Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Beautiful Sunset

 Happy last day of January everyone. I can't believe how fast this month went, but then again, time does fly so I guess I am kind of crazy to think January wouldn't fly either.
So yesterday was  fun day out for me. The hubby and I met when were in college and had a small group of really close friends.Sadly, most of the group had faded off into the sunset (yes a cliche but it fit my photo so nicely I had to use it) and went on with their own lives, as we did also, but then 2016 came around it seems like all of a sudden everyone started popping back into our lives.
So yesterday we went to Portsmouth to meet one of our friends who was even the best man at my husband's and my wedding. And he only lives an hour away from us, which is pretty good considering where he could be located. You would think being only an hour away we would have found each other sooner, but that doesn't matter now that we have made contact again.  So the 3 of us met in Portsmouth (New Hampshire)  and had a 3 1/2 hour, 2 margarita lunch.
My kind of lunch! 
Plus is was great catching up and we decided we need to stay better in touch. 2016 might be my year for keeping in touch. 
So after lunch the hubby and I decided to drive up to York Beach in York, Maine and take the dogs for an end of the day stroll on the beach. The tide was in so the beach wasn't that big but big enough for a stroll. Afterwards I convinced the hubby  to drive out to Nubble Light (hardly anything of a drive) and the sunset was gorgeous. I didn't bring my big camera so these are shot on my phone.
 Here's the actual shot which I enhanced for the first photo. 
 And a few more shots.

 The setting sun made great lighting for Nubble Light itself. The lighthouse is on a little island right off the shore.
 I would have stayed until the sun was fully down but the hubby was cold and the dogs needed their dinners so we only stayed a little while.
The sunset didn't end very quickly either. Even after we left the beach and headed home, I got this shot from the front seat of the car as we drove over the route 95 bridge between Maine and New Hampshire. 
Now today we haven't seen any sun yet, but we are suppose to be warming up for at least the first part of the week. Crazy winter we are having this year, but since it is still winter (although I think some of us-meaning me- are forgetting that-) I think I will be in shock when the first BIG snowfall actually comes.
And I know some of you are getting dumped on with blizzards or having daffodils blooming a few months too early.
Oh well, I have chatted enough for one day. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend and can enjoy what is left to it!

Friday, January 29, 2016

When It Is a Long Winter

Happy Friday everyone! Its been a busy week for me with  finals and then new classes starting at school, my husband having a scary drug treatment to suppress his immune system ( and him having to leave the house at 3 AM-waking me up too), and last night the club which I am one of the advisers was having a fund raising talent show. I am ready for the weekend to be here!
I am linking this post up to Paint Party Friday, hosted by Eva and Kristen!
here's my last link to Art Journal Journey this month. Chrissie chose the theme winter wonderland, and I thought I would end the month with a journal page about the end of winter. I was thinking about those days in March  when the air warms up like late spring but there is still all this snow or mud left on the ground. How the melting can seem to take forever. 
Some of you might be able to relate to that!
The background is made from paint, spray ink and stencils. The snow is layers of white molding paste. The man is cut out from an art post card of one of Marc Chagall's paintings. Unfortunately I cut the man out of the postcard and threw out the rest,  and I can't remember the name of this piece. I can't find it either doing an internet search, which seems strange to me. Maybe I am really losing it and it is not from a Chagall painting!  Ha-ha! I find Marc Chagall's work very dreamlike and inspiring.
And I hand cut these flowers and added them to the snow.
Flowers popping up from the snow would  be a good thing and might help make that end of season dirty snow not look so bad.
So any big plans this weekend?  Not sure what is on my agenda but right now, since I was too busy to actually even think about weekend plans,  but I am really OK with just hanging home.
Whatever you are up to, I hope you have some fun !

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Baking Up Memories

Last evening I was all excited to have the house to myself. I expected I would dabble with paints and Sharpies for several hours. But after a day of new students (hard to really know on day one but they look pretty good) I came home, collapsed on the couch and napped.  Of course the phone rang 8 times during my one hour nap-my daughter, my husband, my brother and 5 political surveys, and then when I really woke up I decided reading on the couch and watching the last episode of Indian Summers was what I wanted to do. So since I wrote this post last night, in my lazy couch potato mode, I decided I would follow the same thought process on my post.
***Warning- today I am taking an art break and have a food post!***

So lately I have been thinking a lot about my dad. He passed away 12 years ago. This might be because his birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks. On February 9th he would be 92 years old.
My dad's favorite cake, which I used to bake on occasion for his birthday or some other times I wanted to bake, was a cherry walnut pound cake. Not  just any type of cherry, but those red, top your sundae, maraschino cherries.
And I have been craving it.
So last weekend I decided it was time to bake another one.
 While you whip the pound of butter and the pound of sugar (hence the name pound cake for those you who aren't familiar with this type of cake), crack open 6 eggs and then add them one at a time to your butter sugar mixture.
 Finally add a pound of flour to you mixture, and then after they are mixed add a little vanilla.
Now you are ready to add the walnuts and some chopped maraschino cherries.

Mix, put into your 10 cup pan (like an angel food or bundt pan) or into 2 load pans and bake for around 1- 1 1/2 hours in a 325 degree Fahrenheit oven.
The beauty about a pound cake is it is easy to freeze and doesn't need to be frosted. 
I don't make pound cakes often enough. I haven't made this one in years!

 I recently bought myself a heart shaped bundt pan so out of love for my dad, I used it to bake my cake.
 Didn't it come out pretty?
 And it tastes yummy!
Would you like a piece?
Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Cold Enough For You?

I don't even want to think about this kind of winter! I hope we don't get anything even close to this seeing there's still lots of winter weeks left in my neck of the woods.
Here's some close ups because I added some glitter to this page to resemble icy snow and wind blown snow, and the only way in these photos to see it is up close.
The glitter made my letters not very sticky, even using a matte medium. Grrr.

This was the cold and wind we had last week.
 I stopped my car in the road as no one was coming behind me to take these photos. I guess this was the inspiration for today's art piece.

We've actually had some  warmer weather the last few days (big smile about that) which has been great.  And no big storms predicted for the rest of the work week, at least if the weather people are correct...I am hoping we don't get any snow days because they just mean we have to stay in school longer in June.
But I suppose I have just jinxed that happening now that I put it in writing.
Time to get ready for work, so stay warm, and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Warm and Cozy Spot for T

Happy T day everyone. Here's my favorite winter spot to have a mug of tea and to read, with the added bonus that I also get to warm up on a cold day or evening. You can see my mug of tea on the little table to the left of my rocking chair.
This chair is the most comfortable chair-even though it is made out of wood. It is suppose to go outside but I like it so much I leave it here next to the wood stove year round. And my little table folds up so I can put it out of the way when I don't have a cup of tea or coco.
Check out everyone else's Tuesday T by hopping on over to Elizabeth's blog T post   Altered Book Lover .
And I used this photo as inspiration for today's post to Art Journal Journey. This month hostess is Chrissie and picked the theme of winter wonderland.
 I don't have any deer or other animal heads in my house, but space was just screaming to me to stamp the image there,
I am sure some of you in the Washington DC, Philadelphia and other mid-Atlantic states area that got dumped on last weekend are probably seen enough snow for the whole winter.
You can see the little tea pot on the table next to the blazing fire. All this piece needs is a comfy rocking chair to be complete it, but since the white snow dots were heavy on the left side of the page I thought I would skip the chair and let the snow fall down.
Teacher workday for me today.... New classes and semester 2 start tomorrow! Ready for the fresh new faces and the change-I have one class I am a little worried about, but the other 2 should be fine. I can use a little regulated excitement in my dull winter life right now.
That's all for me- thanks for stopping by for a visit and a little tea (or coffee or coco...your choice).

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Winter Night

I am back with another polar bear today on a Gelli print. Last week's weather felt as cold as this background feels, but hopefully this week there won't be so much wind or deep cold temperatures. That's at least what the weather people are saying.
I am linking this page to Art Journal Journey. This month's theme is winter wonderland, hosted by Chrissie. And wow- hard to believe there's only one more week of January left!
This page also has a couple of ideas I've already used on another recent piece- the snow design and the alphabet letter strip on the side. You can check out my other piece with those items here, Falling Snow if you are interested in how I made/got them.

 I wasn't certain where to go, but the background was pretty dark, so I thought of an arctic night. My literal head is telling me stars wouldn't be out if there was so much snow coming down, which the blue dots kind of remind me of too, but I think they still work-if you don't think of the blue dots as snow.
I am sure some of you who are living through the big blizzard don't need to see any more snow related items right now, but I hope if you are in the mid-Atlantic states you are staying warm, dry, and are not too sore from shoveling. Wow- 40 inches in one storm. That is a whole lot of snow! Thankfully we were lucky here in New Hampshire and the storm slid out to sea just at the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border. For those of you who asked, other than the clouds, we didn't even get a snowflake here at my house.

Anyhow, my plans for the day include watching the BIG playoff football game thisafternoon-Patriots versus Broncos- Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning once again (can't remember how many playoff games this is for these 2 quarterbacks-but well over 10) which always makes it more interesting. I must say- Go Pats!

 And to everyone
Enjoy the rest of your weekend or the start of this new week- depending on where you are and when you read this!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Painting Again

Today I have some paintings I started last winter and have finally got back to painting. None of them are finished, but some are more finished than others.
This first one got the walls repainted, and I did finish the plant and the side table. I am really happy with that part (even if that mug looks like it is going to topple off the table). Now I just need to focus on the window. Not sure if I want to add a birdcage, curtains, or make the outside more of a fantasy view. Still thinking about those ideas and waiting to see if anything else pops into my head.
This second one needs the most work of them all. The rug on the floor is some molding past that needs to be addressed. The table needs a bit of work, as does the window and the flowers. Seeing they have no stems or still not certain what this work is telling me to do with it.
And finally the chair. My first order of business is putting this big cat on the chair. He is there right now, blobs of molding paste in a cat shape. I'm not certain I like the wall color either, but I am happy with the rest of the chair, the floor and the chair rail paneling (even if I usually like cleaner lines than I have here).
I paint totally by trial and error. I am envious of those of you who make gorgeous pieces and post them here.  They inspire me to try my hand painting.  Posting my paintings, even in this unfinished form, helps me see them from another point of view. As photos on the computer, they look different to me than they do in person. I can give them a stepped back critical eye. I will say I've learned even a few tricks about painting by posting them. 
And I know I have a million more things to learn in this process, but that's what is really fun about it. Playing with shapes and color...OK, I want to get back in the studio and paint right now.
And since it is Friday (hurray-hurrah!)
I am linking this post to Paint Party Friday. Thanks to Kristen and Eva for being gracious hostesses every week.
Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Falling Snow

Doesn't this guy look so happy to be standing in the falling snow? This is a great stamp by Impression Obsession. I placed Mr. Foxy on a Gelli print. I created the bottom snow by added a piece of ripped phone books, painting over it and then added some little pieces of sparkly tape. The edge strip is a cut out from an old fashion magazine- How cool is this letter strip! I found several of these in this magazine and am excited to have a few more to use. 
And finally I added the white paint dots and gave Mr. Foxy a little heart sticker. He's in love with the snow most obviously.
I am linking to Art Journal Journey. This month's theme is Winter Wonderland and the talented hostess is Chrissie.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sunny and Cold

That's our forecast for today. And it was yesterday too- with a strong cold wind on top of it. I thought this journal page I made would be the perfect choice for this weather.
I am joining Art Journal Journey today. This month's theme is Winter Wonderland hosted by Chrissie.
I will say the sun feels good whether it is winter, spring, summer or fall, but it certainly doesn't do much for our air temperature here in the northern hemisphere.
How's your weather? Hope its  not quite so like the Arctic as we have.
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

My Morning Cuppa

The long weekend has become history, and here's where I will be soon (or depending when you read this, where I am or was). This is my desk at school with  the stack of papers I didn't get graded over the weekend and my plastic cup from Fenway Park.   Fenway Park is the historic home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, but I wasn't at a baseball game when I acquired this cup. In January they sometimes turn the baseball field into a hockey rink and have a series of games called the Winter Classic.  A few years back my college hockey team was playing in the Winter Classic and we went, and I bought a cup of hot coco in this cup. Even though we were outside it wasn't very cold; we got lucky at it was 55 degrees Fahrenheit in January in Boston.
And we won the game too! That's always an added bonus.
Anyhow, enough about a hockey game that happened 4 years ago. I am showing you my cup because it is Tuesday which means Elizabeth is hosting T Stands for Tuesday  .This is my morning cup of tea that gets me started at work. Right now I just have some plain old black tea-Lipton to be exact! But it is still a good way to get a work day started.

And to go with this tea I WISH I had another piece of this birthday cake right now.(Not that I need it, the winter pounds are starting to show up-GRRRR). This is from this past Saturday at my mother-in-law's 82nd  birthday party.
We all went out to a restaurant and had lunch and celebrated.
There were 17 of us- all 3 of my mother-in-laws children, their spouses, all of her 5 grandchildren, 3 boyfriends of the grandchildren, and the parents of 1 of the boyfriends who live out in New York state and happen to be in town this weekend visiting their son. We like this restaurant because they have this HUGE table that sits us all comfortably in its own private little alcove.
Because it is in the town I teach in, I also ran into 3 former students who are now out in the working/college world. It was great to see them too.
Here's a few more photos.

You can see the little snow we got that morning. This is where we ate in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
 And a cool reflection.
The rest of my long weekend I literally stayed home in my sweatpants and did some cleaning (maybe not fun but always good to get it done), watched bits some other football playoff games, did a bunch of knitting while I watched those games and made some art (which is always fun). Oh yes and I had to shovel since yesterday we got a bit of snow in the morning.
Now I am back at school and the last week of this semester is starting. In a week these students will be gone and I'll get a whole new faces, but the exciting part is my pet microbiology class is starting. It is a junior/senior elective and I just love teaching this class.
How is your week going so far?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Making Travel Journal Part 2

If you missed part 1 and want to check it out, you can click here Making a Travel Journal Part 1. I am heading to Taos, New Mexico in late February and want a journal to bring with me. I am still  creating my journal and thought I would show you my next steps in this process.
This photo shows the front  cover and part of the binding. The cover is made of heavy board and I painted it blue, used clear molding paste with a stencil over the blue, and then rubbed some watered down gold paint. The binding is made with aluminum tape that I painted this bold orange. I like those colors and want it to look like the colors of New Mexico.
I had this little Southwestern heart in my stash. It was silver metal and I used paint on it. I kind of hope it will get rubbed a bit when I pack it and some of the paint will wear down. If not, I might give it a sanding when I come home. Or maybe even before I go.
This is the inside of my cover.  I am not sure I like it right now or not.  It is a painted background with 3 layers of stenciling. I might take some watered down gold paint like on the cover and give it a wash. Or  maybe it needs a little texture too. Or maybe I will just leave it. What do you think?
Here's is my inside cover. I need to add a "title" but otherwise this is done. I added the TH found relative photo and the frame because I like the idea of my journal having some personality.
 I stamped the lizards on the corners of this painted page. To make it a little less flat I added a painted stencil image.  I used a light orange paint to match the background. I wanted depth, not really a bold image.
I really like how this worked out so I did the same thing on a few other pages too.
 I embossed this trim, colored it and cut it out. You can see the wet matte medium in this photo.
 And then  here's the page with the stenciling.
 My Zia sun page.
 Now with just a bit of stenciling too. It is really subtle.
I used a different stencil with the same orange paint here.
And one more page today. I added the details on the right around the number 2 by stamping the black design and then added some painted details.
That's where I am at with my journal right now. More another day.
Thanks for visiting, and I hope your week starts off in a bright and colorful way!