Friday, September 30, 2016

Embracing My Love of Pen & Ink

Let's go way back into the halls of a Junior High School in the wilds of Wyoming.  I took one art class in seventh, or maybe it was eighth grade.  One, yes just one.  I honestly can't tell you why I didn't do more as I went into High School, but I didn't, High School is where I fell in love with photography, a story for another day.  I doodled on the side always but found other ways to express my creativity and left drawing behind.

Fast forward to somewhere around two years ago, I picked up this book about zentangling.  I pulled out a sketch pad and dug out a few nice pens from my art stash, along with a fountain pen from Hubby's stash.  While I did do quite a bit of doodling and playing, but never really caught the zentangle fever.  The book ended up on a shelf in my studio.  I was never going to be a zentangle guru.  It did, however, inspire me to start drawing again.

The Porch Postscript - Embracing My Love of Pen & Ink
Playing with pattern ideas

The spark really began to glow when I created the "P" that I've used as a logo in some of my other ventures.   I drew a few things here and there, mostly pen and ink and mostly to pass time in front of the TV.  I drew a few monograms and some pieces for some special people in my life.  In spite of the fire I felt was starting, I still kept it under cover not wanting to put myself out there too far.

The Porch Postscript - Embracing My Love of Pen & Ink
The "P"

Jump to this last winter when I was listening to an episode of Adventures in Arting, I learned about something called InkTober.  Of course, I learned about it after the month of October was over, but it's been rolling around in my brain ever since.  If you don't know what InkTober is, it's a drawing challenge where you create an ink drawing every day for the month of October.  Pretty simple and straightforward, with no specifics beyond pen and ink.  

The Porch Postscript - Embracing My Love of Pen & Ink
The Paper Air Plane

With this desire to try InkTober this year, over the past month, maybe the month and a half, I've picked my pens back up and am getting myself back into the swing of drawing.  I've been posting a few things on my Instagram and Facebook pages with using the hashtag #justdrawdontjudge.  Just Draw Don't Judge is a serious reminder for me, to shut the internal critic up.  I have a talent, one that's all my own, and I want to use it.  To share it with the world and tie it into my everyday life.

The Porch Postscript - Embracing My Love of Pen & Ink
Work in progress

In sharing my creations over the past few weeks, I've been working more and more on opening myself up to sharing my creativity and art with others.  So much more rewarding than locking it up and holding it as my best-kept secret.  Dragging my drawing around with me is so much easier than packing any of my other creative projects around with me.  I have a pen and a small notebook in my bag all the time and I can always make a plan to take a sketchbook and pens with me whenever we take a gaunt somewhere.

The Porch Postscript - Embracing My Love of Pen & Ink
Sketching in the woods this Summer.

I splurged a couple of weeks ago and bought a few art supplies, including some watercolor postcards.  Love them!  You can find them here.  When the package came in the mail I couldn't wait to get home and play.  Work first, then play...sigh.

The Porch Postscript - Embracing My Love of Pen & Ink
My new supplies

Once I got to rip open my new pack of watercolor postcards I knew I had to add my favorite color medium distress inks, and I set about creating my first postcard.  Hand-lettering, inks, stamping, and embossing.  Good, now stretch my wings.

The Porch Postscript - Embracing My Love of Pen & Ink

The second creation, all pen and ink with distress ink background.  Love.  The beauty of creating these postcards is the ability to set them free almost immediately.  Both of these beauties have gone on to their new homes.

The Porch Postscript - Embracing My Love of Pen & Ink
The "B"

I really feel like I'm finding myself with each brave step I take toward living as an artist.  Yes, I said living as an artist, and those are big words for me.  I'm finding there are people in my life who've seen this part of me all along and support all that I am doing and the person I am embracing and growing into with my artwork.  Embracing my creativity is really helping me walk my own path, rather than struggling in a world that stifles me.  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Stories From Our Alaskan Life - The Power Outages

This week has been one power outage after another, literally, accompanied by a two-day windstorm that sounded like a runaway freight train.

Let's start with 11 pm Tuesday night.   The Hedy dog got us up to go potty, at which time we discovered the power was out.  Plan of action - let dogs out, set cell phone alarm.  No big deal.  Glad the Hedy got us up.

Fast forward to 5 am, still no power, really glad we set alarm on phone.  No power, no coffee for Hubby's drive to work.  No power, no morning computer time for me.  No power, no electric dog fence.  The largest problem of all - two cars stuck in the garage.  Yes, there is a manual release, but we aren't to that part of the story yet.  I convince Hubby it's not big deal, surely they will have the power on soon.  I tell him to just take the truck and get to work, so he isn't late.

The Porch Postscript - Stories From Our Alaskan Life - The Power Outages

Once Hubby left for work, I set about lighting one of our kerosene lamps and put the kettle on for a cup of somewhat instant coffee.  I say somewhat because they are coffee singles.  They look something like a tea bag, but instead of tea, it's coffee grounds.  I dig out my kindle, do a little reading and check my phone for updates on the power outage.  I learn that they've decided to delay the start to school to 10 am, if the power is back by 9 am, if not school will be closed for the day.  At this point I'm still not concerned, I don't have to be to work until 10 am and it's only 6:30 am.

Time progresses to 7 am and I decide to get dressed and see if  I can get the garage open.  At this point it dawns on me, I can make real coffee in my french press.  We ground coffee the night before and set the coffee pot on auto brew.  All I had to do was rob the coffee from the coffee maker, boil some water, and brew coffee.  Then onto the garage.  I told you we'd get to the manual release.  Pull handle and garage door will open.  Good in theory.  Perhaps, even good in practice, in most homes, just not in ours.  Pull handle, garage door only opens about 12 inches, then jams.  I fiddle and struggle, opening and closing door a few times, get frustrated and go back in the house.  I pour myself a cup of coffee and check my phone, at which point I realize the service I had a 5 am, has now gone to spotty hit and miss.  Fluctuating between "no service" and one bar with 3G.  Making it impossible to place a phone call, and creating a hit and miss situation with text messaging.  I decide I have got to get the garage door open and go out for a second try, to no avail.  We're now creeping up on the 8 am hour.

The prompt decision is made to go to the neighbor's house.  Love our neighbors, I'm always greeted with happy faces and a how can we help attitude in a crazy situation like this.  It's here that I learn the power has been out since about 9:15 pm the night before.  We are less than an hour from the mark of 12 hours without power.

After explaining all my trials and tribulations to the neighbors, the neighbor lady and I decide we'll go to town, hoping for better cell service.  We pull out of their garage and power comes back on for a split minute or two.  We decide that surely it will come right back after it flicks out again.  Back into the house, we go.  Standing in their living room I glance out their front window, only to see Hubby pulling into their driveway.  He had come home to get my car out of the garage, of which he was much more successful than I.  With all the intermittent cell service I never got the texts that he was on his way or that he was home.  Now, I can at least I could get myself to town and figure out what we'd be doing about the scheduled work meeting I had that day.

Pulling into city limits I saw multiple trees down, none affecting roads or power lines.  I pulled into the office parking lot and traipsed into my dark, creepy building.  Whatever did we do before there were flashlights on our phones?  Anyway, into my very dark office to make some calls.  Long story short, school confirmed as canceled and meeting canceled. We're now at the 9:15 am mark.

I made a short stop at a friends house on my way home and enjoyed a short visit.  Once back home, I settled into comfy clothes and a cup of tea.  Noon rolled around and still no power.  Very glad our kitchen stove is propane, I was able to reheat some lunch on the stove.  About now I notice that the house is starting to cool down, but I'm not overly concerned.  It's still 50 some degrees outside, nothing's going freeze, least of all me.  I curl up on the couch with the dogs and snuggle under a blanket.  I doze off, only to be woken with the beeping and humming of our house coming back to life, roughly 1 pm.

With the power came the internet,  I was now able to communicate with Hubby consistently, and let him know things were fine.  I cleaned up the kitchen, ran the dishwasher, put everything on chargers, and took a shower.  I didn't know what to expect, but I took full advantage of the situation, while the power was up and running.

The Porch Postscript - Stories From Our Alaskan Life - The Power Outages

Fast forward to 4:30 am this morning, power still on.  Short while later, Hubby wakes up and mumbles "the power's out again."  I quickly reach for my phone on the nightstand, it's 4:51 am.  I go put the kettle on while Hubby gets ready.  Today, at least I can think clearly and make coffee.  He makes lunch by flashlight and I get down the kerosene lamp again, at least there is no concern about wrestling the garage door.  They were left out the night before.  When Hubby heads to work, I set about enjoying a dimly lit morning of coffee, journaling, and Kindle reading.

The cell service is still intermittent, but texting seems to work sporadically.   Hubby called in the outage from work, they knew it was out and were working on it.  He also tells me that there is power in town.  This is better than yesterday's no-power-anywhere outage.  I got ready for work at 7 am, figuring there was no hope for a shower, and move on with the morning.  I settled in next to our big bay window, for a bit of writing, staring out at the grey morning sky.  Just a few minutes after 8 am our house hums back to life.

The Porch Postscript - Stories From Our Alaskan Life - The Power Outages

I made a pot of coffee, poured myself a cup, topped it with steamed almond milk.  Downstairs, I turn the lights on in the studio and set about writing this blog post.   Cell service is still a bit wonky, but I have internet and power.  As I sit here writing this, I'm hoping there will be no more outages, but I see the trees and bushes are still moving in the wind outside my studio window.  The joys of living in rural Alaska.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

10 Shots From My DSLR

Believe it or not, I do really use my DSLR camera, but not as often as I should.  For me it's about shooting with the best camera I have with me, which more often than not is my iPhone.  I do love my DSLR, but I've gotten out of the practice of carrying it daily.  Add in the factor of a 64 GB SD card, that I bought a few years back, and you don't have to download your shots very often.  This morning, after shooting a less than stellar pic of the moon, I decided I should really clear off the card - 216 photos, shot between January 2016 and today.  Here are a few of the shots I rediscovered.

Sunrise - 11:50 am - January 6, 2016

Sunrise - Alaska 2016
Hoarfrost - 1:44 pm - January 15, 2016

Hoarfrost - Alaska 2016
Fox Kits - 9:50 am - June 22, 2016

Fox Kits - Alaska 2016
Queen Anne's Lace - 1:52 pm -  July 1, 2016

Queen Anne's Lace - Alaska 2016
Moose Siblings - 11:22 am - July 15, 2016

Moose Siblings - Alaska 2016
Mushrooms in the Woods - 2:09 pm - August 6, 2016

Mushrooms in the Woods - Alaska 2016
Birch Lake - 2:47 pm - August 7, 2016

Birch Lake - Alaska 2016
Fall Bridge - 12:14 pm - August 28, 2016

Fall Bridge - Alaska 2016
Spruce Grouse - 1:39 pm - September 3, 2016

Spruce Grouse - Alaska 2016
Morning Moon - 5:50 am - September 17, 2016

Morning Moon - Alaska 2016

These are just a few of the shots from my card.  All shots are unedited, and not all of them are as amazing as I wish they were.  To be honest, my DSLR shooting skills are rusty and need to be well oiled, but that doesn't stop me from taking pics and sharing them.  Much like writing, photography is a craft, when left unattended the skills may get a little wayward and might need rounded-up and re-honed.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I Want To...

Live by the water.  Any water really.  I grew up with the Laramie River in my backyard.  The water talks to my soul.  I love clear, crisp streams, rivers and lakes.  Don't even get me started on my love of the ocean.  Waves crashing on the shore is music to my heart.  Water brings so much peace to this extroverted-introvert.  It recharges my spirit.

The Porch Postscript - I Want To
Clearwater River - Delta Junction, AK

Travel more.  We've talked about wanderlust, and I'm guessing now that I have it, it's never going away.  I have the big travel dreams of Europe and Italy, but there's so much of the United States I long to see.  Besides,  if I don't travel how will I ever find the right house by the water?

The Porch Postscript - I Want To
Ali'i Drive - Kailua-Kona, HI

Stop fearing my passion for creativity.  Oh, this is big.  Maybe a little too deep?  Just go with me here.  I've spent the last few years finding my way and learning to say things like "I'm an artist," but I'm still stumbling around with my own self-doubt.  I have a strong desire to draw more and find myself wishing I'd taken more art classes in high school.  I keep reminding myself - Just draw, don't judge.  Hence the desire to draw every day in October and take part in InkTober.

The Porch Postscript - I Want To
Pen & Ink Play - October 2015

Write more.  Daily journaling has made such an impact in my everyday life.  I spend less time chasing my thoughts everywhere.  I track my daily habits and jot down quotes.  I'm re-examining the idea of Morning Pages and reading other blogs about keeping a Morning Pages journal.  Mine just might become an evening pages journal, a place to purge my brain of all the day's input.  We all find a way to adapt journaling to our own needs and style.  There is no wrong way to journal.

The Porch Postscript - I Want To
Journaling & Coffee - December 2015

Writing more is also needed to develop my craft of writing and in turn, make me a better writer.  Which, I hope, will lead to better blog posts for you to read.  In writing this blog, my intent was to create a space for a writing outlet.  What better way to use this outlet then to develop a better writing style and to grow my writing craft.  I've always been a writer, but I've often kept it tucked away.  It's time to put it out there and stop locking it in a drawer.

The Porch Postscript - I Want To
Journaling & Coffee - September 2015

Embracing it all,  Opening myself up to what's possible.  Spending less time with self-doubt.  Caring less about what others might think.  Walking away from drama and toxic people.  Focusing on what makes me stronger and brings me more joy.  What do you want?  How are you going to get there?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Life Snapshots September 2016

Fall Leaves, before the wind blew them off the trees this past weekend.  There's something about the blue in the sky that changes when fall comes, it's darker or deeper.

The Porch Postscript - Life Snapshots Week 6

From our last picnic of the season during Memorial Day weekend.  Nothing better than sketching outside.  

The Porch Postscript - Life Snapshots Week 6

Flip-flops and Capris in the Fall leaves.  The season for bare toes is definitely coming to a sudden close.  It was 32 degrees yesterday morning.

The Porch Postscript - Life Snapshots Week 6

It rained several days last week, causing the leaves to stick to my windshield.

The Porch Postscript - Life Snapshots Week 6

Zucchini muffin love.  I used this recipe and it's a keeper.  It took me years to find a zucchini bread recipe to love.  I subbed in mini chocolate chips for the nuts.

The Porch Postscript - Life Snapshots Week 6

Made this crazy delicious salad Friday night for dinner.  I'd never put grilled potatoes in a salad, great game changer.  I love the added depth of flavor.

The Porch Postscript - Life Snapshots Week 6

This crazy baby thinks her feet are cold, so she tucked them under the radiator in my studio and settled in for a morning nap.

The Porch Postscript - Life Snapshots Week 6

The last of our garden bounty.  Love growing our own spuds.  These are Yukon Golds this year.  

The Porch Postscript - Life Snapshots Week 6

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


  1. a strong desire to travel.

Just the other day Hubby and I were talking about this article from She Explores. The photos in the article made me homesick for Wyoming, the state where I spent the first 29 years of my life. I miss the varied landscape, from the mountains to the prairie to the plains to the desert. I miss the clear lakes, streams, and rivers.  I miss the openness of it all.  As I was explaining what I missed about Wyoming, Hubby just smiled. Not because I was mildly homesick, but because he knew exactly what was really causing these feelings. He took the opportunity to point out that I have wanderlust, something I didn't know I had until I met him and we started moving around the country. Well played Hubby...Well played.

The Porch Postscript - Wanderlust
Lake Marie - Snowy Range, Wyoming

The Porch Postscript - Wanderlust
Aspen Alley - Battle Mountain, Wyoming

He is of course spot on the money. I do have wanderlust, and over the last two years, it's only gotten more intense. For the first time in our married lives we're financially able to enjoy traveling and yet, we live in the middle of nowhere in a state that's isolated from the rest of the US. For those of you not familiar with the Interior of Alaska, it's a long drive to anywhere. We live in a state that has very few roads, it's two hours to the next closest town in either direction and five to seven hours to the coast.
The Porch Postscript - Wanderlust
Alaska Pipeline Crossing the Tanana River - Big Delta, Alaska

They tell you Alaska is beautiful and vast, will glaciers and wildlife and rocky shores. What they don't tell you is most of those beautiful photos in the ads are from somewhere along the coast between Valdez and Anchorage. The interior is trees, farmland and more trees.   Did I mention trees?  Most of the rivers and streams are murky, running with glacier silt, think muddy water running in a creek after a hard rain.  There are beautiful areas of the Interior, but so much of it is roads lined with trees.  The interior of Alaska is an outdoorsman's paradise. Plenty of places for hiking, backpacking, hunting, fishing and the like. If you have an ATV you can easily navigate the world of trails and two-tracks into the brush and trees.  If you have a boat, you'll enjoy miles of rivers into the wilderness.  Alaska is beautiful and many, many people love it here, but for me, I'm ready for a change of scenery.  
The Porch Postscript - Wanderlust
Clearwater River - Delta Junction, Alaska

The Porch Postscript - Wanderlust
Richardson Highway - Interior Alaska

So back to this wanderlust business.  Hubby is one hundred percent correct.  Over the past six months, I've also been reading about travel and listening to travel podcasts.  I've resubscribed to Sunset Magazine.  I've been looking deep into our budget, seeking out ways to increase our ability to travel more than once a year.  Wanderlust.  Yes.  Please.

We spent a bit of time checking out some campgrounds this past weekend, taking picnics and hanging out for the day.  Enjoyable?  Yes.  The cure for the desire to travel?  No.  On our drive back home from one of these day trips Hubby and I talked about living here.  He brought up the way the wind had a stifling effect on pioneers when they moved to Wyoming.  He added that he'd read that the trees in the Ohio Indiana area had a similar stifling effect on new settlers.  This was my turn to grin.  I told him that this is exactly how I feel about where we live.  Trees everywhere, all the time and we won't talk about the Alaskan wind.  And yes, it's stifling.  Or is it just wanderlust?