Friday, June 29, 2012

Some journal pages and yard sale finds

A friend was having a yard sale so I dropped by.  Was able to get a few great deals.  I've been looking for small odd tables to use outside on the deck.  This cute little stool or workbench is just the kind of thing!  I will probably paint it since it has a half spray of silver on one side of the top.

Got it to use on the deck, but right now it has found a home holding my beautiful petunias that I got for Mother's Day in the treasured painted flowerpot with my grandson's pictures on my front porch. This pot has to stay out of direct contact with the weather since the pictures would be damaged.

In additon I scored some ephemera and a nice partitioned cigar box.  Not sure why it would be divided up like this, but it will make a good assemblage box one day or for now maybe storage for jewelry or junk bits and pieces. First pic shows all of it together and then below inside the box and a shot of just the paper stuff.  Looks like someone had saved a lot of stamps, then there are old letters and postcards.

I pulled out some of my composition journals that were started some time back and have gotten a few spreads done over the last couple of weeks. In these, I glue a couple of pages together for more stability, usually add some gesso to the pages, glue some collage elements, and then layer different paints, stickers, and use markers or pens here and there, kind of playing back and forth.  I feel a good bit rusty and am not totally satisfied with them but at least it is a start in the right direction and fun, which is most important. Right below, this set of pages started out with watercolor flowers done on a page when Thomas and I were playing last time he was here.  I did very basic elementary flowers, so to preserve some of the memory of this day, I tore out the purple and yellow flowers and glued one to each page, then went on playing from there.

The last spread I've done is below. I had spent some time one day painting vintage book pages, beginning this project to make some striped papers to use in decorating candles after buying an Anna Corba book.  I painted several pages with different images before I was through that day, saved them in a folder with other painted papers, like the papers I put on my work table when I'm working with paints or stamping. Actually scraps of these are on the flower spread above, too.  So the hearts came from that collection and then, on the left page below, used pieces that I had leftover from a marbling paint paper experiment.  The medieval picture came from an onlive archive, maybe the NYPL one, which is free and full of great images. Other papers are different scrapbook papers and again, used markers and pens to highlight and add dots, etc.

This last spread I did almost 2 years ago,when I turned 50, but don't think I've ever shared.  Here again you see the painted vintage book pages. On the left the orange and brown striped and on the right the squiggles.  There are scraps from old letters and then this and that as usual. Sometimes I will go back and journal over or around pages like these and others I find I like just as they are.   

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Observations about aging

Yeah, this might be one of those posts that you might want to skip, lol, especially if you are looking for anything artistic.  Some of these thoughts have been brewing in my head for awhile now.  I'm going to write them out and see if I have the courage to hit "post" when I'm done!  If you are middle-aged or older you will get a laugh and even if you are young you need to read on because it will all make sense to you one day and you might appreciate the warnings or the info.

This could also be entitled "things they don't warn you about getting older"although this might just be in my world, where family didn't tend to be very open about personal stuff. I grew up in a pretty sheltered world with one set of grandparents being German and the other set very religious. I was the only daughter to my parents, with 2 brothers to follow, so there were no sisters to share knowledge.  There was a lot of laughter and love in the home, but not so much open discussion of personal matters.  To give my Mom credit, she was the one brought up in the German household, so she probably didn't get much information from her Mother, BUT she was the youngest child of 6, with 4 older sisters.

So, the only personal things I remember being told: Mom guided me toward the Childcraft volume about Health where I learned a bit about periods and I think, reproductive matters; she bought me some pads when I did start, the kind that used a belt, and gave very quick, basic instruction on how to use them; and my Granny told me that if I waited until I got older I wouldn't even have to shave my legs because the hair would quit growing. And that pretty much sums it up. 

Except...I discovered the All You Ever Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask volume hidden in one of my parent's dresser drawers by being a sneaky, nosy kid.  Think my brothers did, too.  Who knows, maybe it was a deliberant plant by a very smart Mom, who knew we would do exactly what we did, thus avoiding the awkward Birds/Bees talk. Even at age 51, not yet had the nerve to come right out and ask her or admit to her that I read it.  And so the cycle of not verbalizing continues...

Yeah, I learned a LOT from that book!  Served me well later on. But really, I digress from what I started out to say.

What I've had on my mind lately really has nothing directly to do with sex, so not sure how I wandered down that road ;)  It is more about the changes that happen to your body as you age, which does go back to what my Granny said about shaving your legs.  When she told me that, I was pretty young, too young to be shaving, probably less than 10.  But, even at such an age, I remember thinking that this chick was definitely going to be shaving her legs!  It would be so GROSS not to, but I guess in generations past, women didn't shave their extremities or under/around them. I must research this topic!  When exactly did razors and women shaving become so common?

But you know she was right!  That is something that I noticed as I rushed through that 4th decade of life into this 5th one,  All that body hair that I have been fighting since puberty IS thinning out now.  To explain a bit, unfortunately in my family, women tend to have more than our share of body hair.  The positive side is that it means we have a thick head of hair, but the big downside is extra everywhere else! No pretty golden hairless arms for most of us(always envied my friends).  We are talking about leg and underarm hair that resisted all efforts at removal! It laughed in the face of puny depilatories! Well, now it is more normal, even thin in all the areas that it is supposed to be that way.  But, sadly, now at an age that it really doesnt matter anymore.  I mean I'm 50+ and don't really need to be in a bathing suit.  This is not to say I'm going to give up going to the beach and wearing one because it doesn't mean that.  Just sayin' that I don't care anymore about what people think of me and I'm not a young thing out there trying to attract a mate.  Had the same one for over 30 years now.

That fourth decade is when a lot of things change that people don't warn you about, so that is what I am going to postulate about. I've given one positive change: your body hair is going to get thinner, a positive if you are like the females in my family.  Of course, no one tells you that the hair gets thinner EVEYWHERE, which is not so attractive when it happens in a certain place and that is all I'm going to say about that.  I just wasn't warned, you know, so that on one of those days when I forced myself to really look in the mirror, I was kind of shocked and since then have tried not to think about it!

Another is that your body weight will slowly shift from your bottom to your middle.  This will happen even if you are fat or thin, male or female.  Now maybe you made this observation on your own. In retrospect, I realize I noticed this happening to older people but never thought it would happen to me.  You know, the land of denial, although not conscious denial, I must say.  To further add to this denial, when my pants continued to fit me, even got looser in the legs, I thought maybe I was losing weight Finally had to face facts when I saw some snapshots and the pear shape that had been what I fought since I was a teenager had become more that  of a nice round apple.

What else to warn you about?  Your lips as well as your hips will lose their definition. Not sure when this happened, although it was probably since I turned 40, gradually, so I didn't see it coming.  I used to not bother with lip liner, but now I find it helps, a lot, if I put an outline around these lips.  Love those sweet young lips you have now, for one day they will just be a vague idea around that mouth!

Definition.  Another thing that kind of goes away all over.  Be forewarned: your skin will turn loose from your muscles.  Again, not sure when this occurred and something I found when forcing myself to look at my body, naked, in a full-length mirror. To continue to be frank, I was/am contemplating a tattoo, a celebration and embracing of my age after I hit the big 5-0.  Hhhmmm, where would this tattoo look the best? Thus the mirror and the close scrutiny because my thinking was my back would be a good place.  So, I look and then think"@$#&, when did my back get saggy like that?!" I work in the medical field, so why I am being surprised by all these things?  I do wonder?  More denial, I suppose. But, fat or thin, one day this will happen to you. 

Your skin is going to become thin.  Now I come from thick-skinned people, both figuratively and literally, so I think this didn't happen with me as early as it does with others.  Even so, during this last few years, mine is starting to get that look of old people skin. When this happens, minor scrapes and bumps become yucky-looking abrasions that you will find later on and then wonder where they came from.

You know how your hair is going to get thinner? Well, it won't all over, unfortunately.  Most likely, you will start to sprout some eyebrows that look like they are on steroids. If you are a man, there may be some extra hairs out of your ears.  Be aware and be ready with some sharp scissors and a magnifying mirror because about this time your eyes will also start giving out on you, thus making it harder for you to see these offending hairs that will sprout up where they don't need to be.

To younger women that might happen to take the time to read this.  Love the body you are in!  I mean it! Please take me seriously.  Whatever your shape, appreciate that pretty young skin and the youth and health you have. Don't waste time wishing to look like someone else who is more than likely wishing THEY looked like someone else.  Love yourself!

I say that and am trying to turn it around on myelf, at my age.  Listen to my own advice.  Hard to do. I know there are more changes yet to come. Wrinkles, all over, even! And, you know, I embrace them all!  Because I think elderly people are beautiful!  To me, my grandmothers were two of the prettiest women I ever knew.  I don't mention my Mom because, even at almost 70, she looks young.  I have more gray hair than she does. My Aunts, both sides of the family, are lovely women. Seriously all I hope for is that my husband, children and my grandchildren keep on loving me as long as I'm blessed to be on this earth.  I don't even care if they think I'm pretty, as long as they love me. But I thought it wouldn't hurt to take a few minutes and laugh at aging, because, you know, you can either laugh or cry.  Either way, won't change a thing!

PS I probably should have used a filter in my thinking and writing or gone back to delete some of this, but I've decided to let the chips fall where they may, as it was how I felt when I wrote it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Around the house, literally

I thought I would show some views of our outside areas.  This is where I've been piddling around, trying to make this place my own, I guess.  I know everything is kind of hodge-podgy but at least it has a personal touch, lol! Above is the side sitting area down from the deck that wraps around the back and east side of the house and one of the things I love about this house.  Looks like the former owners started filling in this area with the pebbles but never finished. That will be a "do-as-I-can" project, of which I have several, including getting cushions for this iron bench and the swing that was left here.

Here is another view of this area.  Beside the chair is the pot lid turned upside down planter for hens and chicks.  The concrete edging was another thing left here piled up under a tree in the yard.  Moved it here to recreate a border around what looked like a former planting bed below the decks. We've still got to finish putting up the lattice under the deck.  It is done in places but not others.

Here is the strawberry planter pot I've had for years now, finally planted with some cute little flowers/succulents.  Think the one is called moss rose? They seem to be doing nicely in it.  The last time I tried to plant this pot, I couldn't keep it watered enough, but these are pretty hardy plants so hopefully they will survive.

Saw this idea on Pinterest.  The rusty toolbox was another thing left behind in our shed, so now it's become useful again. These succulents are some I got at the Wildflower Society's sale back in April.  Can't wait until they are overflowing the box!

This is the corner of the deck outside the living rom windows and the utility room doors. I've plans to repaint these chairs, same colors, yellow and green, although the green paint on the chair to the right has weathered and chipped almost completely off.  They really shouldn't be sitting out in the open, but my front porch just wasn't right for this rustic of a look, so here they will be. 

Here is the blue table and chairs that I blogged about recently.  Still not decided about trying to make them more turquoise, which was what they were supposed to be in the first place.

Another to-do project waiting on me is the table and chair set.  We purchased these several years ago at a great price when we were going to auctions for our flea market booth.  With the fabric cushions, these should be in a screened-in porch, but as I am not EVER going to have one of these, even though I've wanted one forever and my husband started one and never finished it at our other house, these are going to have to do.  I bought the black Rustoleum paint for the facelift, but after I did, came to the abrupt realization that the seat bottoms are rotten and need to be totally redone when I fell through the bottom of one as it busted!! Sssoo, now there will be new seat bottoms to cut(guess treated plywood would be the way to go on that) and will have to buy new foam and cover them all when done.  Working on the hubby to get him to help me cut out the seats, as I'm not the greatest with power tools.  Thinking I'm going to use vinyl tablecloths as the fabric for the seats.  It will eventually dry rot but maybe not as soon as the shower curtains I've been using.

In the background, you might be able to see the shed that sits at the edge of our yard.  In a weird twist, it only partially belongs to us.  This was an old family place that was gradually divided up among family members who then have moved on.  Only one brother, a neighbor a few houses east of us, still lives and owns his family property.  Our house was on several acres, but they gave one acre to a daughter and her husband, that immediately east of us. This was sold to another fellow, our present neighbor.  Parceling off one acre cut through existing structures of the original home place, which went with house we now live in. So the line, as we understand it now, runs through the front of the shed and cuts off a stormpit which looks like it should belong to our house.  We own the entrance to the shed but not the majority of the shed.  I'm itching to do something to the side of it to make it more pleasing to the eye, like adding an old window, shutters, and flower plantings.  I still may do it, after asking the neighbors permission, as surely he won't have an objection to improvements.  It's an eyesore more to us than him. His home faces away from these structures, but they are what we see from every back window, our deck, and outside seating.

So this is our "garden", or part of it.  We also have 6 sweet pepper plants, yellow and red, in another bed, but they are recently planted and pitiful right now.  Four tomato plants made it out of six we planted and the same with some cayenne peppers right in front of the tomatoes.  They are flowering now.  I have to get some Sevin dust as I've spotted a few Japanese beetles and some cutworms.

To the left of the tomotoes are the few herbs transplanted from the other house or purchased recently.  They will be moved eventually to a planned herb garden, once I decide where and how I want to do it.  From left to right, winter savory, garlic chives, some kind of oregano?forgot what it was, and then 2 colors of bee balm(not yet blooming). 

I'm working on some more herbs.  Here is some thyme and basil seedlings.  I've more basil in another pot and then cilantro and lavender which are just starting to sprout.

This is another view from the back deck of the side seating area where you can see the swing that was left behind.  It needs some new cushions to spruce it up. 

While I've been trying to get this post together, here is what Maggie was doing.  She was under the coffee table at my feet, trying to get my attention and looking pitiful. 

In the line of art, I've done a bit of journaling again, and have started having some ideas of things I want to do.  This is starting to feel more like home and perhaps that is a beginning to my being able to get past the mental block I've had to creativity.  We still have things to situate in the house but I've started a new position at work where I will be working seven days and then off seven, night shift.  This should free up more time for all of the above-mentioned projects, art, and moving.

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