Category Archives: learning new things

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!


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!

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


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



August 31, 2018 · 12:43 pm

Drawing of Amber


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.


Filed under learning new things, Lewis Art


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


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