Saturday, January 08, 2022

Progressing into 2022

 I've continued sketching and filling sketch books, making postcards, decorating envelopes, writing letters, and reading, reading, reading.  I've been having some problems with the computer lately. Anything I typed kept goingggggggg annnnnd couldn't be backspaced or deleted.  I tried everything I could think of, spent so long making a comment or writing a post that the frustration resulted in abandoning whatever I was trying to do.

Finally, after days of frustration and at the point of self-immolation, I asked my husband for help.  He replaced the batteries in the keyboard.  Duh--I didn't even know the keyboard had batteries.   

                                          Postcards to Hannah and Annie (Scribbling Glue)


Since I've been spending so much time in my sketchbooks and making decorated envelopes and writing more letters, I've started looking for new ideas.  

Love these owl envelopes!  Etsy:  miss pink robin

She has 3 different sets of linotype owl envelopes and a lot of other cool stuff in her shop.


HA!  I sent a postcard to Annie, just checking in, a couple of days ago because I had not heard from her in so long.  Yesterday, her letter postmarked Dec. 7 arrived!  Melody's Christmas card from Singapore was postmarked Dec. 10 and arrived before Annie's!  

Today, I'll get right on Annie's letter. :)


Sunday, January 02, 2022


It was a long December that had me slightly depressed and anxious for weeks.  My defense is always to read more and  embroider or draw.  I've done a lot of both of reading and drawing, especially for the first few weeks this month.    Then it was over.  On realizing what had been bothering me, the miasma lifted.  That subconscious is a powerful thing.

We had a wonderful Christmas Day with Amelia, Chris, and Bryce Eleanor.  Since Max and Mila are in France visiting their other grandparents, Erin ended up skiing  with friends.  She didn't have enough time off to come home.  We missed them.  

Now, we are embarking on 2022.  I suppose we are all casting back to the past two years and wondering what the new year will hold.  

 I've found a new source of inspiration in Mix It Up Marci.  Simplicity and charm.  Marci paints with coffee; monochromatic little drawings that depend on tone and shade.  I've seen a lot of paint swatch doodles, but I like that Marci works entirely in shades of coffee.  

Marci even has scans of her stuff that you can download and use.  I didn't use  coffee, but tried various shades of brown, and although it doesn't show up, some shimmery gold.  It was great fun, and I'll be playing with more like this...

postcard to Amelia, Chris, and Bryce Eleanor

Doodling is one of those relaxing and meditative ways to spend time without any stress of completion.  

I just liked this sign for its great attitude.
It made me think about not only the big picture,
but about the small exclusions and inclusions
we make in life.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Mail Sent over the last 3 weeks

Christmas Postcards and Letters

to Hester

to Penn

to Ricky and Teresa

to Patty & Dave

to Iliana

to our Mail Carrier

to Bryce Eleanor


Books/Reading:  Lots of reading.  Just a few.

Listened to the audiobook Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians, but Were Afraid to Ask by  Anton Treuer, who is himself an Indian (Ojibwe) and does not object to the term.  He does, however, note that not all indigenous people feel that way.  He grew up with the term and uses it in self-reference.   Indian Halloween costumes and mascots, on the other hand, he feels are disrespectful.

The format is question and answer, and includes history, culture, language, stereotypes, racism, sovereignty, and much more.  Truer approaches each subject in a non-confrontational manner.   It is not, as you may imagine, a pretty picture, but it is fascinating.

Excellent and informative!  

This just cracks me up!

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

December Busy-ness

This has been the warmest December ever for us.  The high on Saturday for our local weather was 81 degrees.  Huh?   I believe in global warming and climate change and have for decades, but it suddenly seems to be happening so rapidly!   

Nevertheless, I crave winter soups and chili and gumbo, and the foods that seem to be comfort in cold weather.  Since today's high will be 55 degrees, soups are on my mind.  I avoid thinking about the ten day forecast, which shows it warming back up to the high 70's and possibly low 80's by the end of the week.  

These are two soups I want to try, along with some of our traditional favorites of Tomato Basil, homemade Chicken and Rice, Cheesy Broccoli, and Potato soups.

 roasted cauliflower/chickpea soup 

butternut squash soup  (Iliana suggested this one)

Crafty:  I've been working on some Christmas postcards and envelopes.  So slowly.  Given the rush of Christmas cards around this time, I'm not sure they will even arrive before Christmas since I keep procrastinating.  I like the drawing and painting part, but have had trouble actually completing the postcards and envelopes.  

Books/Reading:  recently finished the following

Family:  Amelia's birthday was the 1st, Chris' birthday was the 5th, and B.E.'s birthday is the 11th.  Then a short break before Fee's birthday on the 22nd.  Whew,  December is birthday month for so many of our family members.

Max and Mila are supposed to accompany their father and stepmother to France to see their other grandparents for Christmas.  The O variant may be a problem.  


Love these stamps from  Guernsey!

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

All Wrapped Up?

The weather here is unusually warm.  We are expecting several more days with highs of 75--it may be unseasonal, but it is comfortable. Bagging leaves for the compost pile has resulted in ongoing problem with itchy eyes.  Ugh.  I can't get Blogger to let me "left align" if you are wondering about the strange appearance of text.

I've been concerned about the waste of wrapping paper for years. 

 Shiny and glitter-encrusted paper is especially bad. It cannot be recycled and is nothing else but microplastics. The glitter pollutes oceans and ends up being ingested by animals which, over time, will collect in their stomachs and can be fatal. Fibres found in cheaper types of wrapping paper are not strong enough to recycle; wrapping paper is often dyed and laminated, and may also contain non-paper additives such as gold and silver coloring, glitter and plastics. Then there is the added issue of sticky tape, which is still often attached to paper when thrown away. Landfill or even incineration are often the only options to get rid of the waste.

"In the United States, an additional five million tons of waste is generated over Christmas, four million of which is wrapping paper and shopping bags. In the UK, consumers use approximately 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each year, and will put what equates to 108 million rolls of wrapping paper in the trash.Dec 14, 2020"   Source

 Sustainable Christmas Wrapping

The article gives shopping sources for the easel paper, but the sources were in the UK.  Here's a source for the U.S, but any art store would probably have it.  Dried oranges slices on Etsy or you can make your own.  Orange, lemon, grapefruit can be dried in the oven and would be a fun and scented activity as well as producing the slices for decor.  The above packaging is both lovely and elegant in simplicity.  

Since too much wrapping paper goes to the trash, I started making fabric bags or just wrapping gifts in fabric that can be reused.  Large Christmas napkins I bought years ago were also handy.  Recipients kept the bags, but the fabric pieces were returned to me for re-use if the receiver (usually male) didn't sew.  I've also used brown craft paper because I loved the simplicity of it.

In 2019, I tried the furoshiki wrapping and also used my fabric envelopes for gifts, using odds and ends from my stash of "stuff made with no real purpose" items.  

In 2010, I made some brown paper bags, that might be used again, but also could be recycled.  I used beeswax on some, others were just plain brown Kraft paper.  Some I stamped, some I stitched on.  These are small, but some were a little bigger.
Longer ago than that, I started making fabric envelopes and quilting them for special gifts.  I haven't made any in the last several years, but maybe this year I'll make one or two more.

They are nice for small gifts and can be used again for jewelry or  as gift packaging for someone else.  Maybe I'll make a couple more this year.  The envelopes are simple to make, and I enjoy the meditative process of quilting them.

It isn't much in the scheme of things, but it makes me feel better not to contribute to the waste, and I enjoy making stuff, so it works for me. :)

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Stuff and Nonsense

 Mail Art:

I was about to just use this failed pc attempt to test colors, 
but I started writing on it and it made me laugh.
So I sent it to Suzie.

To Teresa

There are 335,104,629 people in the U.S.
How many have your name?   (this was fun)

Jenny Mullen
  • There are 15 people in the U.S. named Jenny Mullen.

Isn't this lovely:

“I pray to the birds. I pray to the birds because I believe they will carry the messages of my heart upward. I pray to them because I believe in their existence, the way their songs begin and end each day—the invocations and benedictions of Earth. I pray to the birds because they remind me of what I love rather than what I fear. And at the end of my prayers, they teach me how to listen.”
–Terry Tempest Williams, REFUGE

  •   And I think this book by Jen Bryant & Melissa Sweet
  • would make a wonderful Christmas gift for a child.

 Roget's Words

 I posted the following on my other blog, 

but it continues to make me smile so I'm sharing it here as well.

This is actually a great gift--there is

always the gift with "batteries not included."

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

November Is Drawing to a Close

One morning last week, a fierce North Wind blew in.  Edgrr and Stinker were waiting eagerly for me to open the door, but when I did and the wind slapped them in the face, they changed their minds and went to find someplace warm to curl up and go back to sleep.  I rather felt the same way!  

The cold front pushed through, and we've been back in the 60's and 70's.   My favorite kind of weather.  

Incoming Mail

This card from Teresa made me smile.

from Hester

from Carol Ann

Carol Ann cleverly made a booklet out of this card
by punching holes in the card and inserting several pages
of pages for her letter, like signatures in a book.
Steal worthy idea!

3 signatures = 6 extra pages for the letter,
plus the front and back of the card!

What a great idea for a Christmas card!

Outgoing Mail
Suzie always texts me to tell me when she gets a letter, and
I get a quick update about N.O.:
Her school is still requiring masks, although many aren't any longer.
She just finished The Dressmaker of Auschwitz and loved all 
the sewing history included.
Now time for one of our long phone conversations.

Postcard to Patty

I spent several days playing upstairs this week, sketching ideas for envelopes and postcards and having a grand old time painting them.  Then--I realized that that I should have been making Christmas-themed stuff.  Always a step behind.  

Books/Reading:  Another place I stay behind, oh, not on reading, but on reviewing them on my book blog.  Just finished Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult last night, and I highly recommend it.  I have a lot of books to review over at A Garden Carried in the Pocket, and I will review Wish You Were Here eventually, but it was remarkable.

This looks like fun.
Source:  Kaliko