Sunday, January 30, 2011

When you were 12 years old...

...what was your favorite thing to do?

Not surprising - I played with dolls and toy horses.  I dreamed of growing up and having horses of my own.  I drew pictures and painted them bright colors.  I played games with my sister, mom and dad.  Typical childhood fun.  At least, for some...

As you know, Timothy and Cynthia are in the process of adopting a little girl from Ethiopia.  This week, I found out a little more about our little girl's birth mother.

The birth mother of Baby E is a 17 year old widow who is working and caring for her 5 year old child while living with her widowed mother.

*whew*  That information really set my mind to spinning.  I have been thinking all week about the childhood I had and how different it is from Baby E's birth mother's life.  Depressing?  No.  Because I know we can make a difference in the lives of people like Baby E and her birth mother. 

Care to give up a Latte or two this week?  Yep, just that much can make a big difference!

America World Adoption

World Vision to sponsor a child

Joni and Friends domestic and international ministries

Compassion International to sponsor a child

Maybe adoption is not for you - but, for about one dollar a day, you can sponsor a child and make a huge difference in their life and the lives of their family.  Don't want to make a long term commitment?  Check out the ministries at Joni and Friends and help out the disabled living all over the world.

Just for the price of a Latte!

Happy Giving!

...visit orphans and widows in their distress...  James 1:27

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Need some help balancing creativity and life?

Does life ever come crashing into your creative time until you feel totally out of control?  Well this month's Etsy Blogger of the month has some real life solutions for you! 

Joy of The Art of Joy is both a real time mom and a very creative Etsy seller.  Check out her very cool shop and you will find some yummy useful goodies like this ~

What a fun way to stay organized!  It even comes with stickers to mark your special days.

Want to make those special days extra special?  Wander on over to her blog, Creative Mamma, and you will find lots of free printable downloads, hints, and links to information that no Mama should be without! 

After you have taken a tour of her very cool Etsy shop and you have strolled through the pages and pages of great fun on her blog, take a few minutes and wander around on her flickr page.  You can peek into her busy life and see one of the cutest kiddos on the planet ;-)

Have fun getting to know Joy and bookmark her sites so you can catch pictures of the soon to be born new little one!  Congrats to you, Joy!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Simple pleasures... Funtry Friday!

Mikayla, Naomi and I have been enjoying the simple pleasures of having fun 'country style'!

Nothing quite like the morning guinea song!  Naomi likes it way better than TV.

Care to join us at the petting zoo?  Benny likes the attention!

Want to join the girls for a spin around the ice rink?  What is it about kids and puddles?  Even frozen ones!

If you want a little exercise, you can join the 'ice crew' as they pound away and break up all the ice on the water barrels.  No worries - the blue glove on the ground didn't get lost.  I just got soaked =p
On the recreational side, you can join in the goathead race.  Race around the yard and whoever ends up with the most goatheads in their shoes wins.  *lol*  Or you can take a turn at the slide!  Just the right size for a 'little' thrill!

For a field trip, how about traveling to Costco where they have everything - including snow!
At the end of the day, there is nothing quite like relaxing and checking out your feather collection.  Ahem... each one of Naomi's feathers has a name - and a distinct personality!

And what are Mama and Daddy doing?
Meeting 'Baby E' for the first time! 
Hope you are having as much fun as we are!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Timeless reflections...

 What brings you the most joy when you are creating something? 

Is it the satisfaction of a job well done?  Is it the smiles of those who will feast on the meal you have prepared?  The warmth someone will enjoy from your quilt?  The beauty that you now see before you?

For me, the joy is in the creating.  When I am lost in a painting, time seems suspended.  I find myself in a quiet eddy while the torrent of the busy-ness of life rushes by unheaded.

Five minutes?  Three hours?  Who knows.  In the quiet stillness I hear the sound of the brush against the paper, and feel an occasional splash of cool water.  I watch the painting emerge on the paper until, with a deep breath, I push away from my table and become suddenly aware that time has resumed and life swirls around me.

My 'timeless moment' has passed and left a splash of color on what was once white paper.  The joy of creating this painting is in that 'timeless moment'.

I enjoy other 'timeless moments'.  Watching a sunset.  Brushing the horses.  Playing with my grandchildren.  Time passes by while I stop and just 'be' and not 'do'.  Our days can become so full of what needs to be done, that it is easy to forget to take time to just 'be'.  These 'timeless moments' are a great way to recharge, refresh and renew! 

Have you had a 'timeless moment' today?  Did you take time to just 'be'?
I hope so!


And do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
so that you may prove what the will of God is,
that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2

Friday, January 14, 2011

One last ice cube... Funtry Friday

*Whew* all this ice and snow... Only one last big old hunk of ice to remove ~ 

And, at last!  It sits on a lovely bed of...

...horsey road apples!  Fitting demise for that rascally chunk of ice.

Hey, after all this hard work in the cold outdoors I'm whooped so I'll be right back.  Going for some hot chocolate.  Ya want a cup?

***********Ahem.  This is your Dog on the Farm, Lova, taking over this blog post to bring in a little reality here!**************

Our hoomanbean has been just a little bit obsessed with ice lately.  I think you need to see what us fourple foots think about all of her whining.  Me?  I hasn't seen much ice for a week so I can't figure out what the big deal is. 

Let's see what Cookie thinks ~

Ummm...  Well, maybe we'll go talk to someone else.  She's a little, well... odd - on a good day. 

Ahem, okay, well let's go look at that gianormous ice throne our bean was all amazed about.

Do you need a microscope to see it?  Just about.  Huh.  I don't see anything to whine about here.

Wonder what Billie Jane thinks...

*nom chomp nom nom* 
"Ice?  I like the frosted look myself. 
Gives a little contrast to my lovely red tresses."

There, you see - Billie Jane thinks ice is no big deal.  'Course she did come from Colorado...

Let's go see what Bethie thinks.  After all, that was her big old barrel of water that had the last chunk of ice in it.

"Is this edible?  Or should I just butt it?"

Well, I guess I should have figured that a goat would have that reaction.  But, seriously, she obviously doesn't care that it's ice.

Okay, I know that there are a lot of cat people out there, and, though I am not fascinated by them (ahem, dog's rule, you know!), we do have an opinionated feline in residence.

Introducing Forrest, THE Queen of all Cats (she made me say that) ~


Ummmm, I am pretty sure that 'meh' means I don't give a hoot about ice.  Or maybe it just means I don't give a hoot *period*.  Hard to tell with a cat.

Well, there you go.  What do you think?  Do you agree that our hoomanbean was really whiny about a few tiny little bits of ice and wet stuff?  We thinks so!

Ah, oh - here she comes with her hot chocolate.  I had better go pretends to be sleeping. 
*********This is Lova, your Dog on the Farm, signing off for now!**********

Hey, what happened here?  Oh, while I went to get my hot chocolate, they have been at it again...
You guys - no don't WAIT! not "publish post"!  NOOoooooo...............

Blessings from the hoomanbean, too ;-)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Have you seen the Sharpie Pencil? Check this out!

On the package, Sharpie's Liquid Pencil is advertised to be smooth like a pen and erases like a pencil.  They also say that the Liquid Graphite Technology eliminates broken leads.  It is, we are told, a No. 2 lead equivalent that will become permanent on paper after about 24 hours.

Naturally I was way past curious, and, since I really enjoy pencil drawing, I wanted to try this out.  Here's a little tour of what I found out when I played with this pencil that is not quite a pencil.

Given my love of watercolor, the first paper I grabbed was 140 pound watercolor paper.  And, naturally, I wanted to see how it would erase!

As you can see, it erases very nicely.  I did see some dents in the paper, but that could be me and my exhuberant drawing style =p
After a couple of days, I went back and erased over it again.  It was mostly permanent, but you can see a lighter area where the arrows are pointing.  That's where I erased it today.  The Sharpie company has stated that the Sharpie Pencil is more permantent than a reagular pencil but not as permanent as their markers.  They also state that you can expect to have some ability to erase indefinitely. 

I then wanted to see what would happen when I put watercolor paint on top of the Sharpie Pencil.

Whoopsie!  Want to erase after 24 hours?  Just add water if your drawing is on watercolor paper.  I think the ability to erase after 24 hours and the 'bye-bye' where once there was shading, are due to the fact that this is a sized piece of watercolor paper.

Thinking about different papers, I thought I would try some others and see what happened.

Plate Bristol had rather disappointing results.  The slick plate surface made it hard for the liquid graphite to adhere.  The faster I drew, the less the liquid graphite seemed to want to adhere to the slick surface.  I usually sketch very quickly so this was just a teeny bit annoying.

I moved on to Strathmore's 400 Drawing paper and drew this little cowbell.

This paper worked much better.  The liquid graphite flowed fairly smoothly unless I drew extremely fast or forgot to hold the Sharpie Pencil a little more upright rather than at a steep angle to the paper.  I was able to get some nice 'darks' on this paper, too.  That was really hard to do on the other papers as the liquid graphite kept wanting to lift.

Having determined that a soft paper with no sizing but with a moderate tooth was the way to go, I tried another paper:  Liquitex Basic Drawing Pad - a student grade drawing paper.

The Sharpie Pencil moved well on this paper and I was able to get a nice range of darks and lights.  I does look quite a bit different that a regular pencil, though.  Here is the same sketch done in a regular graphite pencil.

Pluses for the Sharpie Pencil? 
*You definitely don't have to sharpen this bad boy and I didn't break the lead once!  I also did not have to refill the lead as you would have to with a mechanical pencil.
*The color is a very nice shade of practically No. 2 pencil lead =)

Hints for the Sharpie Pencil? 
*Stay away from heavily sized paper or from paper with a very smooth surface.  Both of these make it hard for the liquid graphite to adhere.  Even your hand resting on your drawing will remove it every bit as good as the eraser =p  Instead, use a soft drawing paper with a little tooth.
*Hold the Sharpie Pencil so that it is more perpendicular to the paper.  You can have it at a slight slant, but too much of a slant and it skips and can't flow smoothly.  It reminds me of the way you would handle a Rapidiograph pen.

The Sharpie Pencil liquid graphite makes me think about using erasable ball point pens.  It has a very similar feel to the way the ink is delivered in those pens and they erase in a similar fashion.  For quick sketching on soft drawing paper, these are easy to use and a lot of fun.

Here are a couple of things to be aware of, though, before you create your next masterpiece with them. 
*One is that there is no data on how archival the liquid graphite in the Sharpie Pencil is.  If you are an artist who prefers to use only archival materials, you may want to wait until there is definative data on these. 
*The other thing to be aware of is that the point on the Sharpie Pencil is close to a .5mm lead.  When drawing with this, you will not have a flexible point, so your line will be consistently the same width.

Are you going to give one of these a try?  Let me know what you think when you do!


PS  The wonderful Etsy Blogger's Team has a great Carnival for the new year:  "Now that it's the beginning of a new year, what goal do you have for your business that you hope to achieve in 2011?" 

Well, one of my goals this year is to have a weekly blog post that will be chocked full of useful hints, information, and tips! 

Do you have a question you would like answered or a product you would like to know more about?  Let me know!  If I use your question, I will link back to your blog in my post =)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A long ago beginning...

Once upon a time there was a little girl who wanted to grow up to be a cowgirl. She surrounded herself with horses. Horse pictures, horse toys, horse books, horse note cards, and lots of horse dreams.

She grew up but she never outgrew her love for horses. She kept her horse pictures, horse toys, horse books, horse note cards, horse dreams and she added lots of horse drawings, more horse toys, more horse books, more horse pictures and more horse dreams to her collection.

One day she moved to a place where she could have her horses. So she did! She still kept her horse pictures, horse toys, horse books, horse note cards, and horse drawings but she also began to live her horse dreams. And she helped her daughter to have a few horse dreams, too! Pretty soon there were other little girls who were having horse dreams. They liked to play with Grammy’s toys and read her books, but mostly they liked to pet her horses.

Sometimes after that all grown up little girl is finished petting, brushing, playing with and cleaning up after her horses, she likes to sit down and look at her horse pictures, horse toys, horse books, and her horse note cards. One day when she was looking at her horse note cards, she noticed a very interesting thing. The title of the beautiful artwork that she had admired all these years and the name of the artist of the beautiful artwork were on the back of the card.

“The Appaloosa Family” by George Phippen

The very same George Phippen for whom the Phippen Museum in Prescott, Arizona, is named.

The rest of the story? Well, this all grown up little girl worked for a frame shop in Prescott where she met and became friends with Louise Phippen, wife of the late George Phippen. She framed lots of pictures for her including some artwork by George Phippen.

And she still has her horse pictures, horse toys, horse books, horse drawings - and her horse note cards with the beautiful picture of the artwork by George Phippen - as well as her wonderful horses.


'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD,
'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's melting! I'm freezing... Happy first 2011 Funtry Friday!

I am beginning to wonder if I did slip through the wardrobe and land in the snowy world of Narnia.  It is really winter here!  I have been busy chipping ice and hauling water and, well, freezing all my parts north and south.  Brrrrrr!

First we had snow...

And a lot of wind.  Usually my little (I know - very messy!) pile of wood on my porch is all high and dry.  Not this time... It was wetter than what was under the tarp!

And then it got cold.  Like really cold - like -5 F (-21 C) at 6 AM.  Okay, if you think that -20 F  is a heat wave, don't tell me.  You will only cause me to have a major whine attack...  Anyway, did you know that water will turn to ice when it is that cold?

This could be evidence for the Narnia theory...  Doesn't it look like an ice throne?  C'mon - work with me here!  LOL!

Actually, I had a tub of water that froze so solid that I couldn't break the ice.  When I dumped it, this little throne appeared.  Nice place to sit if you get tired of making your feet cold while walking in the icy slush on the way to the next batch of ice that used to be water...

Ooooo...  nice ice.....

Ice that must be whacked and smashed and removed... Well, here we go!  There's my smashing tool - highly technical, don't you think?  And that would be the ice.  Lots of it....

One 2 x 4 and a lot of exercise - and voila!

Oh, look - a helper!  Well, she is moving a few of those little leftover pieces around.  Yep, that was about 6 inches of ice on the horse tank.  Ummm.... 15 cm.  Half a foot.  No matter how you say it, that was a lot of ice.  Fortunately it wasn't as solid as the smaller water barrels.

And what about the little chickies?  Well, here is their ice cube that I finally removed after a couple of balmy 40F days.

The hose finally thawed a couple of days ago, too, so now I don't have to bucket the little flock water.  Woohoooo!

But check this out ~

The 'throne' is still there!

Now, what about that ginormous chunk of ice in the goat water barrel...  Wonder how long it is going to take for that to melt.  Until then, it will be time for a few more little water buckets out there...

As for me, I want to enjoy the view from inside - preferably with a cup of hot chocolate!  It was pretty when it snowed.

And especially nice when viewed from a cozy warm house! 

Hope you are having a hot chocolate day - with not too much ice and snow!


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