which might be useful to watch for background). Watchmen opens with the Tulsa race massacre as background and then jumps ahead three generations to the main story line about a white supremacist group trying to regain control of a nation that rejected racism but there's a lot of back and forth in time and location (including Jupiter's moon Europa) and characters. It was originally intended as a recurring series but the showrunner Damon Lindelof, responsible for the 1st season, stepped away saying he had told his story and HBO wasn't willing to go forward without him so these 9 episodes are all there is. It's worth watching just for the visuals, acting, musical score, etc. and has a great ending, won a bunch of awards but I suggest you go to Wikipedia's site for the series and at the very least read the synopses of the episodes.

The weather has been mostly cold and overcast with an occasional outbreak of sun. Monday was very windy but fortunately that died down. I've been sleeping hard and late, dreaming but once again not remembering them past a few moments after awakening. I've yet to get over to the shop and pack up those pieces to send to the gallery so I really need to do that today.

The colder weather aside, all those warm days in December has caused this to happen way too early. 

Sunday, January 9, 2022

the newest work

Thank you all for all the kind words about my little show off. Looking at all that past work I feel like I had a better grasp of color and the technique in general then than I do now. Or maybe it's that nearly two year break I took.

I'm just not happy with the Luna moth piece. Beside that big clear spot behind the caterpillar that I managed to only partially allay by using a diamond bit to rough it up on the back and then spot paint with white, the only color I think I got right was the pink in the wings. The moth is just too blue. It was a combination of juniper blue and spruce green equal parts when I should have used maybe 1 part blue to 2 parts green. And it's too pale, needed a much thicker layer of color. And I'm not that happy about the color of the leaves either. I used a mix of a lot of different greens, leftover frit from previous castings that I label 'miscellaneous green'. The intensity of the color is good, just too speckled. I'm unhappy enough that I'm thinking I might try it again which would entail making the model again. We'll see how I feel after I do the next two models in the queue.

Anyway, here's a quick snapshot I took and it looks fine I guess except for all the things I don't like about it. Glass only approx. 7"w x  8"h.

And I decided not to try and take a new round of pictures of the trumpet flower pieces. I just don't have a good setup for wall work and these are good enough for my purposes, to document the work, though probably not for professional use. I've only had a few pieces professionally photographed with the right lights and backgrounds because it's expensive. They take awesome photos but just not in my budget. So here they are framed and I'm not completely happy with that though my brother made them to my specifications. Too much black, should have only had about ⅛" of space around the glass instead of ¾" between the glass and the frame. Guess I'm feeling very critical today. I'll start packing them tomorrow to send to the gallery. Glass only approx. 5"w x 8"h.

Now comes the hard part which is trying to determine a price. Calculate the cost of materials, guess at the number of hours and come up with an amount I'd like to get for it, come up with the least amount I'll take for it and double those numbers (remember, I only get half what the gallery sells it for), get input from the gallery and try to find a happy medium. Most people don't know this technique and have no idea how much time and skill is involved to justify the price but I'm not willing to low ball my work just for a quick sale, not right away anyway.

I'm staying out of the shop today, planning on seeing the baby whom I haven't seen in at least 3 weeks. 

Friday, January 7, 2022

a few favorites

Robin of The New Dharma Bums asked if I had any favorites of all the work I've done and the answer is yes so I thought I'd do a post of some of my favorites. There's quite a few actually. Most of my boxes, several of the cups, several small sculptures. I was planning on finishing the luna moth piece today, well, the cold work as I intend to use some oil paint to add a few tiny details I couldn't do in the glass, but it turned cold again Thursday night and thankfully it stayed above freezing but it never got out of the 40˚s out there and no heat in the shop so I worked on this post instead.

Here's a general overview of the evolution of my work in this technique. I started out doing small sculpted bowls 6”w x 3”h x 6”d. We made a reproduction mold of each design so I could pull duplicate waxes. By the time I tired of doing them I had 11 different designs with the intention of doing 25 of each but in different color palettes. Some only had a few made as they didn't prove to be good sellers, some I got about halfway through, and some I completed before I put them all aside to do different, one of a kind work. Next came the tall vases and larger bowls but after a few successes the failure rate finally made me abandon vessels. After that I did the cups until I ran out of ideas for that series. Then I started on the boxes completing the last one in 2019 and those may have run their course as well as I don't have an idea for a new one right now, well, I do but we'll see if I pursue it. I also started doing small botanical sculptures during this time eventually moving to framed pieces for the wall or in stands which is where I am now. Those include the Botanica Erotica series and the Drowned Feather series neither of which has resulted in any sales save two. These bodies of work were not necessarily sequential as I would work on one series or another as I was inspired and then there are the individual pieces that don't fit into any series.

So here's a few of my favorites. This is the first design I did for the small bowls, 6" x 3"x 6".

There were 14 vases, 6” tall. 

I did 12 in the Cup series, about 4" x 4" x 4".

I've done 12 boxes and it was hard to pick just these two because I really like just about all of them. The heron box is the most recently completed and by far the most ambitious; 8.5" x 9" x 4.5". Bee box 5" x 5" x 4".

Small sculptures, first two images longest dimension 4"; last image about 6" x 8" excluding the stand.

For the wall, 1st picture 4 of the Botanica Erotica series (19 pieces), 4.5" x 4.5" x 1.5" and 6.5" x 6'5" x 1.5". The Robin is 6" x 6".

The Drowned Feathers (10 pieces), top 11" x 11", bottom long dimension 4".

And of course, my newest work is the trumpet flower pieces which you've seen and the luna moth which isn't finished yet. If you are interested in seeing a larger body of work after this, you can visit my Pinterest page. I have a website that is woefully out of date but the link is on my sidebar. I do need to update it soon.