Monday, June 21, 2021

Where did April & May go?

Whoops, I missed making a blog post for April...and May.

And the months seem to have flown by without my noticing.

So what have I been up to? The usual, I guess. Work has gotten busier, and I've ended up doing a couple of extra shifts on my would-be days off. Can't complain about that, but it also means I won't be able to do my usual day-off stuff. Like go for a walk, or even contemplate painting.

My donation is finally set up and will head out the door tomorrow. Nice to see a painting heading off to a good cause. I don't have a photo easily at hand right now but it was one of my phoenix paintings. Hope it generates a good amount of funds for the organization. 😊

Also been hiking on my days off. We went to the birding area near Tofield but was too early to see Snow Geese. Also visited Islet Lake in Cooking Lake Provincial park, which was also too early to see much sprouting, but I made a video featuring the butterflies we spotted.

Kind of a fun video.

In my art-world, I've been frustrated as its been several months since I've even picked up a paintbrush. Just not feeling any motivation lately, and I don't want to just waste time. And paint. And materials. The current lack of sales doesn't help, either. I think the last thing I painted was of a loon. I think it looks ok, but maybe a bit lacking in the overall impact.

Anyhow, I guess until the creative urges come back I'll just keep doing what I'm doing - earning a living at my day-job and keeping my happiness by spending time in nature.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Loss of focus? I shouldn't be so hard on myself.

 Been noticing that it's been a long time since I last painted or created any sort of artwork.

In spite of that, I had two recent sales, which made me feel better. And yet, I still don't feel like painting.

I feel like my energy recently has been put into making YouTube videos. I've been finding it fun and a good way of sharing my love of nature and meeting other YouTubers around the world and checking out their videos.

I also have a stack of picture frames sitting on my desk which I rescued from work. With the upcoming renovations we've been clearing out a lot of old paperwork and clutter.

And I spotted three never-used picture frames sitting around. Glad to have them, but they're a bit of a unbecoming color as they're this sort of grey-ish brown that I wouldn't want to hang up.

Maybe I'll paint them.

The photo does them justice. The color doesn't look that bad.

But there is a big scratch on the one without any protection, so maybe that one I will paint up.

Going to add in my second-most recent video. I was a little disappointed with the view count as I put a lot of work into making it, of course. But it's informational. Lots of pretty photos of bugs and mushrooms and stuff we saw. So maybe people in the Edmonton area will watch it when they consider hiking at Bunchberry Meadows.

I even did research for that one, looking up plant names and bug names, especially since I couldn't find some of them in my guidebooks.

Still, it was fun.

Glad I have this weekend off. This is my day 8 of straight working. I am feeling a bit tired, but happy as one of those days I got to work at my old store in Wetaskiwin. It was nice seeing my former coworkers, and some customers that remembered me. Also had a nice walk in Wetaskiwin at their By-The-Lake Park. I should be able to make another video from the footage in that walk.

If I do make a video, I'll try to post it here.


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Life is not a static thing, neither is a blog. Kintsugi project to fix broken pottery

Not sure if you're a regular of this blog, or if you've binge-read a whole bunch of posts. But I've been looking through my old posts and fleshing out the stories within them, and adding updates, photos, and videos that I've created that fit along with the blog page themes.

So, if you have read the blog a long time ago, you might be interested to go re-visit some of the old pages. Think of it like a virtual Easter egg hunt. Except without chocolate.

A few years ago I traveled with my sister to Mexico for a week. We had a great time, and I bought a couple of pottery bowls. Unfortunately when I got home, one of the bowls had shattered into a number of pieces.

Upset, but not deterred, I decided to fix the bowl. I read online about kintsugi, the Japanese method of fixing broken pottery to make it useable again, and creating more of a one of a kind piece than before. The word translates to "golden joinery." I think they use nails to actually fix the pieces together and real gold, but I didn't want to try anything that detailed.

The neat thing about kintsugi is that it sometimes is considered a bit fashionable, and I read about some people/potters that would purposely break their pieces just to fix them and create a unique piece.

So, I bought some good glue, and gold paint. Not real gold paint, and it's probably not food safe, but I used it anyway. I decided I would not put the bowl in the dishwasher and it would be used more as a decoration.

I started by gluing the pieces together, and then adding the paint to finish sealing the pieces and fill in the gaps where the pottery had turned to dust.

Piece by piece, the bowl came back into shape. I was pleased with the final result, as it has a handmade look mixed with the handmade painting. A bit rough, but I wanted it like that.

It's now a cool decoration in the living room, and I use it for chips and other non-liquid foods. The other bowl is still intact, and is one of my favourite bowls for making my morning oatmeal with.

After finishing, I also ended up making another small fix on a small Japanese cup decorated with a cherry blossom that I had inherited from a friend a long time ago. The handle had broken off, and so I glued that back on. It turned out pretty good.

You never know what you can do until you try.

What do you think? Have you used kintsugi to fix a broken item? Would you try to do it, too?

Saturday, February 6, 2021

February! Hand feeding Wild Birds & A Poor Left out Squirrel

Wow, it's February already!

Time really flies when you're not doing much outside of working and living a simple homelife.

Not that there's anything wrong with it. I still have a strong desire to go traveling somewhere. Lyndon and I have been watching a lot of documentaries and shows featuring places around the world. Like the Scottish comedian Susan Calman and her series where she travels around Scotland (Secret Scotland). She really cheers me up, and cracks me up with her endless enthusiasm. I started following her on Instagram and Twitter for that reason.

I've also been going for walks regularly as I can. Some news in my life - I've finally managed to hand-feed wild birds. Something that I've always wanted to do, but either never got around to it, or just don't have the patience to do. As a child I remember feeding seagulls in the front yard by chucking out pieces of torn up bread. Sometimes I wouldn't have the patience to wait, and left the bread pieces on the lawn unattended, only to be told later that the seagulls showed up and ate them all. Sheesh.

But it always seemed like something that I could do, but just had to plan for. Bring the seed, make sure you're ready, and have the time to wait for birds to show up. A few pointers for those who haven't done it, it took a few tries before the birds either got used to me or realized that I wasn't a danger to them. I also avoided looking right at them, but more of peripherally watched them at first just so they wouldn't freak out at having this bug-eyed human with those giant things on her face that make its eyes even bigger and scarier. Having the seed in hand and ready to go really helped too.

Anyway, I made a few videos of my experience.

That was my first attempt. The next couple of times things got easier, and the chickadees seem to recognize me now. Maybe it helps I'm wearing the same clothes? I'm not sure. Same walking poles for sure, so they can hear my poles squeaking in the snow.

I made this video as well, as a humorous observation of the squirrel, which was not really my target animal to feed, but obviously wanted some food, too. I found it interesting the chickadees really wanted him to go away, because as soon as he started to eat, they started to alarm call. I'm not sure if they were alarm calling for it, or the two people who were walking by the lookout point, or alarm calling for me. Either way, the squirrel eventually left, and the birds managed to finish eating.

The other hilarious thing was that I ended up feeling bad for the squirrel being kind of left out, and then ousted on top of that by the chickadees. When I walked back to head home, I stopped by the feeding station again, and this time left two almonds that I carry around in case I get hungry on my walks. I figured the chickadees are too small, they wouldn't try to eat the almonds and the squirrel can have a decent snack. As I started to walk away, I glanced back and saw one chickadee land and pluck up one almond and fly off, and a second later a second chickadee landed and picked up the other. Ah well, it's just fate then.

Can't wait to see what happens on my future adventures feeding the birds.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

2021...some reminiscing to start it off about Safaris in Tanzania

I imagine most people are hopeful that 2021 will be a better year. I am too. Supposedly the vaccines are on their way, and people in high risk places are getting vaccinated. That's a good thing. I am looking forward to when my turn finally comes around.

Like most people, I haven't been traveling since all the travel restrictions and lock-downs have occurred. I am grateful that the majority of my life hasn't really been affected. We don't really go out that much, but I miss going out for a nice meal once in a while. And I can still get out and go for walks, which is a nice bonus. I also miss being able to travel. We talk about where we're going to go first when we can travel again. After visiting family back in Manitoba, of course. And it'll be a while before I feel comfortable flying on a plane.

Hard to believe it's been almost a year since I was in Tanzania with my sister. We went there to participate in a medical mission in a rural area. It was great. I made sure we got there with a few days extra to go on a safari of some of the popular parks. I also really wanted to visit Ngorongoro Crater, where you can see just about every African animal you would want to see.

I also made a few videos of our tour:

Ngorongoro Crater

My sister and really enjoyed watching a wildebeest giving birth. I couldn't get good footage of it, but it was pretty amazing. Our guide was patient enough to wait until the calf got up on its own feet, ready to face the world.

We also saw three rhinos, which was pretty amazing. And we got caught in a rainstorm. Some of the tracks were pretty muddy, and our driver used his vehicle to help push a stuck vehicle out. The drivers really impressed me with how skilled they are at driving in difficult terrain.

Lake Manyara

We never spotted any of the famous tree-climbing lions, but we saw lots of elephants, giraffe, and baboons.

Tarangire National Park

I remember getting eaten alive by the tsetse flies! Make sure you bring bug spray if you visit. As far as I know the ones here don't carry sleeping sickness. I really enjoyed spotting a Secretary bird striding through the tall grass, looking for snakes to eat. And part of my lunch was stolen by a sneaky monkey! My sister bashed it in the face with her lunch box!

If you get a chance to go, I highly recommend taking a few days to tour the parks. You're pretty much guaranteed to see something neat!

While we were on the medical mission, we also toured the nearby village of Terrat and surrounding areas. Like in much of rural Tanzania and Africa, it's common to see people herding their livestock down the roads. I managed to capture this close encounter with cattle and sheep and goats.

Hope you liked the videos! If you have any questions about what the medical mission was like I would be glad to share more info - leave a comment.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

December - Zoominescence & Cat Tricks

Hello again everyone. Hope you're doing well, wherever you might be.

Things are continuing to chug along. We're almost halfway into December, and the holiday season is nearly upon us. I am looking forward to having a few extra days off, and the chance to do some winter activities.

A few years ago my husband and I went to Zoominescence. I finally made a video with the footage, which you can watch here: 

I love that carousel. I might request to go see Zoominescence for this holiday season just to see it again. 😊

I'm also working on another video, finally, one of my cat, Maho, and focusing on the tricks I taught him to do. It was several years ago that I actually trained him, but either because he was quite young or just persistence, he picked up the tricks quite quickly and has never forgotten them. When I have it done I'll post it in a page on my blog too. Hopefully sometime over the holidays.

Well, I'm going to work now! Have a nice day.

Monday, November 23, 2020

2020...Coyote encounters

So, life has been carrying on. It's been a few years regrettably since I last posted.

I've been doing well. Hope you have been also. I'm still painting, and still add things into my website occasionally. It's a lot of work, especially trying to get the images to line up and ensuring all the buttons work. My website. This year of course has been bad for my art sales, but good in the sense that I have more time to paint. I am grateful for my day job which keeps me going in life.

I've also been posting onto YouTube regularly. My page is here: My YouTube page. My husband and I have been going for walks in our local ravine, as well as touring the nearby countryside and finding nice nature places to hike. Check it out. I make clips of various things that I think are worthy of sharing, like this video I uploaded today of a coyote barking and howling.

Well, I think that's all I have to say. Please stay safe out there!

Update: I had another coyote encounter the next day which I also made a video of.

It was a very cool moment which I won't forget for a long time.