Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Life Snapshots November 2016

Good Morning,

Are you ready for your day?  Did you start with a glass of water?  Have you had your coffee?  What about breakfast?

I don't know if I'm ready for my day just yet.  I did start with a big glass of water and enjoyed a smoothie for breakfast.  I'm enjoying my third cup of coffee as I write this.  Yes.  I said third.  There's something about hot coffee on a cold morning.  It's 26 below again this morning.

We had a bit of snow last night.  It's the dry, fine powdery snow.  The kind that blows away the minute the wind comes up.  We need a good, heavy, wet snow to insulate the ground and provide moisture.  It's been pretty dry in this neck of the woods.

What are you reading?  I'm trying to finish Lady at the OK Corral: The True Story of Josephine Marcus Earp.  It's not a bad book, it's just that I keep picturing the cast from Tombstone while I read.  I've seen the movie a dozen or more times.   Don't judge.  It's one of my favorites.  There're some great one-liners.  One that pops up in our house all the time - "I'm your huckleberry."  Back to the book.  This is an interesting read painting a more vivid picture of the wilds of Tombstone.  lending more insight into the corruption of the wild west and the hardships of life there.  I'm a little more than halfway through, hoping to finish the book by the end of the week if I stick with nightly reading.

Not gonna lie, I'm not excited about venturing out into the cold today.  It's not cold enough to close anything, but still not a fan of the weather.  Wearing long underwear daily.  Bundling up to battle the chill.  Searching for gloves that are just right.  Yes, I'm that girl.  This pair's too thin, this one too thick.  I have yet to find just right.

Well, the coffee cup is almost empty, must be time to end this.  Enjoy your Wednesday.  Stay warm if you're in the frozen tundra like me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

26 Below Zero

It's 26 below zero today.  Winter has finally made it's way to Alaska.  We've seen it colder many times, but it's always a shell shocker when the mercury drops this low.

We have a slight ground covering of snow, not more than an inch or two.  It's a fine powder and will be gone as soon as the wind brings the temperatures back up.  That's how the winters are here.  You wish for something above zero on the thermometer, you'll be wishing for the wind as well.  Most of us will accept the super cold to avoid the howling winds.

The light is sitting around the five-hour mark.  What I mean is we currently have about five hours of daylight.  The sun rises at about 9am and sets around 4pm.  I could live here for 20 years and never really adjust to the dramatic changes in weather and light this time of year.  Since I am neither a fan of the cold nor the dark, winter in Alaska is a bit of a struggle.

It's that time of year where we put boots on our littlest dog.  She's tougher than she was when we moved here, but anything colder than -10 and she attempts to squat on one leg.  It's sad, pathetic, and funny all at the same time.  Matilda loves her pink boots.  Never a struggle to put them on, she just knows it's cold and boots mean she can go out without struggling to keep her feet off the ground.

Before you ask, no it's not cold enough to shut things down. The school day isn't canceled until the temp hits -50.  Yes, it can get that cold here.  The city offices close at -40, as does the public library.  So, even though it's -26 this morning, there will still be school, I'll still go to work, and people will think nothing about going on about their daily lives.

How's the weather in your part of the world?  Do you live where it's cold and snowy? Or there a tropical breeze blowing?  Is there sun and warmth? Or are you in the middle somewhere?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Midori Traveler's Notebook

Last night I set my Midori up with its 6th journal insert.  I've been using a Midori Traveler's Notebook for nearly a year, and it goes everywhere with me.  I thought I'd share what my setup currently looks like.

The exterior is starting to show some lovely scuffing and wear marks.  I've added three charms to my elastic closer and beads were added to the bookmark you see peeking out the bottom.  The happy binder clip serves to hold my pen.

The first thing inside is the handmade Midori folder, I created last weekend.  In my setup, it hugs an insert.

Inside the folder are a few samples of washi tape and a couple of extra paper clips.  The right side is a generic insert that I picked up at Michaels a while back.  This insert is the one I did some of my InkTober pen and ink in.

This is the back of my folder, the inside pocket is currently empty.  The other side is the grid insert from Traveler's Notebook.  This is the insert you see in many of my daily journal pics on  Facebook.

Back cover of the grid inserts, and pockets of the zipper pouch.  I've got my travel journal prompts tucked in here and my 10th-anniversary writing board.

At the back is my third insert, it's the lined insert and the other half of my zipper pouch that includes my stamps.

Pretty simple set up.  Nothing fancy, no fancy scrapbooking going on, just my daily writing and a space for pen and ink sketching.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Jefferson School

Jefferson School - Missouri ( 28 July 2008)
It’s vacant now; the school at the corner of Franklin and Orchard streets, but that morning as I stood, on what remained of the playground, the laughter of school days gone by could almost be heard.

The blacktop has faded and the markings for hopscotch have paled with the sun, but the L shaped red brick building stands silent and alone. Of what once was a pair of swing sets, only poles remain, the framework from which swings once hung. Were the swings removed for safety or stolen by vandals, I do not know, but I can tell you no children play there now.

Jefferson School - Missouri (28 July 2008)

There is a chain looped through door handles, of a double door, on the south side of the school, locked by padlock. Signs remain telling visitors to STOP, Teachers lounge, go to the main entrance. Many window panes bare the scars of a vandal’s rock thrown. Spray paint mars the walls of the lower level on the north side. Blinds are drawn on classroom windows that once led wandering eyes to the outside world.

This is the fate of a school that once served its students well, but why the vandalism, why did it close and where did all of the children go?

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Osage River

Sunset on The Osage River - Missouri (08 July 2009)
The river, 
she dances with delight and turns for spite, 
a superhighway, 
for speedboats and floaters, 
who troll for fish, 
snaggers with their catch of spoonbill, 
trotlines fill with catfish, 
frogs croak and birds sing,
nature is busy, 
while the water rushes by.

by SLMPetersen

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Alaskan Moose

The Alaskan Moose - big, grand, beautiful creatures.  Big, grand, pain in the tuchus!  These marvelous beauties have done grand things like eat our garden, drive our crazy dog crazier, and hold me hostage in the house while laying in our front yard.

Morning Moose - Alaska (02 November 2016)

Outsiders, yes you who watch the "Alaska Reality" shows, think it would be grand to see these beasts from your living room window while sipping a hot toddy and watching the snowfall.  Yes, that a beautiful Hollywood vision, but it's just not reality.

Reality is checking your yard before letting your dogs out, as moose have been known to stomp dogs to death.  Reality is they are 500 pounds and will take on a human they see as a threat.  Reality is they are near-sited animals and who see humans, smaller than them, invading their space.

Yes.  Big, grand, beautiful creatures, when they aren't found bedded down in your yard from the night before, keeping you from getting to your garage, or keeping your dog from going potty in the morning.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Love of Abandoned

Who doesn't fabricate a tale in their mind when they pass a weathered and vacant structure?  I've been doing it since I was a child, traveling across Nebraska on Old Highway 30.

Farm House - Nebraska (23 June 2007)
When you travel the main highways and byways, you often miss the bits of history in small-town museums, roadside fruit stands, and local mom and pop restaurants.  Travel the back roads and you'll often discover a way of life left behind, as just a memory.  Along with local interests, often come a plethora of run down farms with abandoned houses and dilapidated barns.

My mom and I made many trips across the farmland, filled prairie, on a journey to visit family.  Along the way, we had many discussions about how to fix up these abandoned places, what we'd do with the place and what could have led to their demise.  And so was born, was my fascination with the abandoned.

Pair the childhood nostalgia with my love of photography and you get a collection of photographs that tell a story of the forgotten, left behind dreams of a changing America.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

InkTober Completion

October has officially come to a close, which means InkTober has also come to a conclusion.  I thought I'd take the time to reflect on how much I created over the month and be truthful about how this challenge worked for me.

The Porch Postscript - InkTober Completion

Did I draw daily for the entire month?  Nope, I sure didn't.  I started out strong, but I set myself up for failure by making my art part of my days end rather than the beginning.  I was consistent in a daily journal for 13 days, then it became one more thing I had to do each day.  I didn't enjoy the setting up of a journal for pen and ink like I thought I would.

Did I enjoy the experience?  Yes, mostly.  I struggled with daily drawing, but once I let go of the journal and just drew when I felt like it, in front of the TV, I was more productive with the challenge.

What did I draw?

The Porch Postscript - InkTober Completion
InkTober Day 1

The Porch Postscript - InkTober Completion
"N" Monogram - Custom Order

The Porch Postscript - InkTober Completion
"K" Monogram - Custom Order

The Porch Postscript - InkTober Completion
Inktober Day4

The Porch Postscript - InkTober Completion
"A" Monogram - Available in Etsy Shop

The Porch Postscript - InkTober Completion
InkTober Day 9

The Porch Postscript - InkTober Completion
InkTober Day 10 & 11

The Porch Postscript - InkTober Completion
Tree of Love - Available in Etsy Shop

The Porch Postscript - InkTober Completion
Alaska Sunrise - Available in Etsy Shop

The Porch Postscript - InkTober Completion
Sunset in the Grass - Available in Etsy Shop

The Porch Postscript - InkTober Completion
Wild Grass - Available in Etsy Shop
While I didn't draw every day, I did draw quite a bit more than I usually do.  This is just a sampling of the pieces I created, I drew 24 drawings over the course of one month.  Some more in-depth than others.  I created three custom pieces, along with a few other pieces for My Etsy Shop.

Would I do InkTober again?  Right now,  I'd say no, but the next one is a year away.  Who knows what I'll decide next year, a year is a lot of time and I could be in a different place creatively.

I really hope this encourages you to step out of your creative comfort zone and try the challenges you find interesting.  While I didn't draw 31 drawings, I still feel like this was a successful challenge for me.