Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Writing on the Wall

Up coming project to write a few quotes on a client's wall.

I bought a sample of the brand the client used to paint the walls.  Test of paint and brush size done on a roll of Kraft paper.

Latex paint is silky smooth. Uncial letters are 2 inches tall. First tried a 12 flat and then a 14 flat. Decided I like the 14 flat better.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Jury's Out

I've been called to jury duty. This is the third time I've been called. The last time, was 22 years ago when The Eldest was in kindergarten.  Here in Massachusetts, we serve one day or one trial.

Have you been called to jury duty? If so, were you seated on the jury? What was the trial?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Super Blood Moon Eclipse

Get outside tonight at approximately 9:07 PM EDT. to see the Super Blood Moon Eclipse.

What's that you ask? It's a fairly rare event. A super moon is a full moon that on its eliptical orbit passes closest to the Earth. When this happens, the full moon appears wicked huge and bright (well, 14% larger and 30% brighter).

But Blood Moon? The moon will appear red due to the sunlight that is bent through the Earth's atmosphere.

The next time this event will occur won't be until 2029

You can read a detailed explanation and check viewing times for your area Super Blood Moon Eclipse 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Had breakfast with The Eldest. We watched the final episode of the live action version of Death Note. We both agreed  the anime version was much better.

2. Found a new program to follow on Netflix. Cupcake Wars. Bakers compete for $10,000 and a chance to have their tasty creations showcased at a big event. Delicious and no calories!

3. Set a date with my friend, Red, for the annual trip to Old Mystic Village

4. Cleaned and organized the pantry. By the looks of the sell by date on the package of Ranch dressing, it was about time.

5. A few weeks ago, I tried a new (for me) sweetener I found at Target. Pure Via Vanilla Stevia. Comes in a small squirt bottle. Like the water enhancer bottles. No calories. No weird after taste and vanilla. Other people must have discovered it, too. When I went back to the store, no vanilla stevia. Other stores I shopped in didn't carry it. Yesterday, a quick stop at Target and they had 1/2 a dozen squirt bottles on the shelf. I bought 3. That will last a while. Happy Ceej!

How was your week?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Things to Look Forward To

39 days until Halloween

65 days until Thanksgiving and the stress of the holiday season.

94 days untl Christmas

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Enjoyed watching the Patriot's season opener with Himself from the comfort of the sun room.

2. My dad stopped by for a visit. For some reason, they were living some place in New York (Himself is going to be extremely unhappy if New York is Heaven and he has to like the Yankees). Dad complained he had washed the kitchen floor for Ma, and she was unhappy. (I never saw Dad wash the kitchen floor!)  Ma only had one way to do things right, her way. I think she made an appearance, too, and complained how the kitchen floor had not been washed the "right way". Some things never change. :-D

3. Still can't believe the personal help I received from Mr. C from MassDOT after the problem I had on the Mass Pike on Tuesday.

4. Art supplies arrived! New toys to play with and books to read.

5. I had a two cowboy hat first day of calligraphy class. Exciting to be able to share my art with students who are engaged and want to learn.

How was your week?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Customer Service: MassDOT

I have an appointment  at 1 PM in Wellesley so I hop on the Pike  (I-90, Massachusetts Turnpike) at Exit 10A and toodle East. It's a beautiful late Summer day, and I'm making good time.All is right in my world until I get off at Exit 13 and approach the toll plaza to pay my 90 cent toll at 12:50 PM

There are five lanes at the toll plaza. Lanes 1,3, and 5 are cash lanes. Lanes 2 and 4 are EZ-Pass lanes. EZ-Pass is an automated system that requires a transponder which will deduct the toll from your bank account. I don't have a transponder.

After the tollbooths, the road forks. I'm heading East so need the left fork. Usually after the rush hour, lane 1 is closed. So, I'm happily heading to lane 3. As I look up, I see all of the cash lanes are closed with the red signal light showing and a caution cone in the middle of the lane.

I utter some colorful phrases. You've got to be sitting on me, sunny beaches, flocking words, or phrases to that effect. See, I'm now forced into one of the automated toll taking lanes. Without a transponder, if I pass through the automated toll lane I don't pay my 90 cent toll, I get whacked with a $50 fine. I think it's a $50 fine. Doesn't matter how much, it's more than the 90 cent toll I have in my hot, little hand.  I have no choice. I can't stop before the tollbooths. There's traffic coming fast behind me. I have to go through. I cringed when I heard the you-didn't-pay-your-toll-buzzer, and I'm pissed.

I get to my destination, pull out my phone and tweet my ire:

@MassDOT TIA for fine. Cuz all cash lanes closed 12:50 pm exit 13 Natick MassPike couldn't pay toll.

I figured nothing would come of tweeting to a faceless, government authority, and if I did hear from them, I thought it would be along the lines of Too bad for you. You should have a transponder. After sending the Tweet into the ether I felt better. Shortly after, I see a reply. Somebody at MassDOT heard me. Knock me over with a feather! I was asked to send MassDOT a direct message with my contact information. And then, I get a phone call! From a real, live person!

He listened to my story, and since he was so nice, I refrained from the color language. He apologized. Was a fluke thing that happened. Toll collectors coming from break at the same time, He politely listened when I suggested that breaks be staggered. He then said, he was trying to catch the toll violation notice.before it got mailed out. If I receive it in the mail, he gave me his cellphone number to contact him!

Thank you Mr. C. Refreshing to know patrons can expect excellent customer service from a large, government entity.

If you have problems, reach out to MassDOT via Twitter. Someone is listening.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Paint Shop Pro X8

Sandra asked: Is Paint Shop Pro like Paint? And is it easy to use?

No, Paint Shop Pro, now in version 18, is a complete photo editing program. I like to think of it as a poor man's version of Photoshop.

You can enhance your digital images. Add filters, special effects, even virtual picture frames. I first started using this program about 8 years ago when the program PSP 7 was owned by Jasc Software. I used it to make signature tags when I belonged to a Western writers' board. At the time, its only use was for amusement.

Since then, Corel Software bought out Jasc, and PSP has become the most useful software program I own. I scan in my artwork and tweak the image. I've manipulated my artwork to create signatures, avatars, and have "framed" my artwork to be shown on my website. Artwork just looks better when it's framed.

These are things I had tried to do in Photoshop which had come bundled with my first scanner. I couldn't quite figure things out. Photoshop has a very long learning curve (at least for me) and a hefty price tag. (approx. $650) Definitely out of my price range.

At $99.99 Paint Shop Pro X8 is very affordable. I found the program to be more intuitive than Photoshop. I also like the fact that Corel allows a free 30 day trial. (I think Adobe also offers a free trial for their products, too.) Corel also offers an extensive Learning and Tutorial area on their website.

My advice? Give a try for the 30 day free trial period. If you like the program, you buy it. If not, you haven't lost anything.

Saturday, September 12, 2015


While participating in the 29 Faces challengeRobin from Pink House Studio created noses, eyes, and mouths .pdf you can print out and use to create faces.

I had fun manipulating and playing with the images in Paint Shop Pro. I used the rubber stamp tool to add the bee and to make the yarn hair.
I borrowed the 11th Doctor's fez, his jacket, and bowtie.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

 Five good things that happened this week.

1.  I was meeting a client at Panera, and somewhere I had lost my sunglasses. After the meeting, I traced steps, went into Panera. No glasses. Asked at the counter if anyone had turned in a pair of sunglasses. The manager went in the back and brought my glasses to me. Thank you to the kind person who found them and turned them in.

2. I ordered some gilding supplies and other toys. Counting the days until the package arrives.

3. Had some dental work done. Went back for a follow-up. Everything is healing nicely, and I didn't have a reaction to the antibiotic.

4. Went to see Robert (Be Still My Heart) Redford and Nick Nolte in A Walk in the Woods. Went with my friend, Teague. Was a really funny movie. Teague and I have known for decades Redford and Nolte would be great together. Go see this movie. You won't be disappointed.

5. Because Teague and I turned 60 this year, we also got to see the movie on Senior Wednesday. $6.50 for all shows at my local theater!  After the movie, we went to dinner at Uno's. Wednesday is Double Nickle day. 30% off your meal. You have to be 55 or older. Ask your server to sign you up. Not sure whether I really should be happy about being an elder, but it's nice to save some money.

How was your week?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Oh, K

The last of the projects completed during the art retreat. 23K gold, shell gold, gouache on Diploma Parchment. Its hard to see, but the shell gold bars are etched with a rope pattern.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Black and Gold

Second of the projects completed at the art retreat. The exercise was shading on shell gold with Burnt Sienna gouache. Photo doesnt really capture the drama of the gold leaf.

23K gold leaf and shell gold on Canson Mi Tientes.

Sunday, September 6, 2015


I was bored and played with the Bored Button.

And just in case you want to find out your Metric Birthday

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. I had a successful art retreat thanks to the patience of instructor, Valerie Weilmueunster. I completed three projects and started a fourth.

2. As much as I enjoyed a week at art camp, I was so happy to get home to my own, comfy Sleep Number bed. The beds at the retreat center leave a lot to be desired. I think the retreat center should purchase Sleep Number beds. Father T,  if you use my Sleep Number Customer Number, 27766127  to buy a bed, I'll earn rewards. Win-Win. Just saying. (-;

3. Had a dental procedure that went smoothly. Anethesia is a wonderful thing.

4. I haven't had a reaction to the antibiotic I was prescribed.

5. The weather is still hot and humid. I'm happy Summer is still hanging in there.

How was your week?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Throwback Thursday

Beginning Manuscript Illumination and Gilding, March 2015. Monogram unfinished.

Advanced Manuscript Illumination and Gilding, August 2015. Finished monogram

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Sacred Art at St. Michael's Instute, Ender's Island, Mystic, CT

After arriving on Sunday, finding our rooms, and unpacking, our week began with a meet and greet in the livingroom of the main house. Our instructor was Valerie Weilmuenster and Sister E. would fill the role of spiritual advisor. The class was Advanced Manuscript Illumination and Gilding.

Our days were nicely paced giving us time to feed body, mind, and soul. We met for a buffet breakfast, and Mass was said each morning at 9 AM for those who wanted to participate. Our hands were blessed on the first morning. After Mass, class met in the spacious classroom. Valerie had gilded gorgeous name tags for us. We took our name tags and staked out our work stations.

Each morning, we met in a circle at the back of the classroom or outside in a gazebo because the weather was too beautiful to stay indoors. Sister E. led us in meditation. Our topics for the week were beauty and the Spirit that moves us.

In the advanced class, we would work on our own projects with help and guidance from Valerie. Mornings were spent reviewing topics from the beginning class. On the first morning, we mixed a basic paint pallette in red, green, and blue and then mixed a dark, basic pallette in the same colors. On Tuesday we took sheets of 23K, loose leaf, gold, gum arabic, and a little water and ground shell gold (paint) in a time consuming but oh so worth it tradition. Valerie also showed us her layout and design process as she approached a project.

The class broke at noon for a buffet lunch and resumed at 1:30 PM. We worked on our projects until 5 PM and ended class with a meditation circle. After a sumptuous dinner and dessert, we could go back to the classroom and work until late in the evening. I never made it past 8 PM. I was pretty much done in and in bed by 9:30.

On Friday, since one of our classmates had to leave early, morning meditation included a blessing with oil by Sister E.