Friday, March 24, 2017

Taking Care Of Myself

The internet steals my positive energy.

If I were the kind of person who is only interested in sharing recipes, pictures of grandchildren, my cats and other mundane stuff, it wouldn't be an issue. Unfortunately it is also my way of staying informed. Informed on what I haven't yet figured out, since everyone lies, but at least I'm informed about that.

Another thing I'm informed about is just how nasty people are when mine or anyone else's opinion doesn't agree with theirs. Heaven forbid if you supply them with facts that call into suggestion the veracity of their opinion. It can get really ugly then. If you can't refute the facts provided with a fact or two of your own, you must kill the messenger. Of course, you can't literally kill the messenger so you just malign the reputation of said messenger and then you brag about how you won. I'm apparently stupid since that tactic won't change the facts, but whatever floats their boats. I haven't yet lowered myself to asking if they're a special kind of stupid but I'm guilty of thinking it.

After realizing that some of the programs used by seniors to stay comfortable in their own homes will be given some fairly harsh cuts in funding and being unable to make certain older Americans understand they're screwing themselves with their support of this impending budget, I quit speaking to them. I'm in hiding, in the real world where my cats can replenish my supply of positive energy. It's a good thing they do that since it helps me figure out what I'm going to be able to do in my old age.

We had figured out that once my husband decides to quit working that we might need to apply for some assistance from HEAP to pay our heating fuel bills in winter. That's being cut entirely in this budget. Along with Weatherization and Community Block Grants which help provide assistance to seniors and disabled veterans so they can live independently in their own homes.

I also figured out that should something happen to my husband I might need HEAP and food stamps to stay in my own home. I live a ways out in the country so I will have to have transportation and that might be an issue, but the bills on the home should be paid without HEAP on my income.

It appears that my Uncle's estate is on the verge of settlement finally. The check I am getting isn't as large as it would have been since we chose not to fight my Uncle's step-children's claim. I'm going to lose $2000 from it as will my surviving Uncle but my share will be placed in a money market fund and added to as much as I can while both my husband and I are in good shape health wise. That should provide a bit of a cushion should the necessary programs be cut off entirely.

I can only do so much, but at least I'm doing something so I can meet my own needs with a minimum of trouble. I just can't help but feel sorry for those who, for one reason or another, can't find a way to help themselves, either because they're too ill and have lived for so long on next to nothing.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Monday Musings About Storms

Someone said to me last night that "this country will survive Trump because he's not a king". I'm thinking someone forgot to send that memo to Trump. I'd laugh but there's too much at stake. There's a part of me that thinks those who voted for him deserve the reality check of actually having to live with the consequences. On the other hand, those who will be hurt by the changes don't deserve what I think will happen. I simply do not understand how people can blame their struggles on those with lower income than they have when the income inequality gap is so wide and under Trump will widen more. I don't understand people and I don't think I ever will.

We had a few warmer days up here in the frozen North and many people started their Spring cleaning. I haven't and don't plan on doing so for at least 2 more weeks. I see no reason to expend that much effort to thoroughly clean when the weather isn't conducive to open windows and Spring breezes. I fail to grasp how one can open windows in the midst of a 2 day Nor'easter. I live where it isn't at all unusual to have a snowfall on Mother's Day which is close to the middle of May. Cleaning will be done by Easter and maybe it will be nice enough to actually open windows then. However, with a Nor'easter on it's way here, this week would not lend itself to open windows. Spring cleaning will have to wait until closer to actual Spring.

While making sure we had what we needed in case of a power outage during this upcoming storm, we've discovered that we can't find Hubby's Coleman propane lantern. We do have those headlight type flashlights but not one that can be held in our hands. The storm is going to start tonight and it's predicted to bring some very heavy snowfall. Today I will round up some containers in which to keep water for flushing the toilet. I can sit them in the bathtubs in both bathrooms although we'll probably only use the master bath since it's in the part of our home that will benefit some from the propane heater. Without power I have no running water since we have a well with an electric pump.

I have 3 large blankets plus the down comforter which works so beautifully to keep us warm at night. I have sandwich makings, milk and cereal so we won't go hungry and plenty of water in gallon jugs in the kitchen. Without power I will have no way of cooking anything hot since my stove is electric but we won't starve or dehydrate. Should the power be out for a few days we might have a frozen pipe issue but there are steps we can take to minimize that. I have never experienced a power outage here for more than a few hours at any time. However it's best to be prepared for one just in case. Especially since we now live where we are responsible for maintaining our water and sewer systems.

The weather report is saying we should get somewhere between a foot and 20 inches of snow Tuesday and Wednesday. That's a normal snowfall total for this region so I feel comfortable that life this week will go on as it normally does. I planned on staying home until Friday this week so a couple of days of snowfall won't force me to change any plans. I love retired life.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Honey, I'm HOME!

On Sunday March 19, my Aunt and Uncle will be coming for a Sunday dinner. I'm making Lasagna and a salad. I haven't decided on a dessert yet, but there will be one. I haven't had the ability to invite more than 1 other person for dinner in my home in at least a decade, maybe more. We were lacking in space in our old home due to having each room serve us in more than one capacity. There was absolutely no way to move our small table around to accommodate more than 1 other person.

In our living room there were 2 computer desks with computer chairs, filing cabinets, a large coffee table and a couch. The bathroom was both bath and laundry room and our bedroom also served as a place to sleep and cramped into a corner was my art table. I had 2 plastic drawer stacks underneath to house all my materials and a stack of boxes with the other things I use in them. Trying to keep that place neat and clean was an undertaking, yet it felt like home.

Then we bought this place. A home of our own that didn't sit on someone else's property. It is bigger, with a dream kitchen, a utility room for laundry. Three bedrooms, 2 baths and the rooms are big. Clean and uncluttered. A space that I could have the fun of decorating and spending money on to make it home. For 4 months I unpacked, found places to put the things that I need and still have uncluttered surfaces that would be easier to keep clean. I had space and enough income to do what I wanted in it.

After the first round of unpacking was almost completed, I realized I would need a new dining set in order to invite people into my home for a meal. I mentioned that to my Aunt at Christmas time as I was opening her gift to us of a brand new set of dishes for 8 people.. She responded by telling me she would look forward to my acquisition and an invite to have a meal with us on the new dishes she bought.

I said it would be a bit before the invite happened since we had depleted our bank account and needed time to pad it up some. We chuckled and went on with our lives after Christmas. A couple of weeks ago she called me to ask if I was still looking for a dining set because she had one that wouldn't cost me anything if I wanted it.

It's probably 30 years old since it was her Mom's. I love it. It isn't just the fact that I got this for nothing, it's the knowledge that something she treasured because of who it belonged to, has been entrusted to my care. This is not just a dining set, it's proof of how well I am loved. 

The dining set was the last of the more costly things I wanted to help me make my house a home. It wasn't until just a couple of days ago that I realized I was thinking like that. I don't know how it happened but my attitude seems to have been that I wasn't home until this was purchased or that was taken care of. It wasn't something I was even conscious of so I'm not sure what it was that caused the adjustment to my attitude. All I know for sure is that I walked into this house on Tuesday and felt that it was no longer this big empty space that I had to keep filling up, it was HOME.

HOME is not a picture in a House Beautiful magazine. HOME is not someplace where life doesn't happen. HOME is not a place where someone feels they can't put their feet on the coffee table, or spill something on the floor. Today HOME is a place that my husband entered and found his mess exactly where he left it because HOME means having enough mess to feel lived in. HOME was something I lost sight of while trying to make this house feel like HOME.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Paintbrushes Won't Leave Me Alone

From the standpoint of design elements that go awry, the following picture has more than it's share. However, despite the oh so many wrongs, I love it.

What I need to do is paint out the center tulip and bring it up higher on the piece, then I need to lower the bud on the left side of the picture. It's dreary out so that's a good job for today.

I've also begun a kitten in a teacup picture on the wood plaque that I had prepped for work. I've positioned the kitten and teacup and begun the wash of background color. 

Kitten will be gray and I'm planning a white teacup with light pink rose motif.  Behind the kitten will be stems of leaves and flowers in light blue and lavender. That is metallic gold painted framing and I plan on adding gold trim to the teacup. 

These will be the two pieces to work on this week and when I'm waiting for paint to dry on these pieces I will be working on the glass bowls and I'm going to try my hand at upcycling tin cans into Easter/Spring floral containers. Another idea I had for the tin cans is summer containers for picnic items like plastic dinnerware and napkins. A tip to Dollar Tree for flowers and plant pokes for the floral containers and whatever else I can find to put in them is on the schedule for this week.. I probably should also price shrink wrap and ribbon for the containers used for things other than florals. 

I still need to seal these pieces but they look so nice on my shelf without varnish that I'm loathe to go and varnish them. I need to do that so they're easier to dust, maybe sometime this weekend when the paint has cured to the clay. We'll see. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Creative Works Final Edition

  All that is left for me to do now is to let them cure for a few days and then seal them.

I haven't made up my mind exactly what resin figures I will be buying to place around these items on the shelf. I've seen some very colorful owls which are a possibility. I've seen some small resin birds with a channel under them that appears to clip down onto a flower pot edge. Those I saw at Dollar General. I still want to look at Family Dollar, Big Lots and Dollar Tree before I make up my mind.

Big Lots has some really cute fairy garden motifs that I saw in their weekly ad. Not sure how they look actually which is why I need to go there.DG and Family Dollar have the frogs and other garden motifs which also would work with the fairy motif pieces from Big Lots. With the careful purchase of a few dollar store items I can have a really interesting indoor garden idea happening on the shelf. 

I also need to check the craft stores for something to put in the pots. I don't think I want flowers, I'm hoping to find artificial greenery, maybe faux succulents for that. The pots are colorful enough without the addition of flowers. I'd have something that was too busy if I placed flowers in them.

So, I stopped to smell the roses and then I sowed pansies and reaped smiles. While doing these pieces I also found that the winter that returned this week after some really gorgeous spring days didn't give me a case of the winter blues. I need to remember when something bothers me that I can control the dreary with a paintbrush, a surface to work on and my own creativity. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Creative Work In Progress Part 2

With the exception of the sealant on the pot, I have the rose motif on moss/cashew pot completed. 

I didn't start work on the second pot yesterday because I couldn't decide whether I wanted hydrangeas or pansies. This morning I decided on pansies so as soon as it's light enough, I'm heading in to complete that pot. 

The rose motif is painted on both sides of the pot but the sentence "Stop and smell the roses." is only on one side. I may add it to the other side today or I might not. It would be on both sides if I planned on selling it and because the shelf it will go on when finished makes the front and back of the pot visible all the time, I probably will add it to the opposite side of the pot as well.

I did the lettering with a Sharpie fine point pen. I'm finding it easier to work with than trying to brush the lettering onto the pot. I do think I'll see about paint pens or at least medium point Sharpies. Some of the brush control is returning, but not enough to letter pieces I plan on selling. 

Yesterday after I finished the pot I sat in the living room with my husband and watched a little TV before getting supper. I had Butterscotch on my lap, he had Precious on his. At one point I looked over at him and he was scratching behind the kitty's ear and smiling. I don't remember a bit of what was said on TV, but the feeling of peace I experienced while watching him is with me still. 

Looking at the picture I see I could stand to straighten up the line between the two colors I used to base the pot. Somehow it just doesn't seem all that important to me. Nothing in life needs to be perfect, it just needs

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Creative Works In Progress

I don't converse much with other people who do artwork except for my friend Jeannie who does florals. I usually have a number of projects in various stages of progress because it makes sense to me to use the paint when I have it out.

If I'm using tube acrylics I'm mixing colors and tend to wind up with a fairly decent supply of whatever I've mixed and unless I'm going to use it on something else it gets discarded. If I'm using bottled or chalk paint from a jar, it's open which allows air to dry it out so why not use as much of it as I can before the air dries it out beyond the point of use? Even if I reseal the bottle, the air has already begun it's work.

What I do is grab whatever surfaces I think I have enough paint for and base them up.

The finished tin sign is still here because I finally realized I strung the jute backwards. The framed tin piece that was based with moss green is waiting for me to decide how I want to treat the framing. The wooden piece is waiting for it's frame treatment as well. 

I think the framed tin will be given a metallic finish, maybe copper or I might try a faux copper verdigris. I'm thinking gold leaf on the wood piece or metallic gold paint. Actually, I may just antique the whole piece as is and paint a wolf or something on it. Walking on the wild side these days.

The glass ivy bowls will receive roses and either hydrangeas or pansies. That will depend on what colors of the enamel paints I have that are workable. The glass bowl will be a reverse paint watermelon. reverse paint means I start by painting the seeds and the white rind section on the outside of the piece and then paint the outside of the bowl green with the watermelon striping on top of that. Once done looking inside the bowl will show whoever is looking the watermelon slice complete with seeds and rind. Doing something that way also allows the items to be used. 

If I don't have what I need, I can make a trip to Walmart to pick out some different colors. The paints I use on glassware are durable because they're baked in a 350 degree oven once their dry. 

I normally paint seasonal items for holidays and while I will continue to do that for Christmas items, my main focus will be on creating handpainted gifts that aren't always seasonal. Maybe things like glasses, coffee mugs and vases with silk flowers added that are originally glass jars we get with jellies, salsa, peanut butter, etc. 

This will all happen after I get the 3 pieces I want to do for myself done. 

Clay pots for the shelf between the kitchen and living room. I decided on 2 pots and 1 birdhouse. The completely based pot is Moss and Cashew. The one I'm working on is Celery and the upper band will be Ivory. The birdhouse is a 6 sided roundish shape so I'll use the Cashew/Ivory colors on the body of the piece and the 2 greens on the roof. 

I originally planned on doing 3 pots and 2 birdhouses but I got to thinking about all the cute little fairy garden motif items available at the Dollar Stores. Some of the bigger items would add whimsey if mixed in with the pots and the birdhouse. I decide to go that route. 

All this creativity will keep me off the internet where some of my web pals have gone off the deep end with their politics. Misplaced anger and truly unreasonable attitudes makes conversation about anything meaningful totally impossible. When someone I've conversed with for 11 years tells me I'm stupid for not believing in Conservative values when I've witnessed first hand those values deprive our nation's veterans, senior citizens and low income children of some of the help they desperately need, it's time to minimize contact with those who have that attitude. Painting is much more fun.