Thursday, July 28, 2016

An interesting day in the neighborhood

Last night, before I left work, I heard the police helicopter circling the park across the street.
They were describing a lost boy, aged 4.

I looked it up online last night but didn't see anything about it.

Around noon today, another helicopter was hovering over the same area.
"Oh, no," I thought. Perhaps something bad had happened to the child.

But it ended up being a completely unrelated crime investigation.
An anonymous tip reported a person may be buried in a backyard, from 30 years ago.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/police-723930-years-detectives.html

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Cadaver-Dog-Sniffs-for-Bones-After-Tipster-Calls-Police-388601602.html

Just a block away from the same park.

Meanwhile, the boy had been returned safely to his family after Good Samaritans recognized him.
They found him with a man at a store a few blocks away.

http://www.foxla.com/news/local-news/183049607-story

I am really proud of the community members who took action.
I didn't recognize the man accused of kidnapping, but I put an  article with photo up in the office so that people could see.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/boy-723956-nunez-santa.html

Earlier this summer, a child was molested in the same park bathroom, but the suspect got away.
Hopefully, they caught the person responsible.

Just before I closed the office at 9, a lady came in looking for her daughter.
The girl was supposed to be with the youth group, and they were supposed to be finished at 8:30.
The mother was afraid the girl had walked home alone.

I got a bad feeling and started calling the youth group leaders.
Luckily, the girl hadn't gone missing at all.
The youth group had been watching a movie in a classroom and it ran late.

The mother was in tears, and once she found her daughter, she felt a little silly about it.
She didn't even know about the lost kid from yesterday, so I told her and her other 2 kids with her, and let her know it was OK to be extra cautious.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Flowers on desk again

This week has been much of the same.
Mom can't stand or sit up yet, but she shows improvement every day.

A few days ago I painted some flowers on my desk:



Another day, I just didn't have the energy to finish (a different drawing of the same flowers):



Today was slow at work, and that was good because my back hurts too much to get up!

I had several hours to work on drawing these flowers.



I drew the background with different watercolor pencils:



I couldn't get the right shade of pink for the rose, (because I'm at work and didn't bring every color.)



Just for fun, I added sparkly gold ink to the background wash:

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Most satisfying videos.

I can't get enough of these "Most Satisfying Videos" on YouTube.
It seems to be a new trend, I've only noticed them this year.

They all seem to feature my favorite things:
Art, artisans, well-oiled machines, food, and a little sleight of hand.

The videos are definitely relaxing. They make you think, too.
How did they do that?

In some of my favorites, I can't even tell what material they are working with.
Is it paint, clay, glass, or some kind of confection?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NS2cCcVz7Cc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GStcb-PcIE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCD8-L2m_-0


These kind of videos keep popping up every day!


With so many things going wrong in the world, it's nice to look at things going right.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bSfOJlVj5s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bSfOJlVj5s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32j2c0faPhY

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A few earrings

A few days ago I went to Walmart to buy some nightgowns for mom.
They have some really cute printed night T- shirts for $5.

If you look at numbers on a chart, Mom is doing better.
But she feels really lousy.

I feel guilty about wanting to do craft things when I should be thinking more about Mom...
I guess that's normal.

I couldn't resist checking out Walmart's limited but sometimes surprising craft aisle.
I found some cute owl charms. They were like $4 for a card of 4.

I bought two, so I could made 4 pairs of earrings.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Paint on paper

This week, I got to spend more time at home with my mom.
I had time to do crafty things.
I picked some flowers with the idea of doing watercolors again, but they wilted in the heat before I could paint them.

Last year I took a class on making post cards and mail art, by artist Jacki Long at Catalyst art studio in Westminster, CA.
I spent the class mostly playing with paint in new ways, and never actually made anything to send!

I've been collecting in a shoe box: old index cards from school, free greeting cards that come in the mail, (they are rarely nice enough to actually send to anybody) and old postcard announcements of long-lost friends' art shows and plays.
With the idea of making an artistic post card one day.

The past few days I have been scraping acrylic paint onto these cards and things.
Just to move the paint around.
It's been awhile.

Index cards are just the right shape and thickness.


I feel like these need another layer of paint, or some collage, or just completely redone!


This one on top, feels like "something." Now what to do on the other side?


I had fun.

I've never mailed a post card before, even though I have to mail bills at home and many things at my church job.
Mostly marriage licenses, (we do 2 or 3 weddings a week at the church in the peak season) which have to be filled out and mailed to the court in a very strict format.
Otherwise they get returned and the bill is $25 to re-send it!
Absolutely no White-out!

I am apprehensive about sending something informal, like a painted postcard in the mail...

Monday, July 18, 2016

A difficult week for everyone

On Tuesday, my Mom went in for some routine blood tests.
Her blood sugar was high, so we admitted her to the emergency room again.
She ended up having pneumonia as well as out of control blood sugar.
It was a difficult week for everyone, and from the few chances I had to see the news, it was a hard week for people all over the world...

She came home today, but isn't out of the woods yet.
The good news is that her tumor has shrunk down to almost nothing, with only one chemo treatment!
It's too early to get excited.
The doctors still want her to do one more round of chemo...
And she hasn't been able to walk for a few weeks now.

I spent every waking hour at the hospital, or trying to stay ahead at work this past week.
The hospital room was a double, and only had a chair, and although I brought my sketchbook, I was uninspired.
But I did spend some time in my drawing room today...

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Watercolors

This weekend, I cleared all the bead things off my drawing table and pulled out my watercolors.

This tray is from a child's set of watercolors from Target or Michael's.
They cost about $5.
The paints are pale and waxy, but the lid has little dimples for mixing, and I put good quality tube watercolors into them.

It doesn't leave any room for mixing paint.
I think professionals use a limited palette, and/or they know what colors they will need.
But I like having all the colors out at once!

I painted some flowers Friday:


Yesterday I scribbled with a wax pencil made for filling in chips in wood furniture.
Then I splashed paint and ink on it:



More flowers:



I did another one today:

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Epic bracelet organizer

Over the long weekend, I had time to do crafty things.
I had been contemplating a new jewelry organizer for all the bracelets I've been making.
Originally, I had put them into this huge jar:


The obvious problem was that I had to dig around to find the right bracelet for my outfit.
For a long time I though about buying or making a bracelet organizer.
I found many tutorials online:

http://www.iheartorganizing.com/2014/08/diy-bracelet-display.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6whfvF8jnA8

I had some heavy-duty cardboard tubes left over from some bolts of material.
One was 2 1/2 inches diameter and 60" long, and the other was 1 1/2" diameter and 56" inches long.
I also had some cheesy looking stretch velvet fabric. Not my favorite pattern, but it was handy.


In the backyard I found a round piece of 3/4" thick plywood to use as a base.

I wanted the biggest possible holder, so I cut the thicker tube in half, it ended up being 30" across, and used the thinner piece to hold it up.

The cat supervised.
She wanted to sleep on the fabric and kept scratching me when I moved her.


Drilling a wide hole into the wood base was beyond my ability.
But it needed something to hold up the vertical tube.
I cut out round holes into a piece of foam core and glued that onto the round base.


I connected everything with hot glue.
It was pretty, but pretty flimsy.
The jewelry stand was as wide as the whole top of my chest of drawers!


In the end, the cardboard tube I used was too thick for my bracelets!

I tore it all apart and used the remainder of the narrower tube for the horizontal parts.
This is the result with the smaller tube:


Monday, July 4, 2016

Long weekend

After I cleaned the house, I looked at some old artist magazines and admired some oil portraits.

I found some oil pastels and drew some flowers from my garden.
I used regular alcohol to blend it, because I didn't want oily crumbs in my sketchbook:


On Sunday my mom had high sugar levels.
The doctors told us to expect this to happen because of the steroid she was given to reduce the swelling in her brain.
Although she didn't seem any more ill than usual, I decided to take her to the Emergency room.
She had been controlling her diabetes without insulin, using a pill, but the doctor had taken her off of it, last month when she did the biopsy.
The next doctor's visit wasn't scheduled until the 12th, so by going to the ER, the doctor quickly OK'd her the pill again, and hopefully in a few days her sugar will be OK.
It was a long day... the ER was mostly quiet. Mom slept, and Dad went home and took a nap.

Today, the 4th, she had a regularly scheduled blood test.
Unfortunately they had to do some of the same tests again, but she needed them.
Her blood cell count was up from yesterday, which was good. It meant she didn't need a transfusion.
Sugar was still high.
It was surprising that the hospital was open, but people taking chemo are on strict schedules.

A few weeks ago, I filled some hanging baskets with Fourth-of-July colored flowers.
At Walmart, a ready made-basket cost about $19.99.
Right next to them, they had the same annuals in flats for about $2.00 for six little plants.

I already had a bunch of empty baskets and dirt, so I for about $20 of plants, I filled up my own.


The little blue ones are Lobellias, and the red and white ones are Vincas.
They aren't as bushy as the already-made baskets, but they're better, because I made them!

Cute little spider on the flag:

Today I also tried making a bracelet organizer, but I'll save that for tomorrow's blog.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Mom back at home, I strung some beads.

Mom came home on Thursday.
Although she isn't in critical condition, she is very weak and needs constant care.
We have to lift her in and out of bed, and her words are more mixed up than ever.

She has a dozen pills to take! No wonder she feels bad.



Today though, she seems in good spirits.

Now that I'm not spending every waking moment at the hospital, I have a chance to clean.
I cleaned up the mess I made in my drawing room, looking for my lost iPod last month.

I made myself some fun bead bracelets for the 4th of July.


And this necklace.


When mom is feeling better, and out of bed, I'll make her something too.