Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Paying it forward... with patience

Well, it was a dark and stormy... day! The skies just opened up AGAIN several times over the afternoon. Where all this rain is coming from is anybody's guess. Amazing. I think there have only been 6 days this month that have been rain-free, and even then, they weren't without threat of rain. Geesh.

So... off my hubby and I went to pick up Mom and Dad's cats (Tease and Schooner) to take to the vet's for their well-baby check-ups and shots. Of course it rained. A lot. We managed to get in and out of the vet's with just a little rain hitting us. Thankfully, we were able to wait out the torrents inside our dry car. So, the cats were well-behaved and passed their check-ups with flying colours and good behaviour and were trundled back into their carriers and taken home for some TLC. There they proceeded to wind their way back into the hearts of my parents and tell tales of how they were so abused and maltreated, lol. Right. I think the only ones traumatized were my parents. These are their babies I was taking to get stung with a needle.

After a quick visit, hubby and I headed off shopping and home. Of course the skies opened up again with a huge dumping of rain that made visibility almost non-existent. We were on the road toward home when all of a sudden I thought I saw some movement in the road ahead (maybe just a reflection of lights in a puddle?) and the vehicles in front of us started throwing on brakes with no warning. What?! C'mon, it's raining and awful, but pull over to wait it out. But look, there's a black and white mop standing in front of a car. Then it slowly moved and was looking for something, but nobody was stopping to see what they could do. The "mop" moved onto the median and we realized it was a bedraggled, thorough
ly soaked thru dog. Husband, knowing what a freakin' softy I am (and of course he is a closet softy, lol) asked if I wanted him to stop so I could try to nab the little critter before it became roadkill or caused an accident. Did he need to ask again? Nope, I already had my seatbelt unbuckled and he had barely put the four-ways on, lol. I ran to the back of the car and the side of the road and called the little mop. It hesitated for a fraction of a heartbeat then ran to me wagging it's rope of a tail. OMGawd, I don't think I've ever seen anything so soaked through, even after a planned bath! I bundled the now semi-identifiable, un-neutered black and white shih tzu into my arms and ran back to the car with it, hopped into my seat and settled with it on my lap. I was already soaked-through and it was shivering uncontrollably. Poor thing.

Off we drove to our vet to see if they had a listing of the license numbers. All that w
as attached to the collar. Nope. And of course no microchip . But they handed me a towel and I asked them to call the city to see if they could contact the owner using the tag number. The City got back to us and said they had reached the owner and the owner was on his/her way. Yippee. Everybody was happy and so pleased there would be a happy resolution. An hour later, we were still sitting there waiting. Our patience was thinning. Fast. We decided to try calling the city back and if we couldn't be given the owner's info... the owner could darn well get their now dry and SAFE sweet pooch at the pound (which would cost them a good buck). Just as I was on hold, the door opened and a young man arrived to pick up his sister's dog who had escaped the yard. Wish the sister had told the city that she needed to find a drive! Whew, timing was perfect as we were heading out the door any second. We gave him a little chat (he was too nice and English too poor to really read the riot act at that point, lol), handed over the happy dog and left. I was still soaking but decided to go to a store for my Quick & Easy Painting magazine anyway. Was still wet when I got home - probably 2 hours after the rescue, lol.

Oh, well, happy ending. Dog saved, good samaritan act done and I "paid forward" from when one of my dogs was rescued many, many years ago when some nasty person decided to open our back gate and let them all out onto the road behind. One got confused in the dark and also rain-soaked night and got lost and wandered into an intersection a couple blocks away. That, too, was a happy ending.

Now I'm off to warm up some more and enjoy my magazine!

~ Shelley

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'm getting excited...

'Cause I'm going to HOOT (Heart of Ohio Tole Painting Convention in Columbus, Ohio)!

A couple of friends and I had decided that nothing will stop us from going next year as we really want to see and experience this talked-about convention for ourselves. And next year will be HOOT's 30th anniversary. However, I was asked if I could help out in a booth this year so, golly gee, I just couldn't say "no" .

So... have found a discounted airfare and will be going down on the 11th of August and flying back on the 16th. Will be nice to get away again and schmooze with friends and enjoy the experience. I will be working in the Princeton Brush and Speedball booths. Hopefully I'll be able to get a couple hours off for good behaviour, lol, and check out the other booths 'cause of course I have a wishlist!

I'm being a good girl, too, lol. I'm trying to finish up a few UFO's (unfinished objects) around the house so that 1) they can be put away/displayed and 2) I can make room for more stuff, lol. So today, I finished my Moonlight Clematis painting designed by Peggy Stogdill. Hoping to get a couple more oil paintings finished (Sherry Nelson Scarlet Tanager; Willow Wolfe Gentle Lion) in the next few days although with hubby on holiday, we'll be doing day trips together. We'll see what gets done. Hey, I have good intentions, that oughtta count for somethin'!

Will try to keep you posted.

~ Shelley

Friday, July 24, 2009

What I've been up to this week

Well, there is a bridal shower for my niece this weekend. It will be a "gift card" shower. So, not a lot of colour and different shapes and sizes of gifts, lol. Just flat plastic. A good idea, but I wanted to add something a little different.

So... I thought I'd just "throw" together a little book that I could put my gift card in. I made a Bridal Shower Brag Book. Leslie's "colours" are to be burgundy (I think she called it some sort of red wine, but I don't remember which one, lol) and plum. I created a "flag book" with space enough for a minimum of 15 pics (more if you don't write captions on the back of each "flag") and two pages with pockets in them at the front and back and a list inside the front and back covers to record gifts (in this case, a lot of gift cards, lol... but I'm sure she'll have at least one or two more showers).

It was fun being creative. Hope she likes it. I created a card to match.

~ Shelley

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oil and Water

Actors: Shelley playing "Oil" and watercolour pencils playing "Water"

Setting: Nice, quiet (well... that's debatable, lol) weekly class at the home of Lydia Steeves.

Ya, you know oil and water don't mix. So why praytell do I insist on keeping at it? 'Cause I'm a masochist, lol. No, maybe it's because I don't want to let it defeat me. Yup, that'd be it.

So... out popped my watercolour pencils and we played with "painting" fuschias on cards. Big problem though. I had a packet of blank cards... they were not watercolour safe, lol. My frisket just peeled the paper right off the surface. Argh! Oh well, I had fun putzing with the background colours before I found out that bit of news. No biggie. I'm a sucker for punishment, remember? I will pull out "real" watercolour paper in the next couple of days and start AGAIN, lol.

Will keep you posted. Someday, someday I will putter and play and actual enjoy the watercolours. Actually, when I did a Carol Spohn piece, Cat in Cat, I quite enjoyed it. It was unstructured and fun.

On a positive note... I finished my Rebecca Baer piece - Daisies. It turned out quite well.

~ Shelley

Saturday, July 18, 2009

She doesn't bite... really!

She just clamps down ... HARD, lol! I mean... look at thaaaaat face?! Not a malicious bone in Shimmer's body - REALLY!

Well, I've got an infected finger joint and been soaking it in antiseptic wash and alternating cold and hot compresses, lol, plus a pretty strong prescription antibiotic ointment. Swelling is finally down enough I've been on the 'puter the last couple hours - was suffering withdrawal as earlier attempts were hunt and peck or working the mouse with my left hand. Hey, have to keep trying to use it, that's also how to work out the swelling. Really.

Was a little concerned when I woke up this morning and saw the tell-tale "blue streak" starting to move up my hand toward my wrist. Hid that well from hubby, lol, as I worked the RICE method and added the heat and soaks. Much better now. Whew. Happened yesterday when my dogs found the splintered steak bones all over the neighbour's lawn (crows got into their garbage) and all of them let me nab them and remove the bones, but one. Shimmer decided to have "lock jaw" on my finger and clamped good (she's just like her great-grandmother was - geesh, trying to give that one a pill or open her mouth if she didn't want was a lesson in futility). Think she thought it was the steak bone and not my finger. She punctured it good. And it hurt like... well, hell! LOL. Had to hide it in my pocket from the little boy who was there so he wouldn't be worried the dogs "bit" (they don't. Really. Normally you can take food right out of their mouthes with nary an incident. But I guess it's just semantics in this case, lol). It was bleeding like crazy and of course I was dirty from gardening... Oh well, turned out to be a good lesson to the neighbours who were going to go out to get a "real" garbage can with a lid to put their garbage bags in.

I can actually see the knuckle now and bend it some and the infection seems to have been stopped in it's tracks. Whew. I can just hear my hubby now... "I told you so" (as he shakes his head and finger at me). Hey, I fixed it didn't I? And I made you Peanut Butter cookies!

~ Shelley

I Don't Like It, lol

I sure like having the accessibility to a Decorative Painting Shop and Scrapbooking Shops. Yes, I am spoiled as I know many do not have this luxury anymore with so many shops closing due to the economy and the internet boom. It is a great opportunity to take classes where you can "try before you buy", lol. With a class fee and/or a small palette fee for supplies, you can try the latest techniques or mediums and see if it is something you would like to pursue. Internet and videos just fall short of this hands-on experience.

So... what did I try this week? Well, I booked a class at one of my favourite scrapbooking shops, Tina's Scrapbooking in Winchester, and some friends and I got to play with Glimmer Mist by Tattered Angels. I guess if I was to describe it, I'd have to call it shimmery watercolour in a spray bottle. And if you know anything about me, it's that I have a bit of aversion to watercolours. I just don't get 'em, lol, although I do continue to "try" them. So, maybe I didn't "get" this project because of my mental block with watercolours (structured type), lol?

The array of colours and combinations is quite staggering. But at almost $10 per bottle, it is not an inexpensive "toy", although, each bottle lasts and lasts. You can use it on paper, acrylics, chipboard, wood, canvas... Some Decorative Painters are even using it in their designs with great results.

We had small albums comprised of blank white paper pages that were our "canvasses". We sprayed and layered and stencilled and stamped and brayered and smeared and wiped and... wore it. Neat process. Fast way to colour up blank pages already confined in a pre-made book. Guess for some it would beat the glue mess, but... nope, decided it is NOT for me. Far too messy (and expensive). BUT I had a GREAT time playing with it and especially not having the mess in my home, lol. It was a great afternoon for the four of us.

Ah well, it's the journey, right?

I know, some will think what I just wrote is heresy, lol.

~ Shelley

Monday, July 6, 2009


Well, I think I've recovered from my week at Convention. Of course, I thought I'd recovered the Tuesday I got back, then I remembered the scheduled 3 day painting seminar for that weekend.

What was I thinking?!

The few days back home were spent doing laundry and unpacking and sleeping and... just generally getting back to "real life", lol. Then Friday arrived with the shrill sound of the alarm clock. Reality check. Time to get moving.

Thank goodness the piece we had chosen was just one to make you smile and relax and just plain enjoy. There were only a 1/2 dozen of us but we'd decided to run the class anyway as it wouldn't save to cancel hotels etc. for the teacher. We painted with Sharon McNamara Black and she is an absolute gem. Friendly, knowledgeable, sharing and just a really good, relaxed teacher.

Friday's piece was a witch candy dish (or paint it on a surface of your choice - makes a great floor mat or wall hanging). It was titled Neighbourhood Boo-tification and the witch, appropriately, was painting. A lot of dry-brushing with a tooth filbert (heavier bodied than most of the filbert rakes/wisks or combs we generally use for our animals) and wonderful, bright colours. A piece and a day to make you smile.

Saturday was a beautiful Siberian Iris that Sharon had just designed. It was painted mostly with a filbert wave brush. This was a new-to-me method and I enjoyed playing with the brush and the gel medium. Unfortunately, my surface wasn't behaving so I had to stop about 1/2 way through. Not sure if it was the surface or the cure time for the basecoat (thrown together the night before, lol - need you ask?), but despite protecting layers with glazing medium, my paint kept pulling off. No... it was NOT the operator! We made sure to determine that and Sharon assured me this was not the case . I will either finish or re-do the piece as it is truly lovely.

Saturday night a small group of us took Sharon and her husband, Marty, to dinner. We went to a Chinese Food Buffet. The company, food and conversation were terrific and it was a great end to the day.

The alarm on Sunday morning was much too shrill. Argh. One more day. I'm s'posed to be enjoying, but at this point, I have to honestly tell you I was just going through the motions.

The piece chosen was a beautiful landscape titled "Wishin' for Rain". I think, in hindsight, this piece should probably have been done on the first day when everyone would be fresh (sometimes, it's only perception; however, even if you haven't been painting the full seminar, the last day always seems to be the toughest). I think, also, we hadn't properly prepared our registrants that these were "technique" workshops. All three days were totally different techniques and some that many of our members had never attempted before.

So... the piece. A LOT of blending and layering; glazing and more blending and layering of colours to get the different meadows/fields/paths, skies and clouds. Whew, so many colours, so much blending. I was actually enjoying the process as I knew this was the main part of the piece and the addition of trees, croft, fence, paths and bushes was really just the "icing". I think I was probably just in the "zone", lol. Unfortunately, I heard disturbed rumblings of discontent that through a damper on my putzing enjoyment. Many were just not "getting it" and having trouble and not seeing "an end in sight" or a reason. I felt bad for the teacher and for us/them. Not much to do but soldier on and keep a bright, tired face (think that's an oxymoron, but I did try). I mostly completed my piece and really enjoyed, believe it or not. Another UFO (unfinished object, lol) to be completed.

Sharon invited my husband and I to dinner with Marty and her, but I begged off. Was sooooo tired and Dan was feeling poorly; plus I really wanted to run by my Mom's and wish her a very Happy, but belated, 70th birthday (was the day before - she knew about my painting seminar and hadn't wanted a big "do", so I'd already cleared it with her, lol).

The following week was spent in bed recuperating from the big trip + the seminar - at least the first couple days. Then reality check as I played catch-up with hearth and home.

~ Shelley