altivo: 'Tivo as an inflatable toy (inflatable toy)
I have recently been seized with a new interest in jewelry. No, not the heavy loads of costume stuff some people wear, and definitely not "precious" diamonds and rubies. But I've always liked simple pieces in understated color, matched to the wearer's personality and mood. This applies to both men and women. A simple ring, a pendant, a bracelet, or even just one earring, properly chosen, can be a fantastic addition.

I have a small collection of such pieces that I wear occasionally. Last spring I bought two or three small items from Black Wolf Jewellery in the Netherlands, and have been very pleased with them. But this made me think once again about making some items for myself or for gifts. (No, I'm not planning to sell anything.)

Details and photos under cut )

I wouldn't have thought that something as insignificant as color preferences would be so consistent over an entire lifetime, yet apparently they are. I may get around to looking for actual statistics on that.


Feb. 4th, 2012 11:12 pm
altivo: Horsie cupcakes (cupcake)
Normal. Shopping, chores, cooking...

After dinner I tried some experiments with polymer clay to see whether I really can construct N scale figures. Two bears clowning and a horse engineer sticking his head out the window... They are recognizable, and I cured them in the oven without them melting into a puddle which is what I really expected. The figures need to be a bit tinier, but I'm getting the idea of how to construct and assemble them.

No photo because I used dark colored (bear fur) clay and there isn't enough contrast to see the details. I don't know if I can use different colors of clay at this tiny scale. I expect to have to paint them instead. May try that with the samples tomorrow if I get time.

Also dismantled a GP7 loco shell in preparation for painting. Oh jeez, so many tiny parts. But figured it out and separated out all the necessary bits. Some get painted black, some orange, and the couplers don't get painted at all. Neither do the windows, which fortunately can be snapped out and don't have to be masked individually. I do plan to hook up the airbrush and start this paint job tomorrow.

Also got the necessary decals in the mail to apply heralds and numbers to the two engines after they are painted, and today finally found some semi-gloss clear acrylic overcoat to apply once the painting and detailing is done.

Bed is calling now.
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
Long Wednesday as usual. Got thank yous sent out finally. Tomorrow off work, but have to go to the dentist for a check up.

Airbrush kit I ordered arrived in today's mail, even though the USPS tracking still said only that "electronic notification of mailing has been received." Time from order to delivery was only 5 days, in spite of the holiday weekend, but the post awful still needs to fix its almost broken tracking system.

Must await the pressure regulator before I can actually experiment. Also need to get a guild newsletter posted.

Gary made turkey tetrazzini using my recipe, and it turned out really well. I had said I wanted to make it, but it's a fairly complex thing and didn't expect him to do it. Nice surprise to come home to.

Crystal clear skies tonight, and normally in January I'd expect that to mean sub-zero temperatures. We got down to single digits a couple of nights ago, but tonight it's much warmer and they predict mid-40s (F) tomorrow. Certainly peculiar weather so far this season.

Off to bed, must rise early tomorrow.


Jan. 3rd, 2012 10:05 pm
altivo: Commission line art colored by myself (cs-tivo-color)
Well, except for overflowing book drops, work wasn't all that bad today. Combined high and low point: I got a note advising me that I have too many accumulated vacation days and must use a bunch of them up before the end of 2012. How much is too much? Well, it says I have 43 days. I'm not sure that's right, but I can't see any way to dispute it. I have trouble scheduling blocks of time off, and it's hard to use up that many days one at a time. I may have to do something like take every Thursday off for the rest of the year...

I'm not the only one in that situation. The circulation manager has a similar large accrual, and was joking that I could just take the spring off and she'd take the summer...

Last night we watched Disney's Fantasia and tonight we saw the Italian "remake" in Allegro Non Troppo. I won't say one is better than the other, but rather that they complement each other to make something even better when combined.

I also did two uncharacteristically "consumerist foolishness" things. A calendar I wanted was 60% off at Amazon, and I added two other books to the order to get the free shipping. Of course that's just what they hope you will do. In my defense, the two books had been on my wish list for a while and I was going to eventually buy them anyway. The second? I bought another railroad car off Ebay. It was only $11, and it was a DT&I one that we don't yet have, but the real reason I bought it now was that I had already accumulated $2.50 in "Ebay bucks" from the other stuff I bought during December. Again, just what they want you to do. Someone take away my passwords and hide them.


Dec. 29th, 2011 08:19 pm
altivo: Geekish ham radio pony (geek)
Gary took me on a whirlwind tour of hobby shops near his mom's house this morning. I hadn't intended to buy anything, but at the third one I found some DT&I rolling stock that I couldn't resist. It seems that Henry Ford's stodgy little railroad had some people with whimsical paintbrushes, at least during the 60s and 70s.

I got two 80 ft. auto parts box cars, with double steel doors. One was painted bright magenta, the other pea green. According to the papers in the box, these cars were actually used and were painted in those two schemes and also in sky blue. Also picked out a rebuilt USRA 40 ft. box car from the World War I era for use with my steam locomotive, a nice C&O caboose, and a kit to build a steam loco service station with coal tipple, water and sand towers. Photos of the cars soon, as the colors are startling.

Then we went and picked up Gary's mom, had lunch, and brought her back to our house for New Year. I remembered to take the turkey out of the freezer and put it in the fridge too.

In the mail I got another caboose, this one already custom painted to match the DT&I scheme for steel cabooses from the 1960s. They had red sides, but yellow on the ends and cupola, and a dark roof. The detail work and lettering on this one are amazing.

And I ordered the air brush through Amazon. They had the model I want in stock, and priced at less than half of list. Couldn't turn that offer down. I'm also getting a bleeder type pressure regulator and some cleaning brushes. The kit includes the air hose, some acrylic paints, and an instruction booklet of some sort. We already have a compressor that should work, though I may need to get a reducer for the outlet connection.

And that's it. Christmas money spent, season of greed ended. ;p
altivo: Blinking Altivo (altivo blink)
Got the Sanza to behave, no thanks to the useless instruction documents. He's listened to it all afternoon and says it's OK.

Spent an hour this evening trying to help my boss get another Sanza (same model) to work with the library's new downloadable audiobook supplier. We failed utterly, though I don't think this one is attributable to SanDisk. It's the vendor's fault. Their software is just plain rotten and inadequately tested.

Taking tomorrow off as a comp for Saturday (when the library was closed on my usual day off.) Normally I let these pass, but Gary wanted me to go to Chicago with him and it's a slow week anyway.

Have to remember to take the frozen turkey out tomorrow morning and put it in the fridge to thaw for Saturday...

Oh, and Gary made yellow split pea soup from the Christmas hambone. It smelled so good even before I got into the house. He puts in garlic, carrots, onions, and tomatoes. He also had a lot of pasta casserole left over from his potluck this afternoon, so supper was really yum.

Think I've made up my mind on the airbrush choices, though I'm still not sure whether I need adapters to make the hose fit onto Gary's existing compressor. Surely they can be obtained if needed, though. I'll probably order it tomorrow while Amazon still has them in stock and I can get free shipping.


Aug. 23rd, 2011 10:39 pm
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
We got distracted on changing water in the aquariums so I didn't get started on my threading until pretty late. I did another inch then discovered an error back in yesterday's work that will make me undo it all the way back to there to correct. Oh, well, at least I found it now and not when I had the whole warp threaded and came up short of warp threads at the end.

More thunderboomers and water today, but at least it stayed nice and cool. Damper than I'd like, but only up to around 71F.

Farrier coming tomorrow, but I won't see him. Due to Gary's class schedule, I'll be going to work in the morning, coming home in the afternoon, and going back in for the evening. That way the critters get fed on time and someone is here to put them in if the weather goes bad.

Happened to go look at my [dormant for now] DA page and found it has acquired a thousand views while I was neglecting it. There are only nine pictures and a few journal entries on it. Weird.


Mar. 16th, 2011 01:19 pm
altivo: (rocking horse)
Finished the diorama for Wicked: the Life and Times of the Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. Here's a photo. Click through for a better view and look at the other images including closeups of the characters.

Wicked Diorama

I decided not to try to come up with ruby slippers. I did, however, sneak in a reference to the 1939 film version. The words "Surrender Dorothy" are written on the sky overhead and are only visible if you look closely or get down on your knees and look up.


Mar. 6th, 2011 08:51 pm
altivo: Wet Altivo (wet altivo)
I have a newsletter to get out, and no motivation to work on it.

A book manuscript to edit and no sense that it's worth the bother.

Weaving to finish and I'm tired of the project even though it's only half done.

A pile of books to read but no desire to sit and do it.

Artwork I'd like to do, but I feel too guilty about not doing the other stuff first.

And so forth... Yes, I'm acting like a spoiled brat but I don't do it very often I think.

Quite by accident I acquired a bit of information that makes me quite angry and bitter about publishing and literature in the furry fandom. I'll probably get over it, but at the moment I feel like chucking all my work and the books of others into the fireplace.

After I sleep on it I'll probably feel better, but never the same as I did.
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
It's raining outside. On top of the mountains of snow. Yuck.

I see that Kyell Gold made it into the finals for the Shorty awards on Twitter, right behind J.K. Rowling in fact. That's pretty amazing.

Leo Magna brought his Fur-Piled comic to a close this week, just in time for Valentine's Day. Well, almost. It's a happy ending for the main characters, but leaves me with hanging questions about several of the peripheral ones, such as Car (Husky's high school squeeze, the blond hyena) and Saetto's brother (who I still think is the same as the lion that Andy cruised in the supermarket and probably the same as the one who shook him up so badly and sent him into near suicidal depression.) And there's that odd lion with the sun visor who made several mysterious appearances. Who was that masked man? What did he stand for? Still, the strip is a masterful job and lasted what, almost five years? Worthy of his Ursa Major, I say.

I need to get weaving, as a new deadline date for finishing those blocks has been set, and it's just two weeks away. I feel like going to bed right now, though. Thank goodness this is going to be a three day weekend.

Gary gave me a nice big cuddly plush pony for Valentine's. He's probably from the same place as the black mare (we call her Nightmare) that I've had for several years, but slightly smaller. I'll get around to photographing him soon.
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
I'm on "vacation" for the next nine days. I'll be working feverishly on a weaving project, though, rather than doing much relaxing.

Tonight we saw The Secret of Kells which I have to say is a beautifully drawn and orchestrated animation. However, unless you know some of the historic legends about the real Book of Kells and a bit of Irish mythology too, it probably wouldn't make a lot of sense. Still, the merger of illuminator's art and ornament with more or less traditional hand-drawn animation is quite remarkable. And there's the character Aisling, who is capable of changing shapes between girl and white wolf.

Snow here, another half inch or so during the afternoon, followed by cold. Glad I don't have to go out tonight, but I will have to in the morning.
altivo: Gingerbread horse cookie (gingerhorse)
Took till this afternoon, but the sun came out and melted all the snow, or nearly so. Only well shaded places still have remnants. We're supposed to be headed back into the 50s each day this week, thank goodness.

Packaged up Aero's little postcard painting and it's ready to mail in the morning, so that's taken care of. Next up will be one of two favorite images of our two geldings that I've had in mind to turn into paintings for a while.

I think this is likely to be a hectic week with people missing at work again, including the boss herself. I'm not particularly looking forward to it.

Today's "writer's block" question over on LJ asked what the earliest news media event you can remember was. Several people pointed to Sputnik (1957) or the JFK assassination (1963) but my memory extends a bit farther, to 1956. In July of that year two ocean liners collided in the Atlantic, off the coast of Massachusetts, and I remember the coverage in considerable detail. The SS Andrea Doria, owned by the Italian Line, capsized and sank a short time after the collision. The SS Stockholm, Swedish owned, went on to port under its own power. It was huge news, largely because almost all the passengers and crew survived, despite the sinking. The numbers could have been worse than the Titanic, but better communications and navigation (including radar) made it possible for other ships to reach the scene soon enough to rescue nearly everyone aboard the crippled ship. I believe the death toll was well under 100, most of whom were killed or severely injured in the actual collision. The photos of the damaged ships, including the Andrea Doria as it sank, were in newspapers and magazines and made quite a horror story that was hard to look away from (or forget, evidently.)

I was reminded of the incident regularly through the years after, because my parents discovered at that time that I was already able to read on my own. I had only finished half of kindergarten at the time, but they caught me reading the newspaper aloud to my younger brother. They and my grandmother, who lived just a few houses up the street, had read to us daily for several years by then, but they didn't realize that I had put together the reading and the words in the familiar books they read over and over and actually developed rudimentary reading skills. I'm sure the basic alphabet stuff from school contributed as well.
altivo: 'Tivo in fursuit (fursuit)

Fox Blues for Aerofox
Prismacolor artist pens, watercolor wash
Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolor postcard 6x4 in. cold press

My good friend Aerofox has been kinda blue in recent weeks, so I made a little gift art for him. Hoping that the return of spring will help him feel better soon, too. (Character copyright Aerofox, of course.) As usual, [personal profile] argos has the background and technical details here.

So much for the first day of spring. We have a couple of inches of wet snow on the ground, and after five days of pleasantly warm weather, it has been hovering around freezing all day. Not supposed to last, though, and it had better not.

Gary is making soup, and I'll make salad and biscuits to go with. Having spent the afternoon doodling, I suppose I ought to spin or weave now. He's doing homework as usual. ;p
altivo: Wet Altivo (wet altivo)
Well, of course. It was Wednesday again.

The good happened in the morning, before work. I got that limited palette exercise finished and actually it looks pretty decent for what it is, a color sketch on a 9 x 6 sheet of watercolor paper. For details and a link to the picture over on DA, check [personal profile] argos' journal.

Work went downhill though. Around 5:30, when everyone left but the director and myself, we discovered that someone had let a disgusting trojan into one of the circulation desk PCs. This thing masquerades as an antivirus program called "Antivirus XP" (and of course I know perfectly well we have nothing of the sort installed) and claims that your machine is loaded with viruses and spyware and is being "attacked" from various network ports "RIGHT NOW" to try to get you to agree to a "free scan." The supposedly free scan either does nothing or else it installs more crap that will need to be removed. It disables any genuine antivirus software and turns off the Windows Firewall. Fortunately we have a good external hardware firewall, so I knew the claims about being attacked through various ports that are blocked by that device were phony. That in turn proved that the entire thing was a scam. Apparently it builds up to convince you to pay for a "full professional" version of their software, which doesn't really exist. Removing it is no doubt a nasty job too.

I shut the thing down and marked it "out of order." Some one is going to get their ears burned tomorrow, though. Probably it will take my entire work shift to clean this mess up. I suspect I'm going to have to hide Internet Explorer on those machines, and make them use Firefox with popups blocked and AdBlock Plus active, since they just can't learn not to click on these stupid spyware things. I'd filter them down to a list of approved sites if I could get away with it, but I don't think the director will go along with that. Actually, I'd take Windows away and give them Linux, but so far I haven't been able to sell that either, despite the fact that other public service machines that the same staff have been using for three years now have only Linux on them. Most of them are blissfully unaware of the difference.

Weather was nice, sky was really clear. When I got home, Gary had left a note asking me to close the barn doors that he'd left open due to the nice weather. I went out to do it and saw the best star-studded sky I've seen in probably a couple of years. The moon is just a young sliver, so no light pollution from it, and the air was so clear that even the filthy commercial and subdivision lights from towns to the east of us was minimized. Orion and Canis major were blazing high in the sky like I haven't seen them in what seems like forever. If only so many neighbors weren't afraid of the dark, we'd probably even have our view of the Milky Way back tonight, it's that clear.
altivo: Gingerbread horse cookie (gingerhorse)
Quite literally. Cleaned up the sketch of barn and horses for the color study, and started painting. Because we are limited to only three pigments, there is more time spent mixing than actually applying paint. And because I am cautiously building up the colors in layers, a lot of drying time between washes.

Managed to get a decent approximation of burnt sienna out of the palette. Not a bad gray either, almost Payne's but not quite (a bit too bluish due to lack of any real black.) Now if I can create a burnt umber color I'll be in good shape. Yellow ochre wasn't so difficult. Doing what is essentially a landscape, earth tones are essential.

Gary is busy projecting our farm buildings onto Google Earth. It seems far too fiddly to be worthwhile, but that's the assignment. He's been at it for days, and still has to do the house roof line.

Got a fair amount done at work today in spite of a lot of distraction trying to get audiobook files loaded onto my boss's new player. She bought a Sansa Fuze (marketed by Sandisk) and all I have to say about it is don't get one. Documentation stinks, support is non-existent. They don't supply drivers with it, you can't download them from their web site either. You have to install Windows Media Player 11 or else iTunes, and the actual needed drivers come with those. Incredibly stupid. She really wanted Audible files, which will play on it if you can manage to get them loaded, but Audible doesn't warn you that when they install their manager, they assume that you already have the drivers in place from WMP or iTunes. Once we figured that out, which took several hours worth of downloading and rebooting repeatedly to satisfy Windows Update, then Audible complains of "an error" when it tries to install the audio onto the player. No explanation of what the error is, just "an error." Oddly enough, the files were actually there when she looked and they are apparently playable in spite of "an error," so she was satisfied. But it wasn't worth the effort in my opinion. I tried plugging the player into Linux and, amusingly enough, without any special driver, I could see the files on it and could have copied MP3 files directly to it. Windows, however, has to be really obtuse about requiring special drivers and only letting you use iTunes, WMP, or the Audible Manager to get files onto the thing. Windows Media Player is the most obtuse, badly designed user interface I have ever seen. (And that's saying a lot, because I've seen some real nightmares on the Macintosh in the past. Anyone remember Kai's Photo Soap?)

The temperature broke 60F today, probably the first time this year. Birds are going bonkers singing and squawking at each other. Still no crocuses, but the daffodil shoots doubled in height. We did see snowdrops blooming in Woodstock over the weekend.

OK, time to go brush the salt off that painting I think.
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
Why is it still light? ;p It won't get dark until about 7:30 this evening. I shifted morning chores forward in time because I knew the critters wouldn't get restless until the usual length of time had passed since sunrise. Now evening chores get shifted to later as well, though not quite an hour later. We have to gradually get them used to the idea of our schedule, or they start acting really strangely, refusing to eat and go in and out when necessary.

This is complicated, of course, by the sudden dietary restrictions imposed on Tess and Archie, neither of whom is particularly pleased.

Sun was actually shining this afternoon, and it got up over 50F. I guess the next two or three days will be similar. Rain appears to have finally quit, and the ground is even drying off thanks to sun and breeze. I should go see whether we have crocuses yet. It's certainly possible.

Sketch is about complete for the "limited palette" exercise. I may be able to get started on the painting yet this evening. I've removed one barn from the scene as it looked too cluttered on a 6x9 in. sheet. Made the boys look a bit more alert than they are in the original photo, and dropped a couple of trees for the moment, though I'll probably put some back in.

With the donation of a set of plastic storage drawers from Gary, I have all the art stuff together in one place again. It had scattered into boxes in both barns, my office closet, and various drawers during the last 30 years. I'm hoping that being able to start things on a moment's notice will help me get back into the swing of it.

Baked oatmeal bread today. A little dense but tasty. Corned beef was on sale this week so that has been simmering in the crock pot since nine this morning and should be ready for supper once the chores are done. And... I did laundry too. (My most hated household chore.) That still needs to be folded and put away, however.

OK, it's after 6 now. Guess I should go feed ponies and sheepsters.
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
The cotton session went OK but not excitingly so. I do think a few people carried away some new concepts and understandings, though, so that's OK.

Gary has spent much of the day struggling with badly designed and untested homework assignments from instructors who simply do not answer their e-mail even after days of effort. Assignments that require certain operations to be performed in software packages certainly should be tried out first by the instructors. An assignment that requires you to overlay a floor plan with only ten windows onto the image of a building that has 13 windows, for instance, is utter crap.

Likewise one that requires you to map certain points onto North America only the points have coordinates somewhere in the South Pacific. What is with these people? They evidently throw these assignments together at the last minute, and then disappear until the assignment is due. Sorry, that does not qualify as "teaching".

I had to drag him away from the computer and make him go out for lunch. Likewise at dinner time I again had to forcibly interrupt him. I expect a bad night in which he dreams of being back in the air force or at his consulting job. This always follows excessive stress.

Birds are waking up. Red winged blackbirds and grackles arrived here today. Juncos are becoming less common. Cardinals are singing all day, in spite of the gloomy drizzle.

Reference photo of the farm in autumn color, with two horses standing at the fence, selected for that limited palette assignment. Too late to start it tonight, but I'll work on it tomorrow. Fairly small scale, like about 8 x 10 in. I think, to make it go fast and reduce the level of detail. I don't expect much trouble with the colors as the specified palette will be mostly weak in the purple region. A clear orange may be hard to obtain, but for autumn foliage a rusty orange is just fine. Much of what appears in the picture is oak and hickory, which go to rusty crimson and greenish yellow respectively. Both of those should be easy to obtain with the specified primaries.
altivo: Geekish ham radio pony (geek)
I mentioned yesterday that the primary reason for my trip to the art supply was to get a different variation of blue for what amounts to an online class assignment.

The exercise is to paint an image using a limited palette. The prescribed palette consists of three colors: a green-biased yellow (Lemon or Hansa); a purple-biased red (Rose or Crimson); and a green-biased blue (Phthalocyanate.) I have Lemon yellow and Alizarin crimson as part of my regular palette of ten colors. The green-biased blue I generally prefer, though, is Cobalt blue which was considered "not green enough" by the leaders of the instruction group. Hence the need to buy something with blue pigment number 15 (Phthalocyanate) as its primary pigment.

It turns out that the point of this exercise is to reinforce the concepts of the "color bias wheel," which were nicely articulated by Michael Wilcox back in the 1980s. Most of us were taught somewhere in our schooling that there are three "primary" colors: yellow, red, and blue. All other colors can be constructed by mixing these colors in varying proportions. Of course, if you've ever tried mixing a precise shade of green or purple from red, yellow, and blue, you know it isn't quite that simple. Wilcox argues that there are no perfect primaries in paints or other color sources, and that every primary is skewed or biased a little to one side or another. He then goes on to demonstrate practical color mixing based on a set of six "primaries" that contains two yellows, two reds, and two blues. I know from practical experience that he is correct, and though my dad explained the fine points of color mixing to me back in the 60s using oil paints and a different way of looking at the color wheel, the results are the same.

In fact, when I replaced my hodge podge of dried up watercolor tubes last month, I had already applied what I learned about color bias from my dad. I had purchased two yellows (Lemon yellow and Cadmium yellow medium,) two reds (Alizarin crimson and Cadmium red light,) and two blues (Ultramarine and Cobalt blue.) To these I added Payne's Gray (which can be mixed but is a "payne" to get right consistently and does provide a valuable neutral) and Viridian (a beautiful clear green that is hard to duplicate by mixing.) The addition of Burnt sienna (a reddish brown earth tone) and Yellow ochre (a yellowish brown earth tone) would mostly be all I'd need. These last two are traditional old pigments made from earth minerals, very permanent and reliable, but not very transparent so I don't usually mix them with other colors.

In the discussion that immediately followed the first statement of this assignment, Wilcox's book Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green was brought up. I borrowed a copy to refresh my memory only to find that it didn't need much refreshing, which I'm sure Dad would find reassuring. He explained it well. Though my father's arguments involved the effects of "impurities" that can tend to neutralize the mixed color and push it toward brown or gray, the result is the same in every case as the "bias" explanation given by Wilcox. In fact, Wilcox even vindicates me on two of my unvoiced arguments with the leaders of the tutorial. He says that Cobalt blue is transparent (they called it opaque) and biased slightly toward green (they called it purple.)

Anyway, I'm thinking I'll try a colorful autumn scene. At the moment I'm feeling pretty confident of my ability to use a limited palette to produce more colors than seem to be possible at first glance.

Spinning Guild in the morning is first, though. I'm helping to teach a session on cotton working, and will have to haul some equipment over there tomorrow.
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
So I was sorta naughty and spent money. It's not that I can't do that, but I'm trying not to do it too much. This is a tight time of the year, equivalent to early fall when the tax payments, hay bills, and home owners insurance all fall due. Now it's the horse vet bills (paid a year in advance to get a discount,) auto insurance, and possibly income tax (since we haven't done that yet.)

I have some art items back ordered but they should be shipped this week, including a small sketch book and some markers. I found a good idea in one of Claudia Nice's books on how to make a compact and portable carrier for sketching supplies out of an old pair of jeans, taking advantage of the hip pockets. Looks too cool to pass up, and we have lots of ragged jeans stashed away. Some of her ideas on perspective and composition involve using a small transparent plastic ruler, and I wanted one of those as well as a mechanical pencil to include in the pack. Turns out Gary wanted some office supply stuff from Sam's Club so we went to Crystal Lake where I bought lunch to celebrate yesterday being pay day, then stopped at Sam's for his things, and finally at Hobby Lobby to look at art stuff.

It turned out they had a 30% off sale on all artist pencils, markers, pens, and pastels. That made it much harder to be selective and thrifty, but I got away for $20 after a lot of browsing. Pentel 0.7mm mechanical pencil and HB leads, some blending stumps, the desired plastic rule, a Pitt medium point India ink marker so I can compare it to the Prismacolors I got last week, a spray can of Krylon fixative for pencil and charcoal, and a bonus: a set of 12 soft pastels. I used to work in pastels as well as watercolor, and had found that I no longer have any. With the sale price, it was all a good deal.

I resisted high quality handmade paper ($10 a sheet, but I touched and admired it) and a nice ready-made carrying bag with a drawing clipboard and two sketchbooks inside ($29, not on sale.) I admired lots of bright colors (always my weakness) in markers and pencils and paints, and a couple of cute fold-up watercolor paint boxes with halfpans and collapsible brushes. I may yet break down and buy one of those, but I have a couple of the old cake style sets like school kids use that are sufficient for outdoor sketching right now.

I find I'm lusting after Rapidograph pens but at $20 apiece, I told myself "not now."

Sooo... time for projects. Little ones that get finished quickly and boost my self-confidence. I could do this once, I can do it again. I have a pack of postcard size pieces of 140 lb. watercolor paper. I think perhaps some people are about to get the proverbially infamous "gift art."

In other news, it's almost spring. Temperatures above 40F two days in a row have melted a heck of a lot of snow, leaving dirty slush piles and mud. Still freezes to ice on the surface, but the liquid water keeps running underneath all night, draining away to leave floating ice plates that crunch underfoot in the morning.

RikkiToo, our ex-barn cat who has taken over the house, has been gimping around on three legs since Thursday night. We couldn't find anything wrong, and he didn't fuss about letting us handle the paw and leg in question, but it looked swollen so he went to the vet this morning with Gary while I bought groceries. Diagnosis was an infection, probably from a bite. He has scratch marks elsewhere, and has always been prone to fighting other cats and sometimes larger critters like raccoons. Prescription is a course of antibiotics, so it was less expensive than if he'd needed a bone set at least. He's very tame and easy to handle, so giving him meds isn't too bad, thank goodness. This is liquid, squirt a dropper in the mouth stuff, which he has taken before without too much complaint.

Guild newsletter needs to be edited and posted this weekend, and hasn't yet been started except for the monthly statistics sheet.
altivo: (rocking horse)
Amazingly enough. I had a brief spell of sleepies after lunch but got through it. Laundry done and put away, stalls cleaned, cared for Tess' feet, baked bread, made meat loaf in the crock pot, baked banana bread on a last minute whim, and got in some watercolor experimentation working on a couple of techniques for that fox picture I mentioned a week ago. Tried out the permanent black Prismacolor pens and they work well with watercolor, no smearing or bleeding, even though they don't seem quite as black as what I'm accustomed to using.

Chased the neighbors' dog out of our barn loft. I dunno what he was doing up there. It snowed this afternoon but the air temperature was 37F so no accumulation beyond what we already have, and that's turning slushy.

Gary has been working on an obnoxious pile of homework all day today and most of yesterday as well. It seems obvious to me that these teachers do not actually try doing their own assignments. The number of errors in the questions and instructions is astronomical. He ends up sort of "guessing" what they want because, of course, none of them answer e-mail or return phone calls.

Isn't it time for another holiday? I don't want to go to work tomorrow. ;p

August 2017



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