Saturday, November 14, 2015

Still Taking It Easy



Well, as easy as possible. I've been reading, of course. I find myself rotating through books by my favorite authors: Rosamunde Pilcher, D E Stevenson, Angela Thirkell, Grace Livingston Hill, L M Montgomery, Miss Read, and possibly Muriel Spark might become a favorite. I also want to read more from Maud Hart Lovelace, having finished the complete Betsy-Tacy series a few years ago. Occasionally I sneak in a different author. As for non-fiction, I read Joyce Meyer (I want to reread some of her old works that I haven't donated to the library; my name is down for The Mind Connection, but apparently so are a lot of other people's), and other inspirational authors as the Spirit moves me.

These last couple of months I've enjoyed an increase in my Bible study time. Maybe 2-3 times a week I read a NT chapter (NIV), highlighting whatever speaks to me during that reading, and if something really speaks loudly to me, I write that passage in my Bible journal (I'm not illustrating it, just writing out verses). In the same study session I read 1-2 chapters of the OT in the NIV, depending on length. Then I read about the chapters from two handbooks (Halley's and Unger's), and finish up by reading the same chapter(s) in the Amplified. Again, if a passage seems extra meaningful to me, I write it in my journal. I don't own any commentaries, but once in awhile I do get on BibleGateway and do a more thorough study. Most days, however, the two Bibles and two handbooks are satisfactory.

Let's see. Haven't been overly creative, but I am knitting a "skinny" scarf. It's slow going due to an old shoulder injury, but I work just a little at a time because I still dearly love to knit. I do have the urge to learn to knit socks, which I have never done before. 



I finally finished my little, old Betsey Clark coloring book from the 1970s. Coloring is finally the "in" thing to do! I've started another page in my Dover floral book, and a friend of the family gave me a lovely book by Millie Marotta entitled Animal Kingdom. It's quite intricate, but will be beautiful if I ever get much filled in. I also hope to purchase Valerie Sjodin's coloring book Colorful Blessings, when it comes out. Looks like it will be lovely. 

I spend a little time on Pinterest enjoying beautiful art, cozy rooms, and gardens. And I do look back at what I've pinned when I need a dose of loveliness. I used to be able to scroll through it all at one time, but now I can only partake in a portion at a time. Watercoloring is very much on my mind, but good light and commitment have been lacking. Maybe soon. 

And then there's still (!) the Christmas cross-stitch pillow that has no end. If I could just complete the white, then maybe the remaining bits would fly by. And speaking of Christmas, my carols are at my piano for enjoying throughout the season. I played some selections the other evening, but not since. Where do the days go?!

I have watched a few movies on Netflix. My two favorites have been Quartet (with Maggie Smith from Downton Abbey) and Haute Cuisine. Very low key but excellent, especially for those of us of a certain age. I've also begun the Hallmark series When Calls the Heart. I wasn't too impressed with the pilot, but have watched a couple more episodes and liked them. One has to become invested in the characters, I suppose. On TV I watched the Masterpiece series Home Fires on PBS, which was right up my alley.

In other news, I was gifted with a new range after nine months without. Nothing to be alarmed over; microwave, crockpot, and electric skillet allowed for ample variety. But it's been fun to use an oven again! Alas, there's been a slight learning curve because I boiled over water/macaroni the first time I cooked on the stove-top. I hope to be well-acquainted with things by the time I prepare Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners this year.

Otherwise, things remain the same, which is a good thing. My household is doing well, and I hope yours is, too. I first posted five years ago today, and I will still try to post from time to time, but for now that's the most I'm shooting for.

Many blessings to you and yours,
Bess 
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links, if I've done it correctly! Thank you so much for entering Amazon through my links or widgets.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Time for a Break


Dear Ones,

All is well, but I'm going to take a break from blogging for ... I'm not sure how long. I still don't have a good spot to create vignettes to photograph, and I didn't intend for this to turn into solely a blog for sharing my attempts at creating art.

My 5-year blog anniversary will be mid-November, so I will try to do something around that time, if not before. But for a very long time now I've felt my blog has been dying a slow death, and I don't know if it, or my interest in it, can be fully revived. Time will tell. I like to share the titles of books I'm reading, so will probably keep that up on my sidebar ... and Pinterest, too, at least until "enough is enough"!

My brother is doing well, and might even get to take a break from hospice care for a bit! Quite the miracle since he was expected to pass away months ago! I'm still helping him quite a lot, which is my pleasure to do so.

I hope everyone enjoys a long, lovely Autumn!


My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Colossians 2:2-3  NIV

Blessings,
Bess
PS: I'm getting a lot of spam, so comments are off now, but my email (which I sometimes check) is on my sidebar. Thanks much!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Put on a Happy Face!


"Grey skies are gonna clear up! Put on a happy face."

Hi All!

Should you be needing a little lift, here's a link to Dick Van Dyke and Janet Leigh singing this fun song from Bye Bye Birdie. Or if you prefer, here are the great Tony Bennett and James Taylor (with a bit of talk; song begins about 48 seconds in).



He gives us "a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."
Isaiah 61:3

Hope you are enjoying a happy weekend,
Bess

Sunday, August 30, 2015

My First "Morning Glories" Drawing


This morning I finished adding colored pencil to a sketch of morning glories I made a month or so ago. I don't really have too much else to share, so a page or two or three from my art journal is my go-to today. However, I will share toward the bottom a poor snapshot of the moon last night. It had the best "Man in the Moon" face I've seen in my lifetime. Anyway, it wasn't until I had my drawing all colored that I realized I had spaced out on one of the leaves and drawn the veins the wrong direction:


I was wrong on my pencil sketch and blindly followed through!

Forgot to shoot the sketch before I began adding color.

I was fairly satisfied with it otherwise, but the blatant error got to me and I attempted to fix it:


With Auto Correct:


Here is a page of a few morning glories I did in order to practice coloring them. The shapes were a couple stylistic(?) ones I saw done on youtube (more or less):


I took this shot upside down, and then rotated it in Microsoft Office Picture Manager. It makes me feel like I'm looking down on a plant that's reaching up: 


Here's the moon photo. The real thing was stupendous!

Can you see him? 

A kitty sketch page (not the page I wrote "Yikes" on). I'm enjoying trying "this and that" art.


And finally, in homage to the end of August and the upcoming unofficial end of summer (whether that's September 1 or Labor Day for you), here is a photo of a very tired, thinned out hibiscus that's still getting buds. However, the poor thing has really slowed down and the blooms are much smaller now. I guess summer has almost run its course, and soon this plant will, too.


Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Have a blessed week!
Bess

Friday, August 21, 2015

Finished: Another Hat


Just a short post on a cool, lovely Friday to celebrate the completion of another knitted hat. You can see my first one here, but the link to the pattern at Ravenhill Cottage doesn't work anymore (perhaps you can find it somewhere else on her blog). This gray yarn was rather firm and scratchy compared to the yarn used in 2014. I made the above a size larger, too.


The pin is just sitting on the hat.

At any rate, I should be good on hats for this winter. The rhinestone pin was my grandmother's. It's pale blue.


Yet day by day the Lord also pours out his steadfast love upon me, and through the night I sing his songs and pray to God who gives me life.
Psalm 42:8  TLB

Have a sweet weekend,
Bess

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Exploring Art

Sorry so dark. There is just no natural light in my house yet.

I was going to complete a few more attempts at art I have in mind before I shared these, but I'm not getting to things very quickly. So I'm sharing some of my silliness now. I'm no talented artist. Mostly I've just been checking artists out (for ideas) as I come across them, and also pinning art I like.

I have posted before on the fact I like to color ... in coloring books. When I can find the time, I find it very relaxing. The cover:

Purchased in the mid-1970s, I think. Two more pages and it will be all colored in.



My version:


I guess it was early this summer that I discovered Bible marginalia art (Bible art journaling). I decided against purchasing a new Bible with margins because I definitely don't need another Bible. However, any of our Bibles have blank spaces at the ends of the Books, between the Testaments, at the back, etc. For now that is good enough for me. My first and only attempt, done in ink and colored pencil, is below. Here are two links to good blogs on this topic: Journaling the Bible and Visual Blessings. Or just do a search on Pinterest, etc. Such beautiful work is a pleasure to behold!

As an aside, I pondered whether it was desecrating my Bible, the Word of God, to adorn it with art. But I already highlight it (my only system is to use a different color each time I read it through), and I don't plan on spreading any images over the Word itself. Not saying that's wrong, just saying to each her own. Per Wikipedia, illuminated manuscripts go back hundreds of years, aiding in clarification and even preservation of ancient works.

I'd say this looks like a 4th grader drew it, but then I'd be insulting 4th graders everywhere! :-)

I've wanted to do some scripture art journaling in my informal art journal as well. The following was done in colored pencil, but I ruined the look of it with my scraggly writing. So no more writing added until I study a bit on lettering techniques.

Auto Correct used because it came out so dark.

Finally, I became interested in the work of Candice Dillhoff on youtube. Her Faux Hobonichi is especially wonderful! And if you know what that is already, you are waaaay ahead of me! Anyway, her doodles are works of art and just looked fun. So I've tried a couple so far, and mine came out pretty weird, but they were fun to do. The first was done in watercolors, the second in markers. I have no fancy materials; just Crayola pencils and markers, and Prang watercolors. Perhaps someday I'll buy some materials others recommend. The doodles are just plain doodles; they don't mean anything. Except for on the bottom one, I did decide it needed a "Bluebird of Happiness" in the little scallop dip.


The black line on the bottom flower is courtesy of Sweetie kitty
jumping on it while I was working away!

My informal art journal is "no pressure" fun because it's just a record of my dabbling and learning process. For example, I sketched a cat that I won't share. I looked at it, and on the top of the page I wrote "Yikes!" But it's staying in there. :O)


Thanks for your visits, comments, and for following (at the bottom of my blog), and to a few of you a big thanks for going through my Amazon widgets. 

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you, I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.
Psalm 9:1-2

I hope you have a wonderful week! 
Bess

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Canna Lilies



Happy Sunday to you! There aren't as many new flowers around this time of year here besides zinnias and Rose of Sharon. We have many of both around town, but I haven't had a good opportunity to photograph any Rose of Sharon. 
(Scroll down to see the zinnias up close and personal.)

However, I did photograph these tall and majestic canna lilies, thanks to the zinnia neighbor.  There is another stand of them not too far away, and they are much shorter. A different variety, I imagine.


Today I thought I'd share from the 1948 devotional My Lord and I by Harry Moyle Tippett:

The secret of spiritual fragrance in the life is "Christ in you the hope of glory." To find God in the cathedral organ, in the gorgeous sunset, in a great masterpiece of art, is a partial experience in the things of the spirit, but the full experience comes when, like St. Theresa, we find God walking among the pots and pans.

The mastery of environment begins with attention to the nearest task or the most needful duty as a focus of interest from which order and organization will naturally evolve. ... Epaminondas, celebrated Greek general, famous as a sanitary engineer in cleaning up the city of ancient Athens, became greater than his environment when he was appointed by his political enemies as scavenger of the city. "If the job cannot magnify me, I will magnify the job," he said, and therewith turned a seemingly ignominious appointment into a glorious opportunity.  Good religion does that too. It molds our untoward surroundings into opportunities instead of handicaps.

A railroad-crossing watchman in a Midwestern city made his drab little signal hut an attractive spot of simple beauty by surrounding it with a tiny border of flowers. The little window boxes were colorful with red geraniums. He kept his small quarters bright with scouring powder and new paint. The whole atmosphere testified to the instincts for beauty within the man's heart in a lowly environment. God requires, not that we revolutionize a city, but only that we be perfect in the sphere of our influence. That suggests changing the things that need changing, and molding adverse conditions to a noble utility.

Coming and going!

Praying your life is blessed with beautiful days,
Bess

Monday, August 3, 2015

Colorful Zinnias


A neighbor's yard is displaying a lovely stand of zinnias. I snapped these with my android (on which the colors are brilliant!) and the colors lost some vividness in the transfer, but I hope you'll still enjoy these ambassadors of summer and good cheer!





This one had a visitor. I like the tiny flowers within the flowers.


For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Romans 1:20


Zinnias ... just another gift from God to brighten our days.



Hoping your days are bright indeed!
Bess
(Edited to add: Well, we just looked at this post on the other computer and the colors are much brighter, so maybe it's mostly my laptop???)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Book Talk: Paris Letters


I feel as though I'm always the last one to read a popular book, but I'm going to share a little anyway.

If you see yourself as a dreamer, a romantic, or an artist, I think you will enjoy Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod. I certainly enjoyed it. I think I even loved it! And what's so wonderful is that it's a true story ... a memoir covering very recent years in MacLeod's life.



You get a lot in this book. She is an artist, and includes around twenty copies of her watercolors, the ones on the cover and endpapers being in color. She also includes in entirety the corresponding letter she wrote and sent to friends and subscribers on each painting. I loved the responses she shared as well.



First, however, you may very well identify with her job frustrations at the beginning of the book. I found it interesting to read how she escaped the rat race. At the end of the book she provides an itemized summary of what she did to save enough money to ultimately escape from the corporate world.

And then there's the romance. This is one great, sweet, love story, and I found myself rooting for Christophe early on "to get the girl." He had to work to reel her in, but he sounds like quite the catch himself.

From Paris Letters:

I thought I'd cry here on the bridge with all these insights pouring out of me. I used to cry every single day, usually about some boy, sometimes about pressure at work. There was always something to cry about. But now, I hadn't cried since that tiny two-minute episode when I said good-bye to Christophe at the airport in Paris. How unlike me. Or, perhaps, the crying version of me no longer existed. That was who I was before, not who I was on this bridge in Venice. Along the way, I replaced a bad habit of being upset with a good habit of being happy. Could it really be that simple?

Love the last two lines of that paragraph!

I thought I might be a little old to embrace this book, but I'm glad to know I wasn't.   :O)


Have a refreshing weekend,
Bess

Monday, July 20, 2015

Fits and Starts


Oh dear. It's getting so that I can't even think of post titles, let alone new and mildly interesting content.


Things continue on the same here, which is preferable and good. I admit to being fatigued sometimes because of keeping the craziest hours since the days of being the mother of a newborn (who will turn forty in six months!).


I should be making better use of my spare time at home, but I'm more often indulging in reading and watching Netflix and only occasionally doing something more constructive. Well, hopefully it's adding up even though done in fits and starts.

And I suppose if one keeps at those fits and starts, eventually one accomplishes what she has a mind to. Ah good. I don't feel so guilty now. Fits and starts to the rescue. :O)

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory,
are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory,
which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18


I hope you are having a scrumptious summertime. It's flying by, isn't it?!
Grateful for you,
Bess


Monday, July 6, 2015

Book Talk: The Bee Cottage Story


I had pre-ordered this bookand looked forward to it with great anticipation. Perhaps hard to believe, but I had never heard of Frances Schultz before this book began showing up in my Amazon emails of book recommendations. She writes (wrote?) for House Beautiful and Veranda, but about the only magazines I've read regularly in many years have been Victoria and The Cottage Journal, and I've been hit or miss for the last couple years with those.


The first part of the book is memoir, and the second half or more shares the decor and gardens of Bee Cottage in East Hampton, New York. I enjoy reading both memoirs and decorating books, so this was a fun read. Its only shortcoming is that I would have liked even more details in the memoir and more photos of room areas not shown in the decor section. But I guess that fits the old adage of "Leave them wanting more."  I recommend this sweet book, which I'll be reading again before too long.

Sorry for the dreary photos. It is a dark day here, but at least it is cool.

Enjoy your week!
Bess
PS: The link is an affiliate link. I profusely thank each and every one of you who enters Amazon through my blog.