Friday, March 30, 2012

Funtry Friday and the Missy-terious Happenings...

Pal, here - since Missy has gone to Texas, wees goin' to do tha bloggin' today.  And eyes...

No, no. no. naw, NO!  Missy did not goes to Texas.  She has an awfuls icky-sicky which has gives her a taxus rashus.  Lotses and lotses of hoomanbeans gets it arounds this times of year.  She's gone to get it fixed.

Billie Jane
Before breakfast?????  Eye-yi-yi!  *races off to look for the missing Missy*

I'll nosey around heres and sees what I can finds out...  I did sees her with a big pile of stuff, but it didn't looks like hay....  She was shovin' it in the truck.

It's the dreaded Taxus Rashus!  Oh no, oh no, oh no... Whats we goin' ta do 'bout this?  Pooooor Missy!


Calm.  Be calm.  (for one things, you is disturbing my nap) And for another things, everythings is under controls...  Seeeee?  I has my EYE on Missy.  It's not the Taxus Rashes... it's the 'rushes taxes'...  Whatever that means *yawn* it always goes aways almosts as fasts as it happens.  So go takes a naps and waits.  Missy will be her regular selfs by dinner!

Okay, finished up the taxes *finally*... why do I always wait and then have to rush *rolls eyes... now what was next on my list?  Oh, yeah - blogging.  Hmmmm.... should I blog about not waiting so long to do taxes and having to rash rush around like crazy to get them done...  Hmmmm....

Happy Funtry Friday,
(aka Missy)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Painting up a storm... or two!

Cream watercolor paper sitting on top
of bright white watercolor paper.
One thing led to another.  First, Lee Pierce of WATERCOLORS or Else... sent me a little sample of a cream watercolor paper.  I decided, knowing that this is a 'warmer' tone paper, that I would paint a sunset with a fence post because those things would work well with warmer tones.

Then the Blogging Business Artisans had a challenge for March:  Your challenge is to create any item with turquoise and red as the primary colors.  You can incorporate other colors, too, but turquoise and red must be key components.

I hadn't done anything for the challenge because I wasn't sure what I wanted to paint.  Voila!  A sunset... and, um..... Oh!  A sunset with a LOT of red and a fence post with a turquoise bandanna tied to it! 

Then I got to wondering how much difference the paper would make if I used the cream watercolor paper instead of white watercolor paper.  That gave me the idea to do two paintings using the same colors - one on the cream watercolor paper and one on a bright white watercolor paper.  ***TaDaaaaa!***

Next thing I knew, I was painting up a storm... or two!

Did the paper make a difference?  Yes, I think it did.  Take a look at the ground in both of these paintings.  The painting with the cream paper has an overall warmer tone while the white paper has a brighter cooler tone.
cream watercolor paper

bright white watercolor paper
You can also see the difference in the sunset areas.  The red has a deeper, richer color on the cream watercolor paper, while the red has a brighter and lighter tone on the white watercolor paper.  The cream paper gives an additional warmth to the sunset colors while the white paper has a bit brighter and more 'sparkly' look. 

cream watercolor paper
bright white watercolor paper

Oh - you want to see more than a little corner of the paintings?  Here you are!

Red Sunset and Turquoise Bandannas
This may not be the most scientific test for the difference between cream watercolor paper and white watercolor paper because I did a lot more 'wet in wet' painting on the white paper.  I did, however, use the same colors on both these little watercolor sketches.  It was fun to play with the bright colors!

So, would I use the cream watercolor paper again?  Absolutely!  It does take some planning and thought about the right subject, though, and that is something to keep in mind.

And how about the colors?  I like the strong contrast of the turquoise and the red - but next time I will mix my own turquoise, I think.  This seems to be a little more 'blue' than what I think of as turquoise - even though that was what the label said.

Well, that made for a fun painting day!  Have you been having some creative fun lately, too?  I hope so!

Happy creating!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Slavery by any other name…

Slavery.  The word brings to mind many images, doesn’t it?  Everything from historical names and places, to movies, actors and actresses…  Raised whips to raised fists… 

There is a focus though.  Most people think of slavery only in the terms of the American Civil War.  Slavery had and has a much larger history.

Originally thought of as a more ‘humane’ way to deal with captives, slavery had almost disappeared by the 1300’s.  It was revived in the 1500’s  by the Portuguese explorers in Africa who started the slave trade that eventually spread to America. 

In 1792 Denmark was the first country to stop the slave trade, but the Quakers in England had begun the fight to stop slavery in 1671.   American Quakers joined the fight in 1696.  In 1833 slavery was banned in all British colonies.   

Then came the Civil War and slavery was over.  Right?  No. 

Look at Nazi Germany, and you will see captives enslaved. 

Look a little closer to now – March 21, 2012 – Estonia became the last EU country to ban ‘human trafficking’ according to FOX News.

You see, slavery has a new name:  human trafficking.

It is still the same ugly thing and it has more victims than ever.  Depressing?  Yes.  But until we are informed about a situation, we are unable to move forward to make a difference.   Check out the Federal Bureau of Investigation website.

And then pray about what you will do.   Something as simple as telling someone that there is hope, and where to get help, could make a huge difference in the life of that person.


And Jesus looking upon them saith, “For men it is impossible,
but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”
Mark 10:27

Friday, March 23, 2012

Snow Day for Funtry Friday!

The first part of this week I had some real weather!  I got up Sunday I saw this out the window ~

Winter Wonderland
I watched Hershey lick the ice and snow off the poles for a while.  Totally not sure what that was all about!

Hershey and Billie Jane
Then I decided this could just stay the way it was.

Spring thaw will take care of this.
I wandered around and discovered I have company under the shed again.  At least it is a rabbit instead of a skunk this time.

Lots of little rabbit tracks

After all of that I decided to play in the snow.  I didn't want to make a snowman... So I made a snow horse.

Snow Horse or Snow Dog?
Okay - from this angle it looks like a Springer Spaniel to me.  Hey - I paint.  Sculpture is not my strong artistic point!

So what does it look like now?  Well, I am happy to report that this ~

Icy Chicken Coop
... now looks like this ~

Summery Chicken Coop
Okay, so the grass really didn't grow there that fast.  I dug up some grass from where it doesn't belong and put it in the chicken coop for the chickens to munch.  Yay!  It was finally warm enough to get some yard work done!  That made for a very happy Funtry Friday!

Hope you had a Happy Funtry Friday, too!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Down to the details, sparkles and signature - all done!

 After several interruptions *ahem* Sharla's fun paintings are finally all finished!


Many thanks to Sharla of Beaded Tail for letting me do these paintings of her darling fur babies!  (And for her patience when I had some delays, too.)  It was so fun to have Isabella, Angel, and Sadie keep me company while I was painting.  What precious furries!

When I paint in watercolor, I like to keep most of my brush strokes soft and loose - however, the faces need a lot of detail.  Some of the detail comes from using darker paint to draw your attention to things like the eyes.  You will note that I said 'darker paint'.  Contrary to the appearance of these painting, there is no black paint on any of them.  In fact, there is no black paint on my palette.  In my blog post, No room for black on my palette,  I explain how I mix 'chromatic black' which gives a much richer color than using a tube of black paint. 

As a finishing touch, I also like to use gouache (an opaque watercolor) to add a little 'sparkle'.  Here you have a 'before and after' of Sadie.  On the left you see the finished painting and on the right you see the painting before I added a few little highlights.

Adding a little gouache.

The effect is very subtle, but it really makes a difference - especially in person.  It's really fun to add the gouache on animals because it can be used to highlight little bits of hair - of which they have a lot.

Large areas of white are actually the unpainted watercolor paper.  For these paintings I used a fairly bright white paper which also adds a nice reflective quality to all the colors.  Light bounces off of the paper and through the transparent watercolor.  That's what makes watercolors glow.

Well, what do you think of these little paintings? 

hmmmm  *taps chin* now I wonder what little critter I will paint next...

Happy creating!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Where did she go? Funtry Friday!

Cookie here, reporting for blog duty!  Woofffers!  Missy has gone walk about and we can't locate her.  Have any of you seen her?  It's time for Funtry Friday and that's our favoritest of blog posts!  If wees not finding her soon, who will write up the Funtry Friday news?????

Time to send out Agent Lova to super sleuth the neighborhood and see what she can find out.  Her nose can finds anything!  Wowser - get on the case, Agent Lova!  Ah... Agent Lova... LOVA!!!!!


Huh?  What? *blinks*  Um... Agent Lova reporting for duty... *yawn*  Whazzup?  *stretch*  This had better be good.  I was napping... *smacks lips*  Whatcha doin'?

Missy has disappeared!

Disappeared?  Never fear!  Agent Lova is on the way.  Do I get a big goodie when I find her?  A really big one?  Wowser!  I had better get movin'!

Hey - Hershey!  Has you seen Missy?  We needs our Funtry Friday bloggy post (and I needs my goodie!)?


She was in the *neighhhhh-borhood* a while ago - taking lots of pictures.  She doesn't have any carrots right now...  But look what she did to Billie Jane ~

Billie Jane
*paws ground*  Look, Hershey, I'm a painting!  Yeah, Missy was around here playing with her new camera...  but I haven't seen her since then.  Funtry Friday, schumtry Friday - it's close to Friday dinner!  Somebody had better find Missy fast!  Have you talked to Bethie yet?

Baaaad idea to wait to ask the goat until last.  Of course I know where Missy is.  She's right inside there taking a nap - I can see her through the window.  Now all we have to do is send a bunch of guineas over there to wake her up.  *sheesh*  The goat's always got to do everything *maaaaahhhh*

Guinea wake up call!
****yawn****  Oh my... I had the strangest dream.  Whoa - what time is it?  Good thing the guineas woke me up!  Yikes, I had better get out there and feed all those critters.  Oh, And it's Funtry Friday - I had better go blog about a little fun in the country.  Wonder what I will blog about today...

Happy Funtry Friday

and all the critters in the neighborhood - shhhhh!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My favorite art store - The Art Store!

New location!
Do you have a favorite art store?  I do!  The Art Store in Prescott, Arizona! 

I was going into 'Art Store withdrawal' last month while my favorite art store moved to a new location.  The day they opened, I raced downtown and had a good long browse.  ***ahhhhh***  And, yes, I bought some goodies, too - of course!

One thing I really like about The Art Store is their very knowledgeable staff.  Have a question?  They will know the answer or they will find it for you.  Need a certain product?  They will locate it for you!

Ben and Keith
And they are really nice... and they put up with me, too.  Not only did I ask to take pictures while they were very busy on their opening day, but then I yelled at my not-functioning-right camera and startled both Ben and Keith.  They still smiled and let me keep on taking pictures.  Great guys!  They know a deranged artist when they see one...

Okay!  Let the browsing begin!  
Art Books
Naturally I paused and looked at the art books.  So many ideas!  Art books are always inspiring me to try something new or use a familiar media in a different way.  This time (shhhh!) I was peeking at the children's art books...  *tiptoes down the aisle*

Ida and lots of brushes
Hey, there's Ida!  Ooooohhhh!  And a TON (metaphorically speaking) of brushes!  One thing I like about shopping locally at The Art Store rather than buying online is that I get to test the brushes.  I am a brush snob.  I admit it.  Since I paint in watercolor, it is really important to me to know how the brush will handle the water.  When I walk out of The Art Store with a brush, I *know* how it will *point* and *flow* and *dance* over the paper...

Oh... okay *shakes head* Back to the tour of the new store - I will visit 'brush-land' later...

Another reason I like to 'shop local' is that I get to test lots of other art supplies at The Art Store.  Pastels, all kinds of pencils, charcoal, Graphitint, watersoluable graphite - almost everything has a sample you can try.  Test the charcoal pencils for density, the colored pencils for blendability (spell check says that isn't a word...spell check lies), the watercolor pencils for intensity of color... and more!  I can't do that on a computer keyboard.

Nyx and luscious Unison Pastels
Hello!  Here's Nyx - busily stocking the Unison Pastels.  She's another one of the great employees at The Art Store - always ready to stop and chat with you about your artwork and to help you find just what you need for your next masterpiece! 

Easels and paper and paint, oh my!
Wandering is encouraged here and there is lots to see - and touch, sample, and ask questions about it to a real person.  I like to feel the tooth on the paper, see how rough or smooth the canvas is, and wrap my real eyes around the actual visual size of the paper.  Anyone else have a hard time wondering if 9 x 12 is going to be big enough or too big for that certain project?  I need to hold it in my hand.  Yes.  I admit it.  I am a very visual person so I like to be in The Art Store surrounded by the art supplies!

Jodi - and everything!
Jodi summed it up very well.  I asked her what she liked best - and she said "I like it all!"  Yep - that's about where I am, too.  I wandered and wandered and wandered and had a wonderful time enjoying it all!

There are other reasons why I like to shop at locally owned businesses.  They pay local taxes which help our schools, pay for street improvements, support our fire department and police, and they create jobs for local residents.  In the case of Keith and Ida and both The Art Store and The Frame & I, they also support our local art groups, student art events, donate supplies to the local schools, and lots more.  Yesterday both Ida and Keith came to the Prescott Valley Art Guild to give a demonstration.

Ida and Keith at the Prescott Valley Art Guild meeting

Ida gave a demonstration of various watersoluable pencils, pastels, and crayons.  They also brought many samples for the guild members to test and lots of paper to try out as well.  It was lots of fun and very informative as they spent a lot of time answering questions from the guild members.  Both Ida and Keith are artists who freely share their time and their talents.

I am really blessed to have a great art store like this - I hope you have one in your hometown where you can 'shop local', too!

Happy creating!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Homeschooling - what's really up!

Sometimes I have what I think is a great idea for a blog post. Then, as I do a little research or talk to someone, my idea takes on a life of its own and heads down a different path.

I had this great idea for a blog post about homeschooling from a little different angle.  Instead of offering hints to the homeschooling parents, I wanted to find out what people outside the immediate family could do to help homeschooling families.  I started cruising the great WWW and looking for some homeschooling sites. 

Half hour later, I did the sensible thing.  I called my daughter, Cynthia, who homeschools two out of three of their children while entertaining the third who is not quite old enough for school.  Yeah.  Homeschooling Mama loves me!  She juggled carrots with the toddler, questions from the olders, and wandered around the WWW to point me to some great homeschooling sites.

And I learned a lot.

Things like kid squashing weren’t on her list of things she wanted.  Hey, I was just offering to babysit and kid squash…  Quote: “Getting my children squashed is not in the top ten.”  Guess I’ll have to stop sitting on them.
However, there was one big thing was on her list.

“Schoolroom.  I want one!”  Homeschool runneth over… everywhere.  Having one location for all of the school supplies really is helpful.

She also told me that she “wished that people would recognize the stereotypes of homeschool.”

What stereotypes?

How about a few big ones: 
  • First, people need to realize that the desire to homeschool is not always religiously motivated. 
  • Second, some children are quiet because they have quiet personalities not because they are homeschooled.  Children’s individual personalities are allowed to flourish in the homeschool environment.
  • Third, homeschooled children are not unsocialized.  They often are involved in lots of group activities like homeschool groups and clubs, church groups, Parks and Recreation classes, Little League, etc., etc., etc...
Did she have some ‘pearls of wisdom’ for those considering homeschooling?  Yes, she did!
  • It’s okay to be ‘not all together’ – you don’t have to be super mom (or dad) to homeschool!
  • Homeschool, she said, is not much more different than helping children with homework in the evening.
  • Quote:  “I’m not a supermom for doing this!”
We talked a little bit about homeschooling multiple children while watching one or more younger child.  Cynthia said that different families handle that in many different ways.  She has created five activity boxes for Sophia (the two year old) with things that she can play with only during school.

For encouragement, inspiration, and ideas, Cynthia travels through these blogs and websites:

Pinterest also has lots of homeschool activities – just search ‘homeschool’ and a bunch of things will pop right up.

I found some interesting homeschool sites, too, which have information on almost every aspect of homeschooling.

How about I turn over the blog, now, to a past 'homeschoolee' and let him give you a few last words…


“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs 22:6

Friday, March 9, 2012

Almost wordless Funtry Friday

I'm speechless.

Christmas, the Amazing Chicken

I blogged about my hen, Christmas, last year, The Amazing Mrs. Chicken, and I mentioned her last month, Whatcha do for country fun on a Funtry Friday? Lots of cool stuff!, when I said that I was pretty sure she wouldn't lay any more eggs... 

And then...

                    this week...

Seven Green Christmas Eggs
Christmas had an egg explosion!  She laid seven of her green eggs!  Pretty incredible for a 15 year old chicken!

I'm speechless!

Happy Funtry Friday!

Monday, March 5, 2012

The next time you cut your hair...

"Sleepy Day"
For some, getting a haircut is a frequent occurrence. 

For others of us, we wait.  Procrastinate.  Put it up.  Grab a pony holder.  Think about getting it cut. Search for another unbroken claw clip.  Think about where to get it cut.  Tuck it under a hat.  Wonder how fast we can get it cut.  Procrastinate.  Ask the neighbor to cut it.

Then we toss the hair in the trash can with a deep *sigh* and a happy *ahhhhh*.  Short hair!

Guess which kind of a hair cutter I am?

I have been thinking about getting my hair cut again.  It has, after all, been several years.  Oh, I have had a few trims in there, but no short hair cuts.  This time, when I get my hair cut, however, I am going to do things a little differently.

Okay.  It will still involve scissors.  But this time I will have the deep *sigh* and the happy *ahhhhh*  because I am not going to toss the hair in the trash can.  Did you know that you can donate your hair to help people... well, without hair?  Check this out!

Locks of Love helps financially disadvantaged children who have permanent or long term hair loss due to different medical conditions.  The wigs are donated or sold on a sliding fee scale.  Most of the children have alopecia areata.

Beautiful Lengths is a program from the Pantene company.  According to their website:  "The role of Pantene is to help women grow long, strong, beautiful hair and provide the funds to turn this hair into free, real-hair wigs for women with cancer."  So far Pantene has donated 18,000 wigs to the American Cancer Society wig banks.

Wigs 4 Kids primary focus is on children with cancer, though they also help other young people who have hair loss due to such things as alopecia, trichotillomania, lupus, hydrocephalus, and burns.  They are based in Michigan and serve the youth in that state.

Wigs for Kids also helps children who have hair loss from a variety of circumstances by providing a custom made human hair prosthesis.  They are a nationwide organization.

Each one of these organizations collects hair and then sends the hair to different companies who construct a custom made wig to fit the person.  Most of them can be worn while swimming, doing sports, and they can't be tipped off like a hat.  Hey - that's important to a girl in junior high.  Think about it. 

Check out the web sites for more details of how to cut your hair, ship it, and how the different wigs are constructed.  They all have different requirements for length as well as how the hair is shipped.  Some of them even have lists of participating salons who will cut your hair and take care of shipping it.

So, next time you think about cutting off an extra 8 to 12 inches of hair, think about putting it to good use, too!


Friday, March 2, 2012

A Funtry Friday Horse Show!

We went to the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show last Friday and it was tons of fun!  I'm moving this Funtry Friday slightly south to the big city - but I bet with all these horses you will still think you are having a lot of country fun!

This was the first time I had ever been to this horse show and I have to say I was amazed.  It was huge, ran for two weeks, and had every event you could imagine.  Here we are all settled in to watch the sidesaddle competition. 

After watching this, Mikayla announced that she thought it was very pretty, but she wanted to straddle the horse not ride side saddle. Riding sidesaddle takes a lot of training and talent. You have to learn to use one leg and a riding crop to give all your leg cues to the horse. I have a feeling that just might tax my coordination...

Care to join us for some English pleasure competition?

Needless to say, all the horses were beautiful and it was lots of fun to watch each horse and rider complete the intricate patterns on the field.

Remember, I said variety!  Step over here, and you can watch the Western Reining.

This time they were doing a pattern that contains everything you would do when roping calves.  The sliding stops were amazing and so were the turns on their hindquarters - first one way and then the other with only a little pause between directions.  Made me dizzy to watch them!

Look this way and you can see some Hunter Jumping.

This was a timed event with several entrants.  We had lots of fun watching these graceful horse and rider teams run the pattern and make their jumps.

After watching these events and more, we walked through the tents full of all kinds of horsey items.  I never saw so much Cowgirl Bling flashing sparklies everywhere in my life!  I'm pretty sure they didn't need lights in those tents...  Really!

Well, finally it was time for us to head home, so the tired crew piled in the van.

Dusty, full of fun, and loving every minute of it!

Happy Funtry Friday!
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