Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Blogger flight.......

This was posted in the English room in which I was substitute teaching.  I have always enjoyed seeing it up through the past years when I was working full time.

Rather than just to stop blogging and having people worry, I am going to tell you that I am off the air for a short time.  I don't know when I will be returning but I will definitely return.   I have some things that need to be tended to and some time to work out the everyday details of life.  Nothing for anyone to be concerned about, it is just a short break. 

I will be checking in on you a little as I can't go cold turkey.  I will swoop in once in a while and post a comment just to let you know that I am still here.  Take care and I will see you when I see you.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ready for showing........

It is still pretty gray outside so this bright addition to our window really does put out some warmth.  My camera just doesn't want to pick up intense color.  I have the same problem with the violet.  I end up with a special effects view which is intense but still wonderful.

I am back in the classroom today doing American Lit. and British Lit.  We will have a few speeches given also during the day.

Thanks for stopping by..............

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday's showing........

It has been a busy weekend and I am posting this plant way too much on two of my blogs, but I  guess it's better this than nothing. Our chill in the air and frequent show showers has disillusioned me about any future of spring every being here.  I had green grass blades showing sticking up through our last snow which was on the south side of the house.  It is warmer there so there is some green in sight.

This is a second view of one of my two agapanthus plants that sit in the basement ready to be brought outside for the summer.  This is the first year that they stayed green continually all winter while sitting down there.

My brother who lives in Mesa, Arizona, is busy planting tomato plants and has a dozen gallon plants of various kinds to plant into the ground in his backyard.  He has to enrich his sandy soil with lots of commercial soil and mulch in order to have success growing things.  I did see he had radishes and such in his one garden.

Oh well, I just went for one of his photos to show you what is going on in the gardens of Mesa, Arizona.

Thanks for stopping by...................

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Frame jobs.......

A woman had some family problems with inheriting a certain quilt made by her mom.  To solve the problem,  she is having me frame up a single quilt piece per family member to help make them less upset.  The mother had started the quilt squares but never had put them together.  If you remember I also framed some sun bonnet quilt blocks much earlier.

Thanks for stopping by........

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tea time........

The man who use to be on Yan Can Cook, is now doing  a daytime PBS series about the southwest corner of China.  He has shown the different ways that the people live in the different parts of that area.  It is very interesting as it has such a strong set of traditions, each area is a little different.

One area is famous for it's tea and he shows where tea is packed and stored for hundreds of years.  When they package a packet of aged tea it can sell for a thousand American dollars.  The tea is packed tightly, compressed into doughnut shapes the size of dinner plates.

The package that I am showing you today is one of my container collectible items. I don't really know where I found it.  It may have been in an auction box, or from a pantry of an old household in my past.

What I have found inside is that it is half full of tea.  The container is paper based so I am not sure it is tea that would not have taken on some of the taste of it.  I had no intention of trying it as I don't know it is clean.  I doubt it, but the show did make me think that it might still be viable.

This is one other view of the container. It stands six or seven inches high and is large compared to the tea containers that we can buy today.

I did learn from a shop in Kansas City, that one should prerinse the tea leaves before actually brewing it so as to release it's oils and flavor. The sales person poured a third of cup of hot water over the tea and tossed the water and then proceeded to brew the tea from the dampened leaves.

I will leave you guessing as to whether I will try the tea.  I have had the container over thirty years now maybe longer.

Thanks for stopping by..........

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Last year, last week..........

This is how it appeared last year at the Des Moines Botanical Center. It was warm inside and very tropical looking.

A week ago or more this is what we had on the ground, my neighbor's footprints that he left behind while walking his dog.

Last year at this time you could see blue water and koi with the reflection of the dome in the water.

We had tornado warnings Tuesday night because it was so warm in southern Iowa that the cold front coming in from Canada was causing severe reactions.  We had some small twisters in southern Iowa but mostly we had rain and now it is cold.  Freezing temperatures Wednesday night and who knows what else is to come.

I taught Physical Education on Tuesday with Seventh graders and high schools.  Everyone played pickle ball.  A form of pin pong and paddle ball combined.  Wednesday I was an English teacher teaching sixth, seventh and eight grade literature.  It is an everyday transition of being someone else and being in a different field of study each time.   Tomorrow, who knows who I will be.  Maybe I can be just stay home and be me.

Thanks for stopping by........

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sanseviera sun.............

This may be a reposting of this photo but it seemed like a good one to share.  It has been busy for me and I have no photos that are new to share with you.  I guess this is your green sunshine for the day.

Thanks for stopping by.......

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Yesterday's tally..........

It was a slow day for the creative one.  I have been busy doing mundane, not so creative, things.  I cleaned up my art space in the studio first thing yesterday morning.  I decided that if I didn't have to sub that I would get my drawing and painting table ready to go for me becoming an artist again.  The last time I painted in the studio was when we created the mural for the city last summer. 

I have declared that I will paint at least one day per week on something for the upcoming art show. I was going to make it two days but I thought I would be disappointed if I didn't make the goal. I have a lot of framing to do and the sub work probably will pick up again later in the week.

The painting above is one that I found while cleaning up my art space.  It is done in oil pastel and I haven't a clue when I created it.  I will post it on my art blog and will probably mat it for the art show.  It is a Minnesota scene that I have done many times up by Silver Bay.  So the cleaning made me feel good to get that accomplished and finding the art piece is a bonus.

Work on framing yesterday included staining four 16 inch square frames, attaching stretched quilt pieces to their previously cut mats, and cutting glass for the frames that I had stained. 

The finish wasn't dry yet so I will assemble the final products today.  I need to cut five more frames for this one customer and then I have four wildlife prints to frame for a customer from Minnesota. His sister brought them in and said that I was to pick out everything for the frame jobs.  I like those jobs as I pick the mat colors and frame colors and I use mat color that I have in stock rather than go buy new ones.

My last photo is an example as to how blogging can make you do dumb stuff.  I liked the pattern and color of the loaf of bread so I just snapped it.  Della usually makes bread but when she is busy painting to meet dead lines we just pick up a loaf of the soft gooey stuff. 

We didn't get warm today as was predicted but we still are not in too bad of shape weather wise.  I guess Friday is going to be winter weather again but we know that will happen.  It will stop being warm and cold when it gets to be so very hot that we can't stand it, then we know we don't have to worry about snow.

Thanks for dropping by.................

Monday, March 21, 2011

A photographic study in browns........

This has been the color of the season since the snow went away and it actually warmed up.  Can you see the creeping Charlie in the foreground?

This is an old birdbath, I think.  I don't know for sure but I am going to call it that.  It is cast iron and heavy and I need to find a dish to fit on the top of it. I suppose it could have been something that they worked with in repairing tires in the old days, but I am still going to make it into a birdbath.

Saturday evening I looked around while out walking the dog and saw the beginnings of these tulips and daffodils.   I can't believe how fast they came up.  They reminded me of the amaryllis in the house, they were growing by the hour.

We had a light rain Saturday night into Sunday and the air warmed up to almost 67 degrees today and they just keep popping.  I had forgotten that they come up before the peonies.  We have cold weather in the forecast for Friday.  I hope that these can stay ahead of that kind of cold.

Thanks for stopping by.........

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fake versus real furbies.......

I captured this photo at school the other day. They are all plastic fakes of furby toys.

A real soft, lovable furby.  He is not working well and I don't know if a new battery will bring him back to life.  I rescued him from my parents home and  he would tell me that he was grateful if he could start talking.  When the battery is low he just says he is going to go to sleeeeeeeeeeeep and closes his eyes for long periods of times. 

He actually drove my parents crazy when they first received him as a gift from my California brother. They refused to read the directions to figure out how to shut him down, so he chattered all night and all day.  I think I remember he got stuck in a drawer to shut him down.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sycamore tree........

The neighbor's sycamore glows in the sunshine.  I hope you all have a happy Saturday.

Thanks for stopping by............

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cropping a photo.........

I started out with this as my photo to be cropped. It really is sort of balanced but I wanted a closer view of the glass pieces.

Then I cropped it just a little bit as the mugs made it seem off balanced.

Then I decided to make one more crop to get a more abstract photo of the three items.

There will be one more cropping that will end up on my photo a day blog of the clear glass tray. 

It was a warm day today.  We were suppose to be about 49 degrees as an average but it was 70 instead.  We really are not green enough for it to be that warm.

Thanks for stopping by........

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Green Day...........

My distant grandfather six or seven steps back on my  mom's side was Irish and my wife had a great grandmother who was Irish so I have connections to the day.  Blessings to you all on this day. To all of you who do not have connections I still wish you well for the day.

May you find a four leaf clover amongst the greens and your good luck be forever more.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A late Tuesday tidbit........

I spent the day doing different errands and tasks that I  had not had time to do the past few weeks.  One of the tasks was to check on the house in Osceola and clear some of the flower beds.  We are very brown everywhere, but under the leaves the daffodils and tulips are sprouting up a few inches high. This is southern Iowa and they are always two to three weeks ahead of us in warming up temperature wise.

As a point of information, my wife has four paintings showing in the Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum in Duncan, Oklahoma.  There are six or more of her friends from the internet who have entered into the show.  Della's white horse was chosen by the local paper to be shown as an example of the work being presented at the museum.  Check out the Chisholm Trail blog of her and her friends to see what the show looked like. I have it posted with a link on the right side of my blog.  It is being updated each day.

Other things we did today included stopping at the bookstore for some R and R.   Also we stopped at Menards to buy more molding in which to cut into frames.  I have to unload the eight foot sticks from the car in the morning plus other things that I couldn't throw away from down at the house.

I can't throw away buckets of nails and there were more antique glass lidded jars that don't belong in the landfill.  I brought home a lot of the cleaning equipment also as we are done doing that.  I have one vacuum still there to do final touch up and a couple of spray cleaners for last minute sprucing.  I brought home a ball bat from when we were kids and also more tools.   I still have six dining room chairs that I plan to bring home and turn them into painted artworks.  I will show you when I get one done.

I have not sold the house as of yet, but I have had probably 18 different calls of inquiry.  I hope to have people to actually go into the house as it really is a nice good sized house.

Thanks for stopping by........

Monday, March 14, 2011

Strange Glow........

What is that glow that is coming in my  dining room window?  It didn't warm up that much and the ground is still wet in places as Barney wears mud on his feet when he returns to the house. I have tomato seed sprouting already but they aren't that much to look at so I will wait until they get larger.

What to do when your yellow mat board piece is too small! I cut the insert yellow piece into half vertically and taped in a strip of black.  Then it looked funny, so I cut it twice more, horizontally and evenly space. Again I inserted black strips.  With it all taped together I used it like a regular piece of mat board and cut the second opening. My yellow piece was now two inches or more larger vertically and one and a half inches wider horizontially.

I didn't ask the customer about it as they were not sure what they wanted in the first place.  They did want it to be in IOWA colors,  a University of Iowa sports fan, so I think I solved the problem. They didn't want to spend much on this project....... so I didn't want to buy a whole large piece of mat board to do the job.

It is spring break at the high school, middle school so I won't be substitute teaching this week.  I guess it is my spring break too.

Thanks for stopping by...............

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Saturday's task review.........

Sixteen pieces, 16 inches long, each.......

Sorted into equal lengths, sanded...........

Glued together one set of four at a time..........

Three out of four are done, one is still drying in it's clamp........

Monday is coming and I hope you all have a good week........

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday's stuff..........

Flat cat of mine that I made many years ago. When we first opened the art gallery,  I made a lot of these wooden shapes for sale.  They were trendy back then and I had a large variety of them.  Eventually I hired an older fellow friend to cut them out for me and then I painted them.  He was a neat old guy and when they had his funeral, they displayed all of the different wooden pieces that he had made for himself from the patterns that I had.  It was neat to see that I gave him something to do that he really enjoyed doing.  One of the ones I really liked was a running horse pattern that I would have cut out of weathered wood.

As I was working on the new miter saw stand I snapped a view of a few of these that I still have around from the past.

I have mentioned in past blogs that my Dad liked to cut and polish stones.  I ran into this in a drawer, a few days ago of a belt buckle that he had made for me.  It is made from Mexican crazy lace, a stone he purchase at a rock show in slab form.  The buckle itself is a lot flashy in comparison to the subtle colors of the stone.  I didn't wear it very much when he first gave it to me as I was not a Western Wear sort of guy. 

We have melted a lot from warm weather yesterday but today it will be cold again.  It is nice to get rid of most of the snow.  I have to walk Barney often as he would come back into the house covered in mud.  He likes to walk and I kind of like walking him.  I will be achy from the muscles one uses to walk him.  He doesn't drag me around as I don't allow it and yet there is some resistance to the lead that cause some muscle strain.

Thanks for stopping by on this Saturday.  I hope all is well with you and your family.  We lose an hour of sleep tonight so we will have to adjust to the time change.  Spring forward affects us while falling back isn't so bad.


Friday, March 11, 2011

The process continues...........

On the platform I built a shoulder shelf that sits at the same height as the miter saw base.

I mounted the saw onto a base with these funny looking bent nail and screw.  I intend to go to the store and buy nuts and bolts to attached it to the base.   The base fits into the enclosure that I created so it can sit down into it.   I am going to go back and use drywall screws on this to hold the wood down.  I just temporarily tacked things together with finishing nails to see how it all was going to work.

The left shoulder piece slides back and forth over the one by three board.  I will invent a system to hold it into place but for now I can slide the shoulder over at least 34 inches from the edge of the saw.

I refused to drive anywhere with the price of gas to buy wood so I used what I had in the shed.  So you see I have a patched shoulder shelf.   I have a lot of free plywood down in Osceola, but the cost to drive an hour south would be a waste.  I just used this leftover pine wood instead.

I can slide the right shoulder also 34 inches from the edge of the saw.  This means I can cut long boards over eight feet long with straight cuts on this without it flopping around on the miter saw.   I also can now cut my frames with ease.  

There are ways that the original plan helped me but I wanted to be able to move all the parts of the device around without having a lot of weight.  I can take the saw off and the shoulders off and take it up and outside and put it on two saw horses.  I will invent a system to hold the shoulders down, I have ideas, but I just haven't gotten that figured out.  I know the original plan calls for screwdown clamps to hold things in place.  I want to see what there is available before I finish it.

Shop 101 is over for today.  I am an amateur carpenter, or at least a self trained carpenter.  I get by with creative thought and design creativity. I find it more rewarding to make it myself and to create it from scratch.  As I use this I may have to make modifications, but for now I am anxious to get to it.   Thanks for stopping by...............fifty seven degrees F. today, but I think the snow on the ground won't let that happen.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Beginning construction........

I started work on my stand to hold my miter saw.  The platform is seven foot long and will be supported by two sawhorses.  I like that it still will be portable.  I have it sitting on a 20 gallon fish aquarium right now.   You can see all the jars of nails and all the tools and junk that goes with building.

I am really happy with it.  This photo makes it look too large but it actually extends out 37 inches on each side of the saw.  To the left of this is my fifty gallon fish tank sitting on a table.

The water has been changed but it still looks murky in a dark old basement.  The koi and goldfish watched me as I worked this morning.  If I don't have to sub today I will be back on it as I need to get it done.  I have 13 frames to make and I want this stand with measurement markings on it so I can cut them quickly.

Thanks for stopping by..........we did get some snow Tuesday night and it was wet and heavy.   The temperatures are hoovering above freezing though so by tomorrow it will all be gone.  The mud will still be out there for Barney and Button to get on there paws.  Later..........

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

An elephant of a different color.........

While visiting and teaching in the Spanish room at school I notice Mr. Adams had this neat little sculpture from Mexico.  It is cast plaster or resin in nature but the whole thing is unusual.

This is the sun design, maybe Aztec in nature, that was on it's back.  This guy had some neat stuff in  his room to look at while you work in his room.

Thanks for stopping by on this Wednesday and take care.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I need to get back to painting again soon.  This is one that I did a year ago among a few other ones.  My wife and I have a show in April and I should have some other works to take along for it.

I posted about the ink wells in the past that are from country school desks.  The glass liner sits here in front and it fit inside the metal container with the flip up lid.  The metal piece would fit into the holes that were drilled into the wooden desks and then the glass container would be easy to remove and clean and refill.

Just for fun I am sharing a photo of bachelor buttons that I had grown two summers ago. I really enjoy the rich colors that these flowers put out for us to enjoy.

Thanks for stopping by..........