My unsteady threads…and life…

This year’s Steady Thread SAL started on January 1, 2o23. There were a couple of hexagon shape and square shape design formats to choose from. I chose the round one surrounded by leaves. I added in a couple of bumblebees and the year. So, this is how it looked the first week of the SAL.

It is now week 18, and I’m about 4 weeks behind in the challenge. That’s okay. Life got in the way of stitching. As it is, this has become my Sabbath/Day of Rest activity. It’s relaxing and enjoyable. I’m finding I can only do about 2 hexagons at a sit both for time and because my eyes (even with glasses on) become too blurry and start to water horribly. Ahhh, the after effects of the covid vaccine and boosters.

The photo doesn’t do justice to the actual thread colors though. The hexagons are outlined in a very dark green as is the greenery within. The flowers are in a deep orange-red thread. The last hexie at the bottom is still in progress. My eyes just wouldn’t let me see it anymore. It’s already raining this morning, so perhaps I’ll have an hour to sit and sew before venturing into the kitchen to see what to prepare for dinner this evening. I’m thinking something to throw into the crock pot.

Other sewing… hasn’t happened recently.

Knit/Crochet… I’ve made about 10 prayer shawls for the VA over the winter, and a few baby blankets, too. I’ve knit several hats both for myself and for the NICU. I’ve also finished 1 of 2 historical era 1700’s over the knee stockings. I took the photo a bit before I finished of the toe. About 1/4 of the way through the second stocking, now.

In addition, I designed and put together a new dance regalia… just in case I’m able to get out to a powwow. So far, I’ve not gotten out to one that hasn’t been cancelled by weather. sigh…

and I wove a belt to go with it…

I’m still working on a shawl in orange with bears and what not to go with. It will be a backup shawl to the one that a native “Auntie” made for me that’s brown with a large starburst on it.

So, my winter has been packed with life and filling endless indoor hours of boredom. Hubby has changed jobs a few times which has meant a routine of pack everything … unpack everything… repeat. Plus a rental increase that caused to nearly lose our roof, saved by job change with a little more pay and we’re finding much less stress.

Headlight intentions

It’s that time again! Time to gather around the table and share some juicy tidbits of fiction with the folks of Friday Fictioneers, hosted by the lovely and talented Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. You can find other small tales of wonder, and danger at: Come on out and join us! This week’s photo is loaned to us by : Fleur Lind.

‘The road ahead is paved with good intentions…’ The talk radio station blared.

wc: 93 +title

Headlight Intentions

‘All the good intentions in the world aren’t worth a hill o’ beans if you don’t follow up with actions.’ I snarked. The new year looming before me, I was a deer caught in headlights. Was I really stepping onto the road of intentions yet to be realized as reality?

So many intentions, so little time to carry them out… I rested my hand on the small box in my pocket. No bigger than a deck of cards… and yet…

Author’s Note: A hail and hearty week! It’s been quite an accomplished week. I’ve completed a pointilism picture of a red dress… THE red dress from “White Christmas” movie with Bing Crosby… THAT dress! Oh, it’s divine! I had the wonderful opportunity back before Christmas to visit a local museum, Behringer-Crawford Museum in Covington, KY, USA, to see their exhibit on the movie along with about 18 or so other Urban Sketchers. It was awesome! I finally got around to finding time to actually art up the dress.

I’ve also been working on new regalia for this year. I finished the one I started this past fall, last night. Just a simple ribbon shirt/skirt combo. Now, onto making the yellow/orange ensemble to match the shawl a friend made for me. Then, I was sooooo lucky to find good quality wedding satin (white) and royal blue material on sale this week as such a discount (50% off per yard, and register took an additional 20% off = 70% off) that I just couldn’t resist it. Can’t wait to get started.

We’re starting the new year with employment (for hubby), a full pantry of food, a roof over our heads, annnnd we were able to get new shoes and a pack of socks each. We are soooo blessed!

Inktober Day 16 – Day 22

Okay, I have to admit that I’m really behind. Sooooo, I decided to try to do a week’s worth of prompts in one sitting… only giving 2 – 3 min per sketch. Nothing fancy, just lines/contours. Just capturing an idea for each prompt. This week, I forgot my “go-kit” so all I had was a Dollar Tree rollerball ppen. It served is all I have to say about that. So, here we go. No explanations, just a splash down of pics…. just remember: I did say that Inktober has a tendency to bring out my worst work, the following is evidence to that statement.

Now, I’m only two days behind. I now return you to sanity.

Inktober Day 15 – Armadillo

Day 15 – Armadillo. Off the grid with this one. The prompt led me in an entirely different direction. That’s okay. “The road less traveled” and all that. As a day of winter chill set in yesterday, I was quite mindful of our sisters and brothers who have no home to shelter them. Need I say more? Should I just allow this to speak for itself….

Inktober Day 9- Day 14

Still playing a little catchup here. This post should bring me up to where I am. Exception is one particular Inktober prompt that I want to do on a seperate post by itself. It has a very serious message, so that’s how I’ll do it. Until then, here we go again…

Day 10- Crabby. My attempts at drawing a literal crab were so atrocious. That’s all I’m saying. So, I went a different direction. I was reminded of my time on Grenada and Ms. Katleen’s advice NOT to mess with the gazillion crabs that greeted us every morning on the beach. I saw quite a few tourists who did not heed the signs, and some lost fingers in their stupidity. I heeded the advice after Ms. Katleen took a thick stick and showed me how the crab could literally cut it in two.

Day 11- Eagle. I went stylistic with this one… thinking of the regalia I’m making and was going to put a Zuni Eagle/Thunderbird on. I really enjoyed arting up this one. It’s bright and cheerful. Used a touch of my Walnut ink, too.

Day 12 – Forget. Who remembers hearing the phrase “Tie a ribbon round your finger. It will help you remember”…

Day 13 – Kind. I was reminded of a scene in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” where the monster encounters the little girl, and how the little girl is not afraid of him…

Day 14 – Empty. And, last for this posting…. I actually did run out of ink in my favorite Micron pen and had to go out to replace it… yet another delay. Anyway, running out of ink fit perfect with this day’s prompt…

And with that, I’m caught up to the inking I did this morning before dawn and the crush of the day began. The next post will be the stand-alone posting. When you see it, you’ll grasp why…

So long for now, and thanks for all the fish!

Inktober Day 5 – Day 8

Forgive me, I’ve been quite busy of late with barely enough time to get anything into my sketchbook, let alone post it. Ach, but It’s already past the halfway point and beyond, and I’m only up to day 15. So, let’s do a little catchup here. Will do 4 photos a post….

Day 5 -Flame combined with Day 8 – Match (pressed for time…sigh…) Pretty self-explanatory… Was going to go another way, but wanted to remain family friendly.

Day 6- What Artist doesn’t like a bouquet of art supplies?

Day 7 – Trip. Just wouldn’t be complete without a “trip” back to the 1960’s with its psychedelic ‘shrooms…

Day 7 – Nest. I was playing with my Walnut ink here. That’s supposed to be an eagle in the nest. I was going to combine 2 prompts again, but didn’t.

Inkie catchup for Inktober.

Let us start with the finish of Day 1! YEAH! This morning, I took of the last of the bandages on my hands. Hands feel almost normal with a little twinge now and then. So, back to doing things. FIRST on my list was laundry… while that churned away, I worked on catching up with Inktober-ness.

I didn’t exactly work my composition out so well for my Gargoyle wannabe. I’m not an expert at drawing dragons and demons and beasts. That said, I didn’t use any photo ref, just drew this off the cuff in pencil and then went back with ink. After finishing it, there was this huge blank area, so I decided to write a little something to remind about the original purpose of the gargies… diverting water away from buildings and “protecting” against the real evil and demons in the world. So, the ugly wins. Keynote is that I used my homemade walnut ink!

Day 2 prompt was “Scurry”… I went with the obvious. A quick 2 min sketch. Gave me a little chuckle… moving on…

Day 3’s prompt is “Bat”… all I could think in my tired brain was that I’d gone “batty”… I thought of drawing a real bat, but given that I was so behind I wanted to catch up as quickly as I could… so, consider this a hose job on the prompt… moving on…

Day 4 – Today… caught up, slowing down, enjoying the journey. Today’s prompt is “Scallop”. I thought about shells and how they are tossed by the tide, and churned smooth by the sea. I delved back into pointilism which I haven’t really played with in a few years. I’d forgotten just how relaxing and enjoyable playing with the dots is. I could almost “feel” my BP lowering while I dotted these shells up. The little poem came to me first, before I started doodling… So, I made sure to leave some space to write… I think it looks a little like a waterline flowing down the page…

Inktober – Day 1 -half-finished

I’m a bit behind already! ARGH!!! Thanks to scalding my hands while making the Walnut Ink. That said, this morning I started to work on Day 1 – Gargoyle. I’m not all that familiar with Gargoyles on the whole, so I did a little research into their function and purpose. Very interesting way to divert water I have to say to that. Anyway ,my Gargie is half-finished at the moment. My hands are still quite sore to the touch so holding the pen or the brush is for a very little time at one sitting. Even typing this is painful.

I’ve used my new ink here. YEAH! It works. I don’t know what it is about Inktober that seems to bring out the worst in my “arting”. Maybe because I just throw down whatever because I feel so pressured to get each prompt done within the day allotted for it. Don’t know. Anyway, my humble offering to the even is half-done at the moment. Day 2 is easy and should be a quick draw, so off to do that one.

Inktober Prep-a-thon

Many, many years ago, a few decades at least, I made walnut ink over a campfire over the course of a weekend. That ink was then used as dye for fabric by some soul long since forgotten. It was a living history event, and our unit was making homemade dyes and demonstrating their uses. I faintly remember the hours of stirring the huge cast iron pot (much like making apple butter) for what seemed like forever. So, why I decided to re-venture into such realms eludes my intel at the moment. Save it say that I have…

This year, I wanted to do some inky explorations during Inktober… use some ink bases that I don’t often use, or have never used. I’ve always admired those old illustrations done in sepia ink… or maybe it was at one time black ink faded through time. Anyway, I’ve been tempted to make some of my own. With that in mind, I decided to make myself up a quart or two of fresh Black Walnut ink. It’s a fairly simple, if time consuming, process.

Step one: Find a source for Walnuts. For me, I had to go no further than my church yard. Walnuts were free for the taking, and or eating thereof. Fresh fallen walnuts have this shell/husk to them that must be removed. I HIGHLY suggest that one wear rubbergloves while picking…well, throughout the whole process, really. Walnut juice stains EVERYTHING it comes in contact with.

Step two: fill your crockpot/stew pot with husks and water and boil until beyond dead. I suggest doing this outdoors if possible. Walnuts have a very distinct, nostril curling odor. Even for me whose sniffer is less than adequate, the smell is powerful. I cooked mine round the clock for two days on High.

Step three: strain out the husks. boil again for many hours, then strain again through an old stocking (panty hose or knee high). This last strain gets all the unwanted particles out. At this point, I tested the “ink” on a bit of paper to see if I thought it was dark enough for me.

Also, at this point, I changed from crockpot to steel stew pot, added water and repeated the boiling for several more hours. I wanted to try to darken and thicken it a bit more. It did darken it minutely, no real difference in viscosity, though. Sigh… Won’t work so well for my glass dip pen or quils, but works great as a “wash”. It works to some degree with the glass pen, but requires dipped every two letters written so that really doesn’t work for me. Either way, it is what it is and I’m good with it.

my test sheet from first boiling.

I did test the ink on a piece of unfinished pine and it really looked nice. So nice, in fact, that I’m considering staining my handmade chair with it after Inktober is done.

So, now, I’m ready to play for Inktober!