365 Days of Art – New Books

….the last two days have been very busy

Days 13 and 14 are still brewing in my head. I haven’t yet learned to just grab my sketch book and draw whenever I have a spare moment or two. Today and part of yesterday I cleared away some of the Christmas ornaments and tidied up the house for my sister’s visit today. The unfortunate part was that I only spent about 20 minutes with her before my husband and I had to run off to attend a funeral out of town. I didn’t want her not to come because she had cancelled so many times since Christmas because of bad weather and I didn’t want my father to be disappointed if they cancelled again. When we got back from the funeral my father talked at length about the nice visit he had with my sister and her family. He took them all out for lunch before they had to head back home.

The funeral was out of town for a family member on my husband’s side. We’re glad we went. The service was pretty long but it was clear that our cousin’s husband was dearly loved. Afterwards it was nice catching up with some of the other cousins and promising that we would have a family reunion in the near future that wasn’t at a funeral parlour. Most of the day was spent driving to and from the funeral and spending four more hours at the memorial service.

Just before we left a parcel arrived at my door. On Friday I ordered two art books that were recommended by Evelyn Flint on her blog. Jill Kuhn also used the collage book and recommended doing the 50 collages challenge. The first book is called The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman and the second one is Atmospheric Watercolour by Jean Haines. I’m looking forward to reading both books and am very excited about making more watercolour art. Stay tuned for more 365 Days of Art. img_0502.jpg

New Baby, an Anniversary, a Book Launch and a Pedicure with Dad

….what an exciting week

My middle sister became a grandmother for the first time. Her daughter had a little baby boy on August 15th. Mom, Dad and Baby Jale (pronounce Jah-lay) are all doing well. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we’ll make the four hour drive to the farm to welcome the new little guy into our family.

On the 16th my husband and I celebrated our 42nd anniversary. We opted to celebrate with a special lunch. Being on a Wednesday we didn’t think that we’d need reservations but when we got to our first choice we couldn’t even find a place to park. We quickly decided to go to our second pick which was closer to home and luckily it wasn’t busy. We love this restaurant, Pulcinella, and the only reason it wasn’t our first choice was because we wanted something other than Italian food. In the end we decided that it was the perfect choice. We had wonderful service and the food was amazing.

The next day, quite by accident I discovered that a friend from long ago had written a book about the CNE and she was having a book launch in a bar just up the street from where I live. I was walking the dog at the time so I couldn’t go inside but I went home, dropped off the dog, grabbed my wallet and walked back up the street to support Lee. It was nice meeting some people that I had lost contact with and meeting some new people. One of the people that I met was a former editor of Canadian Living magazine. I knew of her and where she lived which surprised her. In the end we exchanged phone numbers and addresses and I should be getting a call in November to help with make-up for the Lakeshore Santa Claus parade. I guess this is how it starts. When people know you’re retired they quickly recruit you to do volunteer work.

Earlier that day Dad and I went to my favourite salon for nails and we both had pedicures done. It’s very interesting sitting next to your ninety year old father while having your feet worked on.  The owner of the salon worked on Dad and she was wonderful with him but we couldn’t convince him to paint his nails purple. Of course we were only teasing him. He laughed but firmly said no to colour.

Making Journals with Kids

….I’ve always wanted to try this technique of making an art journal from one sheet of watercolour paper

As many of you know I run a book club at my school that runs for about 5 months. The books that we read all come from the Forest of Reading program which feature Canadian authors. There are different books for different levels of readers. Each program is named after a tree. For example, the primary English picture books are called Blue Spruce and the books for the junior grades are named Silver Birch.

I usually start with over 100 readers from grades 3 to 5. Each student is given a passport and each time they finish reading a book they fill in the passport with a summary of the book. They then go to the expert reader (a teacher or grade 5 student) and are questioned about that particular book. Each time they answer the questions successfully they receive a credit or two, depending on the length and difficulty of the book. This year they were given the goal of obtaining a minimum of 12 credits in order to participate in the year end celebration.

It is a very doable goal, but some students became frustrated when the book they wanted to read had been checked out. There were 120 copies of the English books and 60 copies of the French books. In the end 34 students reached the goal and one student managed to read every single book. There were exactly 50 titles to choose from. This was a record for the book club.

For our celebration we organized two activities for the students. The first activity was a drama workshop that featured one of the Silver Birch books. It was run by our dynamic drama teacher.

After that we were fortunate enough to book an author who had written one of this years non-fiction entries. Caroline Fernandez wrote Boredom Busters and talked to the children about the steps one has to go through to publish a book. The fact that amazed all of us was that for an $18.00 book the author received only 87 cents. Her presentation was very interesting and she loved the the fact that some of the students in the room had made some of the crafts from her book. 9781782491057_z

At lunch we invited the expert readers to come and join us for lunch. We ordered pizza and had juice and popsicles.

After lunch I taught the students how to make an art journal using one sheet of watercolour paper. The trickiest part was folding the paper so two of my colleagues who helped me with organizing the day pre-folded the paper. We only made the first two folds because the size of the paper was a little too large for small hands to manage but the students made the remaining folds. Then the paper was cut in three places and the folding began.

Each student was given two pieces of cardboard that they could decorate any way they wanted. I provided them with scrapbook paper, stickers, stamps, collage papers, letters, and markers and pencils. Once the covers were decorated the end papers of the folded journal were glued to the covers. Each student was also given one or two colourful elastics to hold their journals shut.

The students had a wonderful time making their personal journals and some of them started to draw and paint in them as soon as they were finished. Here are a few of the finished projects. If you would like to try making one of these journals watch the video following the picture gallery.

Here is video for making the journals:

Making a simple journal

 

Happy Birthday, Valentine’s Day and Family Day

….for my friend Maria all the good stuff comes together in less than a week

This week my friend Maria celebrated her birthday and was finally well enough to have company. She recently had her hip replaced (her second one) and didn’t recover as quickly as with the first one; however, this week she was finally receiving visitors. In honour of her birthday I decided to bake her some cookies and bought her a nice new mug, some tea and candy. I also collected some of my favourite novels that I’ve read in the past year or so and put them in a bag for her to pull out and read at her leisure.

Over at Life in Between my blogging friend, Jodi posted a wonderful recipe for Amish Oatmeal Raisin cookies and I was very eager to try it. The instructions were easy to follow and the recipe made  four dozen very large cookies. My husband loves oatmeal raisin cookies and the only fault he found with these was that there weren’t enough raisins. Easy solution; just add more next time. I, however, found the amount to be perfect. This recipe is a little different from most oatmeal cookies because it has molasses in it and that’s why the colour is darker.

I packed a dozen cookies into a small disposable loaf pan and placed it inside a special translucent bag with hearts on the outside. I then placed them into a square basket that I had purchased and placed the other items (tea, mug, candy) next to the bag.

Before making my way to Maria’s house I decided to make her a card. I took some watercolour paper and watercolour markers and created a simple design to acknowledge her birthday, St. Valentine’s Day, Family Day and a speedy recovery.

In the end I had a very nice visit with my good friend. Her husband spoiled us with wine to start, a plate of cheese and then before I left he made us tea and we enjoyed some of the cookies that I had baked.

If the cookies interest you be sure to check out Jodi’s recipe over at Life in Between.

Cheers and have a wonder Valentine’s Day!

A Bit of Cleaning, Some Reading, Making Bean Soup and Visiting Friends

….Monday, July 6, 2015

People often wonder what I do at the cottage all day, especially when I’m up here alone. Well there’s lots to do but no pressure as to when I do it. I like that.

Instead of spending two days of solid cleaning when I first open the cottage I like to spread it out and do a little bit every day. I take care of the absolute essentials when I first arrive, like fill up the water barrel, start the fridge, make the bed, uncover the furniture and wipe down all the surfaces that I’ll be using right away.

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On subsequent days, I’ve washed all the dishes, even though they were clean when I left in October, wiped out the cupboards and restocked them and organized my clothes and put them back into the dresser. All of this is necessary because at some point in the months when we’re away a few rodents manage to find their way into the cottage, looking for warmth, food and shelter. Unfortunately for some of them they don’t survive and I usually find a few carcasses lying about and of course evidence that they’ve been around. Luckily this year the evidence has been minimal and a few of them had drowned in a bucket of water that was inside the cottage.

One of my goals this summer is to finish reading the books that I started this year and then didn’t finish before I picked up another to read. I’m happy to report that I’ve finished two of them and am concurrently reading two more. I also started a new book and I finished that as well. I think I will report on those books in a future post.

Another goal is to do a little bit of art everyday or at least a couple of times a week. I completed one art assignment this week and I started sketching in my art journal. Another goal well on it’s way!

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I didn’t bring up a lot of food on this visit but enough to get me through the week. When I was cleaning out the cupboards I noticed that I had left a container of dried beans here over the winter. I decided to make soup from scratch. I turned on the side burner on the BBQ and cooked onions, celery and carrots in a large soup pot. I added a chopped clove of garlic and then 4 cups of broth, 2 cups of water, a tin of diced tomatoes and 1 cup of dried beans. I added salt and pepper to taste and then I let it cook for 2 hours. After the two hours I looked in the fridge to see what else I could add and I found some chick peas, cooked hamburger and fresh mushrooms. I chopped up the burgers and the mushrooms and added everything to the pot. I let it cook for a few more minutes and dinner was ready. I grated in some fresh parmesan cheese. Delicious!

Of course I had way more soup than I could eat so I put the rest into container and froze it for future meals and I kept some in the fridge for another dinner this week.

While I was cooking I got a phone call from a friend who has a cottage four roads over from mine. She invited me to come to her place for a chat, a glass of wine and to see the finished renovations on her cottage. The soup had pretty much finished cooking, so I turned it off and walked over (1500 steps). The cottage looked fantastic and since we hadn’t seen each other since January we had a nice long gab and got caught up on each other’s lives.

When I finally left it was going on 8:00 and I ended up having a late dinner. The nice part was that it was already cooked, I just had to reheat it. Even though it was getting dark I ventured down to the beach for one last walk and just managed to get in my 10,000 steps for the day. I did decide though that leaving my walk for that late wasn’t the best decision because the mosquitoes also come out at that time. Note to self, walk before the sun sets.

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So that’s my day in a nutshell. Everyday I read a little, do art a little, cook, clean and visit friends, either in person or on the phone. I hope all of you enjoy your days as much as I do. Cheers!

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