Category Archives: learning new things

Overwhelmed

Psychologies

My poor brain is overflowing with good suggestions for how to make my new Etsy shop better.  I’m feeling totally overwhelmed right now, not knowing which way to jump.

I’m going to go do something else from my ever-growing to-do list and then come back and choose ONE thing to do in my shop.

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Dreams, empowerment, learning new things

Gearing Up

Love To Be Busy

These aren’t MY shelves, but I’m spending time in my art room inventorying my paper supplies, calligraphy pens, wrapping supplies, paints, boxes, ribbons, envelopes, and more to be sure I can fill orders without delay.

I’m making lists of what I DO need to order, and then reorganizing my shelves so that things I need are super easy to find.

I’m excited that I have found Renae Christine, a lady who has been super successful in online shops of her own, who makes videos for others like me, helping them to correct mistakes they might be making, helping them rethink what they are trying to do, and helping them get set up. I signed up for one of her webinars today at 2pm, and have an alarm set and note-taking supplies at the ready!

She is very smart. I’ve watched each of the three videos I have twice, trying to absorb everything and use her suggestions in my new Etsy store, ArtworthyNoteCards.

P.S. Our Internet only functioned in spotty fashion the whole day, so I missed the webinar. I THINK I can save it and watch it tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

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Filed under learning new things, opportunities, Organizing/DeCluttering

My New Etsy Store!

For about a week and a half I’ve been viewing some videos by Renae Christine regarding selling handmade items online. She really got my attention when saying the several things you SHOULDN’T do – because I was doing ALL of them…. :0(

I have JUST finished creating a new store on Etsy called, ArtworthyNoteCards concentrating ONLY on selling my hand-painted cards, note card packages, and stationery packages.  I am trying to look at what I’m doing in a new way, incorporating her ideas, and will see if anything happens.

Changing the way you look at things is really difficult. Maybe this difficulty is another thing that increases with age. Her videos challenged me, though, getting me get excited about trying her suggestions.

I would very much appreciate it if you would visit my new store and give me feedback on what you think when you have the time and inclination.

If the link above doesn’t work for some reason, here is the URL to my Etsy store –

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ArtworthyNoteCards

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Encouragement, learning new things, opportunities

Patting Myself on the Head – Just a Bit

LessonPix

I’ve been a good girl today, doing some of the things I hate most – balancing checkbooks, filing, and tax prep for 2019.

I have the equivalent of a doctorate – plus in the fine art of procrastination. For years I have paid for it and the end of the year/beginning of the next year – being buried in receipts. I HATE tax prep and my husband calmly washed his hands of it years ago. He does bring me cups of coffee every once in a while, as encouragement, but that’s as involved as he gets.

When I finally could dump all of the organized receipts for 2018 on our wonderful CPA, I promised myself I would do things differently from now on. (Truth be told, I promise myself a LOT of things, only to procrastinate until the promises become meaningless.)

This year, though, I’m happy to tell you I have just finished

  • balancing our checkbooks
  • filing (I can see my desk!) – AND
  • converting receipts of all types for the month of March into the spreadsheets for taxes for 2019 I started at the beginning of the year.

Instead of cramming all the monthly receipts into monthly folders and then trying to make sense of things at the end of the year, I am going through the monthly receipts, listing things on the proper spreadsheet, then putting the receipts into a folder labeled for that deduction. No monthly folder anymore once the month is over. This way, at the end of the year I can simply total each category on the various spreadsheets, print them, list the information on the tax form booklet our CPA provides, already having the receipts ready to take!

I have officially finished 1/4 of 2019 now – can you see my grin?

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Bright Ideas, building good habits, Cause for Celebration, Changes, character-building exercises, learning new things, Organizing/DeCluttering, THINGS I HATE!

Chomping at the Bit!

It’s too cold outside yet, and I don’t have a heater in the greenhouse, so I can’t start any seeds yet, but NEXT month I’m hoping I can get a head start on the spring planting season.

I’m going through my seeds, thinking I’ll start with lettuce, spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower this time.

 

I would really love to have some healthy plants grown in my own greenhouse to transplant into our raised bed, square foot garden this spring, instead of having to buy plants locally. I’m reading everything I can get my hands on about greenhouses. The problem is that most of the information is written by people who live in pretty cold parts of the U.S.

My experience so far is that unless I have a heater (and we would have to keep it running 24/7 with a 350 foot extension cord running from the house out to the greenhouse) it’s too cold to start anything there yet. We tend to go from winter to way too hot in rapid succession, and then I have trouble – even with the extension cord, an exhaust fan, and the opposite people door open, to keep it COOL enough! So I’m scouring the net trying to find information that will help me deal with the extremes we have in Arkansas.

 

I’m hoping to start some plants the 1st of March. I’ll post pics of my efforts.

 

This is a picture of my spring garden last year in the raised bed planters my husband and I made. There are SIX 4’x4′ planters held up by angle iron ‘tables’ about my chest height. They allow me to weed, plant, and harvest without having to get up and down a million times or get down on hands and knees.

 

This picture gives you another view of the planters. We also used some netting at the end of July and through August when the sun tries to boil plants right in the ground. You can see the hoses and the sprinklers we use to water the plants automatically. They are attached to an outdoor faucet on a timer.

The planters are filled with Mel’s Mix (combination of peat moss, vermiculite and as many different composts as you can find.) We mix the ingredients together in a portable cement mixer and then bring the mix into the planters to top off. Then we stretch string across in two directions to make the ‘squares’ for planting.

I’m starting to plan where the plants will go.  It’s best if you rotate crops in this set up, just as you would if you were planting in the ground. We follow the Square Foot Garden book by Mel Bartholomew, where he suggests how many plants to plant in each square. He suggests one plant per square for things like broccoli, 4 per square for lettuce, 9 for other plants, and 16 for radishes.  We space them wider than he suggests, having healthier plants that way. (He tends his garden every day, sometimes even more. Since we’re not that conscientious, wider works better for us.)  He also suggests that you place like plants away from each other – such as one broccoli, then lettuce, then radishes, then cauliflower in a row to avoid transmission of bugs or any other problems from one plant to another.

I made a grid and I fill them in with what I’m planting where. I use the old one to figure out a new plan for the next ‘crop,’ trying not to plant the broccoli in the same squares as I did the last time.

We have converted two brick planters on the other side of the house to be tomato planters.

I’m at the stage of being excited and doing lots of research and planning.

If you have a greenhouse or do square foot gardening and have tips or suggestions, I would LOVE to hear them!

Can you tell I’m ready for spring? :0)

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Filed under Arkansas, doing what you love, Dreams, Favorite Things, Gardening, greenhouse, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, learning new things, opportunities, quality of life, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse, taking care of yourself

Learning New Things

Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

I started a new book, The Longevity Code by Kris Verburgh, M.D. because my husband read it and was really affected by the information and suggestions he found. He posted some changes in eating he wants to make and we got – or ordered – several supplements we aren’t taking.

I wanted to learn more about this, since my husband usually reacts that the information is ‘hype’ or ‘hooey,’ so I got the Kindle version of the book and am reading it now.

I don’t particularly want to live forever, although I would love to know what happens in the future. I mainly want my remaining time to be spent as healthy as possible. We’re trying to get the lard off, and use no more added salt or sugar anymore. We try to avoid foods that are high in either of those, and I’m exercising 5 or 6 days a week now.

I haven’t gotten far enough to share anything with you yet, but I wanted you to know about the book, if you’re interested to read what Dr. Verburgh has to say.

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Filed under Hobbies, learning new things, quality of life, Reading is FUNdamental

Our Son’s Adventure Has Begun

 

Monastery and Meditation Center, Siddharthanagar, Nepal

I got to chat with our son for a couple of minutes last night while he was waiting for a car and driver to take him the final leg of his trip, 45 minutes to the monastery and meditation center. He left a message this morning that he got there safely with no BIG problems, posting this picture.

He has been accepted for a 3-week stay, but hopes his teacher will give him permission to stay two months. It will all depend on how the teacher feels about his dedication and progress to learning to get to the next level of meditation.

This will be the last we will hear from him until the end of March.

We wish him much success.

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Filed under Adventure - Outside Your Comfort Zone, learning new things, quality of life

Fun in the Greenhouse

I had a lot of fun working in the greenhouse this morning. I’m reading a book, Greenhouse Gardening – A Beginner’s Guide by Jason Johns to try to figure out what I’m doing. :0)

It FINALLY quit raining today, so I’ve been out there and back again several times. It was 90 degrees in there this morning, so I’ve propped open the door, hooked up the electricity so the exhaust fan turns on automatically, and turned on the 2nd fan.

On the left side of this picture, are new tomato suckers I planted today. A couple of them were large, so they’re in the larger pots. To the right you can see the two smaller lettuce plants I planted a couple of weeks ago. They’re not thriving, but they are still alive. In front of them are more tomato suckers I started today.

I moved the six leggy lettuce plants into much larger pots to give them room to spread out. They’re looking really healthy. I’ll start cutting outer leaves from each of the plants for dinner salads soon. In front of the two big pots on the left, You can see the celery plants I started in the house from cuttings from celery I bought at the store.  In front of the pot on the right are more tomato sucker plants.

I just read about tomato plants in my greenhouse book. He suggests they need a LOT of air circulation around each plant, so I think I’ll go back out and move them from the 4 and six-pack planters to each in a 3-4″ pot to give them the best chance possible.

 

I’m like a kid at Christmas with the lettuce plants. I can’t wait to be able to bring leaves in and bite them!

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, greenhouse, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, learning new things, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

Balloon Pricker

Science ABC

A good friend of mine, Carla, and I went for a free dinner and spiel by Healthy Home 365 yesterday afternoon. We’ve been to other spiel/dinners, but this one was at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s in Fort Smith, a restaurant we both like, and we wanted the time together to catch up, so off we went.

This company has lots of good ideas for energy savings in your home. The spiel was well done and the food was good. I’m glad that technology is now providing good ways to minimize the affects of attics on homes. They have a solar-powered attic fan, a stuff called MLI, a multi-layered 99.9% aluminum ‘sandwich’ that comes in rolls to go over your existing attic insulation, an additive to put in your air conditioner to get rid of fouled oil that is supposed to prolong the life of your a/c, an EcoProbiotic System you attach to your air ducts to remove bacteria, etc., etc., etc.

My main reaction is that my husband and I have done what we’re able to afford already with a geothermal air conditioning and heat system, a tankless water heater, new windows, a check by our electric company for places we were losing heat, etc. These companies know what demographic they’re targeting, but it seems to ME that they should be targeting affluent middle or upper class families, rather than ‘mature’ people like us. The technology was impressive, and of COURSE I’d like to do ALL of it, but the cost was astronomical, even with a 30% price savings due to a Federal credit on your taxes. My friend signed up for an estimate, and I’m interested to hear what they told her. The estimates are supposed to be good for one year.

Big selling points were the tax credit, discount for quick sign-up, a higher selling price on your home, a payment plan, amortizing the cost over your lifetime, etc., etc. We have a reverse mortgage, so we aren’t concerned with selling our home. We are still trying to amortize the cost of the geothermal system, even though we received tax savings on that, ‘lifetime’ warranties mean a bit less now.

If this were about 15 years ago, we might have jumped at this. Their really good products and we would love to have them, but priorities are different now.  Sorry. I had to prick their balloon.

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Filed under Bright Ideas, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Important Ideas to Consider, learning new things, opportunities, quality of life

Lettuce Plants!

Crestock.com

I told you I planted 5 iceberg head lettuce plants recently. Three of them are still alive. They’re really small, but they’re better than NO lettuce plants. Today I found a six-pack of some really leggy iceberg lettuce plants and snapped them up. I just came in from planting them in the greenhouse.

I still have everything open out there, with the exhaust fan coming on when it gets too hot and a 2nd fan on all the time. The door on the opposite end of the greenhouse is propped open with a metal chair. The thermometer said between 95 and 100 degrees when I planted the lettuce. I’m not sure if the sweet plants will live with it that hot out there, but the evenings are cool and some cooler weather is on the way.

Tomorrow, if it isn’t raining, I’ll try to find suckers on my tomato plants and get them started in the greenhouse too.

This is a grand ‘fall’ experiment. I would really love to have lettuce and tomatoes until it freezes really hard here. That MIGHT be as late as February, if we’re lucky. Then around the first of March, I’ll start some plants for the spring garden!

I’m reading everything I can find on how to start and grow plants in my greenhouse. Frustratingly, most are written for people who are trying to keep their plants WARM, rather than having them boil to death, as mine have. I’ll keep reading, because I would really like to extend our growing seasons as long as possible.

When I get the tomato sucker plants going, I’ll try to get some pics for you.

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, greenhouse, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, learning new things, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

New Greenhouse Experiment

This is the greenhouse my husband and I built last year. I haven’t done anything with it during the summer because no matter what I did, as far as leaving the door open, running the exhaust fan on the other end, running a second fan on the table, it was over 120 degrees F. in there.

 

Now that it’s finally much cooler, I’m going to see if I can get some plants going and see if I can grow them through the winter!

I got a six-pack of Iceberg head lettuce today. I have some tomato plants still in various stages. I’m going to see if I can get some good suckers from them, and get both things started in the greenhouse.

I need to clean things out in there first. The rain comes in underneath, so the floor is pretty awful right now. I want to extend the heavy extension cord from the house to the greenhouse and get the exhaust and extra fan going, and get some pots set up with Mel’s Mix. I need to find my rooting medium and make sure I have plenty of water out there.

THEN I’ll plant the lettuce, and THEN I’ll see if I can find good suckers on the tomato plants. I haven’t a clue what I’m doing, but if reading and enthusiasm will do it, I’m in.

I’ll post progress (?) reports to let you know how things are going. Fingers, and all other appendages crossed!

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Filed under Challenges, Gardening, greenhouse, Healthy Eating, learning new things, Lewis projects, quality of life, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

Once You Learn to Read

Frederick-Douglas-EbookFriendly

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Filed under Favorite Quotes, Hobbies, learning new things, Reading is FUNdamental

Smoke

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August 31, 2018 · 12:43 pm

Drawing of Amber

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August 30, 2018 · 6:19 pm

A Bit of Progress

I’ve been reading, studying, and trying some new techniques for trying to add better fur and feathers to my drawings. I’m using the book, “Keys to Painting Fur & Feathers” edited by Rachel Rubin Wolf.

I’ve been having lots of fun using a mixed media approach of micro pens, colored pencils, and pastels.

I have a long way to go before my work looks good, but it’s fun to spend time playing.

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Filed under learning new things, Lewis Art

Intimidated

ashleyjensen.org

I’m a wimp.

Years ago, when my good friend Debbye was dying of recurrent breast cancer, I watched her doing some watercolors in her bed. I told her, “I wish I could do that.” She got angry with me – the only time EVER – saying, “What are you waiting for? What is your excuse? YOU have time. YOU can practice. YOU can learn. What difference does it make if what you do never makes it off of your own refrigerator door? JUST DO IT!” 

I answered her challenge by starting my own website, Creative Artworks, with the good help of my son, who designed my website. I had only my own stuff on there, but then learned I could add the work of others without increasing my costs – just my own labor. I ran the website for about 17 years, met wonderful people from all over the world, some of whom became good friends. It was a wonderful experience. I shut down the website last year because it was time and I still have my own work on Etsy and ArtFire.

Now I’m trying to learn something new. I’m trying to learn to paint more realistic fur and feathers on my drawings. I’m using a tracing board to do the drawings, since trying to draw animals and birds free-hand is intimidating, too. I now have a group of drawings, some my own, others traced from a book called, Keys to Painting Fur & Feathers, some traced from images I found on the net.

Now it’s time to actually add the fur or feathers and I’m finding that, again, I’m my own worst enemy. I keep finding another drawing to add to the mix. I keep re-reading parts of the book. I continue to look at the drawings…

I’m thinking of Debbye today as I try to gather myself and get started. I’m trying to fight feelings of inadequacy. I know my drawings won’t end up like what I’m trying to emulate. I see Debbye’s face as she sits on the bed challenging me. “What difference does it make if these never make it out of my sketch book? I don’t have to show these to anybody EVER. I can ball them up and throw them away.  WHY am I procrastinating?

I’ve decided to start with colored pencils, just doing a light color block on a drawing, with the idea of refining it over and over until it’s as good as I can make it right now. I can always do another tracing and do it again. Maybe this will get me started – TODAY.

Wish me luck?

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Filed under Challenges, learning new things

Fur & Feathers Project

I pretty much have the drawings I want in order to practice painting fur and feathers that look more realistic than I’m able to do now. I have most of my drawings done with the help of my new toy, a 4 LED Tracing Board, which allows me to trace most anything that fits on the board. I then transfer the tracings to my sketch book using carbon paper. Then I can concentrate on studying the Keys to Painting Fur & Feathers, edited by Rachel Rubin Wolf.

Kingfisher and Parrot are previous drawings of mine that I retraced in order to do what I hope will be a better job this time.

 

Amber and Molly are our doggies. I traced these from photos I took of them.

 

Our cat, Abby, is typically on her back or on her side, as in this picture, thinking deep thoughts.

 

Smoke is a much more active cat, always about to leap from one place to the next.

The bear is a drawing by Claudia Nice in the Fur & Feathers book, borrowed to try to learn to add the fur.

 

The last two birds I found on the net and traced.

I’m studying the book, trying to absorb enough to get started. I think I’ll try to work in colored pencils first, so I’ll particularly study that section of the book. I’m having SUCH a good time with this. I love learning new techniques!

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Filed under Challenges, doing what you love, learning new things

Abby and Smoke

As I told you recently, I’m having lots of fun with a new toy – a 4 LED Tracing Board. It’s a light box, but extremely thin, and plugs into my computer. I can trace my own artwork, grab pics from the net or books or magazines. Then I can transfer the tracings to my sketch book using carbon paper so that I can concentrate on learning techniques for adding fur or feathers to the drawings. If I had to draw each from scratch, I would be totally intimidated and the learning would be stopped in its tracks.

Yesterday I added tracings of pics I’ve taken of our doggies, Amber and Molly. Today I’m going to add these of Abby (above) and Smoke (below.)  Once I get these into my sketch book, I’ll start trying to learn from a really good book I’ve had for a long time, Keys to Painting Fur & Feathers, edited by Rachel Rubin Wolf. There are drawings and hints on adding realism in various media. Since I really love mixed media, I can play with techniques to my heart’s content, learning a ton with each tracing.

 

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, learning new things

Learning!

I took these pics of Amber (above) and Molly (below) today and am adding them to my sketch book so that I can practice trying to get fur to look more realistic with the aid of my book, Keys to Painting Fur & Feathers.  I’ll see if I can get good pics of the two cats, get tracings of them into the sketch book, and then I’ll start reading and trying to do what it suggests. This is really a fun, challenging, engrossing project!

 

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Filed under Family, learning new things