Sunday, September 21, 2008

Daybook for Monday 22nd September

To get the rest of the daybook entries, don't forget to visit Peggy over at the Simple Woman.

For Today...

Outside my Window
... it's the first day of autumn, and it feels it. Although it is really NOT cold, it is so much cooler than the summer, that 70+ degrees feels kind of cold!

I am thinking... that we're running late this morning, and almost 9 year old boys who lie in bed don't help matters along...

I am thankful for... people who take the time out to produce something to help/teach others. Bloggers who write about their days- artists who create lessons on CD etc. These people really help those of us coming up behind them :)

From the learning rooms... I am hoping to get M'Lady's books that are on order, this week. I still need to make the atmosphere cards for geography and try to get science in this week.

From the kitchen... stuffing covered chicken dish. Maybe some bread too.

I am wearing... black pinestripe trousers, pink t-shirt. My hair is in a high ponytail- I had originally planned on a French braid, but like I said- we're running late!

I am reading... a couple of novels and a couple of painting books... you can see a few reviews from last week in other posts on the blog :)

I am hoping... that Rebel's birthday present arrives before his birthday tomorrow!

I am hearing... the radio and the squeaky dryer.

Around the house... I am thinking of doing some autumn decorating! I have a small pumpkin and squash set up...

One of my favorite things... is mastering a new skill. I hope I can master these watercolour pencils ;)

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... make Rebel a birthday pie. Apparently he doesn't want cake! Still wanting to do the daily walk- AND now I am in the middle of lessons for watercolour pencils :) My Cathy Johnson 'Watercolor Pencil Workshop' CD arrived last week ;)

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you

Apparently swallowtails like carrots too! But then, you can see from the leaves that they are in the parsley family :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Daily Art and a Book Review

Today's offering (the one from earlier was painted yesterday).

An apple from my grocery shopping yesterday. These are local... Virginia apples. That means that autumn really is beginning! The mountains are producing- that's great! I love apples and pears. I am so glad our locally owned grocery store stocks locally grown food :)
I kind of like how the apple turned out. It was a mixture of yellow and red- very autumnal colours :)

While I waited for the colours to dry so I could add shade, I went to work on another piece. I had originally planned on a pumpkin, BUT the book I had just finished caught my eye- what better way to commemorate it than painting it?

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.
This is an extraordinary romp through post war society. It is the fictional letters between an author, Juliet (in London), and the members of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (on the channel island of Guernsey), who tell her their tales. The letters start a friendship that comes to change the life of Juliet, as she becomes close friends to the members of the society.

With the exception of one small part of the book, the entire thing is presented in letter form. We learn about Juliet from the letters she sends to the people on Guernsey, and we are intrigued by their tales of life under German occupation.

The tales of the islanders are heartrending- those of us who are more inclined to cry than others will definitely be in tears!

I thoroughly enjoyed it, and loved the idea of recording books in my little Moleskine as a memory aid :)

I gave it 5 ***** Stars. (Yes, I do only tend to read books I give 4 or 5 stars to ;))

BOOK REVIEW: A Yearbook of Seasons and Celebrations

A Yearbook of Seasons and Celebrations by Joanna Bogle. I have such trouble trying to remember this title... I KNOW I have accidentally called it the wrong name on this blog before, and I am SO SORRY!!! I blame that on the fact that her previous book is called A Book of Feasts and Seasons! Yearbook, is really a companion to A Book of Feasts and Seasons. It elaborates on the liturgical seasons mentioned in the first book, and adds in some saintly festivals too. Joanna Bogle has a very engaging style of writing, and her passion for bringing back the celebration of the liturgical year is very evident :)
She has recipes, ideas for games and ways to celebrate with your children. I was very pleased to see that she had included the Saints and some of the more Minor Church Feasts, these are the ones you inevitably don't have the slightest ideas for ;)
The book, as with the first, is divided into the various feasts, according to the liturgical calendar. That means the book begins with advent and ends with St. Andrew :)
If you have her first book, this is a recommended addition to it, fleshing out the ideas as it does so :) DO have a kitchen scale handy, as all the recipes are in their original English measurements!

If you do not have her first book, I recommend you get it- you'll find it a pleasing addition to your seasonal celebration library!

I give it 4 **** Stars.

BOOK REVIEW: A Haystack Full of Needles

A Haystack Full of Needles by Alice Gunther

This is a lovely book, an introduction if you will, to letting your child have a social life outside of the family :)
The previous sentence is a short summary, which really doesn't do the book justice. Alice has put her wonderful ideas at the fingertips of the rest of us, and I urge other homeschoolers to go out there and read this book!

Inside, Alice tells us how she started out in homeschooling, and how she created the opportunities for her children, to participate in activities with friends in all fields.

She makes some wonderful suggestions for starting your own homeschool group, where and how. Although it is flavoured with a distinctly Catholic tone, and aimed at Catholics, much of the information is very useful to those who are not Catholic, and almost always easily adapted!

She has suggestions on how to make sure your group doesn't fail, and how to have a manageable schedule. Repeatedly throughout the book, she suggests that a 6 week schedule is all you need to make something work. And with that tidbit, I'll let you get the book to find out the rest ;)

This is the ideal book to give to the new homeschooler, along with your local group email address :) It is also the ideal gift to give to the experienced homeschooler, with a little burnout! For that matter, if the idea ever pops into your head that socialization is really a problem, get the book.

Alice, is a very sweet person. Her ideas are wonderful, and if you have ever enjoyed reading her blog, you will definitely enjoy the book :)

I give this a well deserved 5 ***** Stars.

More Signs of Autumn

The Farmer's Market may not have had many things on sale this week, but the store is full of local and seasonal produce.
We bought a small pie pumpkin and two decorative ones. The decorative ones are tiny!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Challenges and Foods

Well, they are all foods really!

A banana from the store, and which my daughter ate.

It was an experiment which turned out VERY well. I was messing with layering colours. I like the way it came out :)

The farmer's market had little to offer me this week, so I drew another pepper. I tried some of my new layering techniques.

This is a peanut, EDM Challenge #188. Only it hasn't become the peanut yet! The peanut is a fascinating plant, the peanuts themselves start as a flower. Then the flower after fertilisation, goes down into the ground and grows into the famous snack there. We have just the one plant growing in the garden now. It has been blooming all summer and I have noticed the runners in the soil- fingers crossed I'll get a few peanuts from it!
This picture was drawn en Plein aire, but painted in the house (I got sunburned yesterday so I am a little gun shy!). I am not entirely happy with the way it came out, but it is a tricky thing to draw. I drew it about 3 times the actual size of the plant... the flowers are tiny, although the peanut plant itself is HUGE and sprawling!

Daybook for Monday 15th September

To get the rest of the daybook entries, don't forget to visit Peggy over at the Simple Woman.

For Today...

Outside my Window
... HOT and humid. The last couple of days have been in the 90s and today is supposed to be that way too!

I am thinking... that next time we plan to be outside on a 90+ degree day, I really should wear sunblock. I hate being sunburned!

I am thankful for... miniature golf! Jacobite's cousin took us to a miniature golf course run by his nephew. The kids had a great time!

From the learning rooms... The new tweaks worked! The plan is looking really good now :) Rebel loves the poetry, M'Lady loves the fine arts :) You can read about those on the learning notes :)

From the kitchen... baked chicken for dinner :)

I am wearing... white skirt and turquoise t-shirt. My hair is drying in a base of the neck ponytail.

I am reading... A Yearbook of Feasts and Seasons, Men of Mathematics. I finished Haystack and will post a review later!

I am hoping... the kids finish with the rabbit SOON!

I am hearing... Music on the radio (we keep the classical station on) and the dryer squeaking. The kids are outside.

Around the house... LOTS of laundry (I have an extra load because I bought a new set of napkins and placemats on sale).

One of my favorite things... is candlelight evening with DH. OK so it wasn't planned (the power went out) BUT I also love love love battery operated DVD players (the mini ones). It meant we finished out show while the power was out ;)

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... I still want to start regular before school walks! I have to add in two extra drawings (I took off two days because my hand was hurting) and I need to get M'Lady some new paints too :)

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you

Milkweed pods are beginning to burst!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Baby Oaks

Or more acorns and leaves. This was a leaf practising exercise really. I wanted to see how to do it... and the answer is with patience and care. In other words... take your time and do it slowly!!

I couldn't keep the acorns out though... I like them too much :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Something to Think About

It is interesting to me, as a non-citizen, to see the way this election is turning out. On this, the anniversary of 9/11, I thought it would be appropriate to make a serious point.

It's a serious choice people, and you would do well to listen to this man, Craig Ferguson. I saw a clip of this on the morning news, then I saw the whole thing on As Cosy As Spring.
As she says, this is not precisely kid friendly, but it IS well said. Plus he is my favourite late-night Comedian/Host ;)
And that is the end of my political points, and the seriousness for today :)

Apples and Pears

And despite the fact that my mother is technically a cockney, I don't mean stairs :) But yes, I have heard the stairs referred to as Apples and Pears ;)

These are Asian Pears, otherwise known as Apple Pears. They look like apples and taste like very sweet, juicy pears. Delicious! They have the most marvellous texture... their skins are spotted, and they come in an array of delightfully autumnal colours. These are locally grown, and were very reasonably priced in the grocery store this week (reasonable for Asian Pears, so we only got one each ;)).
I didn't manage to capture their textured skin very well, or their golden colours. So I tried again, after drawing a lovely Ginger Gold apple.

Click to get a larger picture

The apple on the right is a beautiful yellow green. I painted it in a slapdash mode after I got annoyed at the very first Asian pear I did. I actually really like the way the colours turned out in this spread. I became dissatisfied with the apple (because it looked terrible when wet) and decided to work on capturing the colours of the pears. This time I managed it... the red-gold and the brownish gold they were (both different colours). I experimented a little with the white paint, and it didn't look too bad :) I am still not sure why there is a white watercolour paint in the box... it really should be a white gouache ;)
Then I shamelessly tried copying Susan Branch's writing. Why? Because I really like it, and I was trying to see what it was I liked. I think it is a character thing :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I often think of Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet when I see acorns- and their pronunciation of "Haycorn" :)
These are three different ones the kids picked up on our walk yesterday :)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

"Eddy Teddy"

I call this bear Eddy after the fact he comes from Edinburgh, Scotland. My sister got it for my daughter I think for Christmas one year :) He was sitting there on the settee when I got ready to draw something, and so he became the subject. My son's technical pencil, just sitting there on the settee was the tool. Can you tell I was in a lazy mood?? ;)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Daybook for Monday 8th September

To get the rest of the daybook entries, don't forget to visit Peggy over at the Simple Woman.

For Today...

Outside my Window
... it is sunny and warm. The mornings are much cooler now than they used to be though :)

I am thinking... that sometimes computers annoy me! I lost this post which I had already done once :(

I am thankful for... habits. This week I am working on a second new habit in the kids... dressing before breakfast :)

From the learning rooms... new tweaks to our schedule are in place, new books are arriving in the mail and I have a geography plan!

From the kitchen... T-bone steaks with veggies.

I am wearing... denim skirt and pink t-shirt. My hair is up in a clip.

I am reading... A Haystack Full of Needles, A Yearbook of Feasts and Seasons, Men of Mathematics.

I am hoping... the tweaks work out! I don't want to keep messing with the schedule.

I am hearing... M'Lady drawing and Rebel rebelling ;).

Around the house... I need to dust, and wash the kitchen floor AGAIN.

One of my favorite things... is when the kids are enthusiastic about something. Preferably WHEN I suggest it, not an hour later :o!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... to start regular before school walks, to get lessons done.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you

I'm thinking of making rosehip jam... what do you think? These are from my garden ;)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Plein Aire fun!

So yesterday I revisited my little jug/pitcher. I wanted to see if I had improved since drawing it last in May. I HAVE become more skilled... but I am not quite there yet :) I did better with the shape last time, but I think better with the paint this time. I have gotten a LOT better at handling light, but I still need practise :)



The today, we spent a lot of time outside. We watched the air-force jets do a couple of flybys, a helicopter dragging a 'Juicy Fruit' sign and two other helicopters fly overhead. Can you tell the race is in town?
We watched caterpillars and butterflies, and investigated the rosehips. Or I did! I am seriously thinking of making them into rosehip jam!

Then I asked M'Lady if she wanted me to draw her. She told me yes, and I tried... but she just kept wriggling! Finally I gave up and told her I can't draw her now, I'll draw her later while she watched TV and didn't move.
"I'll have a tantrum if you don't draw me!" she told me, in all seriousness. Apparently it is not good enough for her if Rebel is in my moleskine and she isn't. After laughing at her, I distracted her with chatter while I drew her. That is HARD- talking and drawing is hard enough, but talking and drawing a moving target is REALLY hard. She actually looks pretty good I think :) You can see the real thing (not this picture, just another photo of her) over at my learning blog!

She is wearing one of her almost ever present hats :) This is the cowgirl one ;)

Friday, September 05, 2008

My Happy Toes

As the bands of clouds that forecast the coming of TS Hanna edge on it, I decide to make the most of what is left of summer.
Here in central VA (Virginia) that is a good month or more away. The first frost will come towards the end of October, and the weather will gradually cool. My pomegranates will ripen (I hope ;)) and the leaves will leave the tree. It happens a lot later than our friends to the North, and while I am enjoying the foretasting of autumn they are giving me, I am also lapping up the dregs of warm weather.

My Happy toes will stay in sandals until it is just too cold to wear them- usually around the time it is frosty ;) In the meantime, I draw them resting on a step ladder in front of me- painted toenails and all :) I will have to figure out how to make magenta paint next, because they are magenta NOT red... ;)


I was excited to see in my blogger dashboard the other day, the new 'followers' feature they were recommending.
I was a little disappointed to see that I had yet to get it, but resigned to the idea that it might take a while.
So I was VERY happy to see it this morning as I logged on. I've added the widget to my sidebar, so should you want to follow me you can just click it ;)
Otherwise, it's a feature that works with Google Reader and you can add me to your list there too ;)

Now... if they have a widget to add the blogs I am following to my blog... :)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Fly-by Post

Just to show the latest sketches :)

First I drew my pomegranates (I am so proud my tree is now producing). Then I painted them the colours they'll be in a month... it was kind of fun painting it outside ;)

Then I decided that I needed to just sketch them, for future work. The bunny was hot and sitting still so I sketched him too :)

Finally I made another picture of my pomegranates as they are now.

Kindred Spirits

The lovely Kim over at Graceful Girlhood, has given me this award- for which I am very grateful!! And so I now pass it on to others.

The Rules are:
1. Copy and save the graphic above, and then share it with a friend or friends :)
2. Write a blog post about the award and who you awarded it too.
3. Link back to the original post.
4. Leave a comment on the original post, and let Kim know who you awarded, and don't forget to tell your recipient(s) ;)
5. Check back to see the circle of kindred spirits :)

I thought I might like to award this to a few people... of course there is KIM, whom I will mention- we have enjoyed getting to know each other recently, and you can see the story on the original post at her blog! As for throwing sheep and Michelle Obama... well you'll have to join Facebook to get that ;)

DEE, whom I have known for years now :) along with JILL, and DANA... along with some other friends, we met on a group for homeschoolers (well Jill and Dee and I did) about 5 years ago. Then about 4 years ago, we started a group for homeschooling mothers, and Dana joined. We have been friends ever since, despite spats and disagreements, we always pull through :) These three ladies are very inspiring (as are the other friends in our group- they just don't blog as often), and have given me countless ideas over the years :)

Cristina is a homeschooling artist- she writes and draws the homeschooling comic strips you can see on her blog. I started talking and commenting on her blog a while back, after finding her through one of the blog carnivals. Her work inspired me to pick up my pencils again, and start drawing once more! Her thoughts on homeschooling, reflected in her strips, often adjoin mine... making those strips all the funnier!

Ann, who is another homeschooling artist :) I met her just recently through one of my art groups. Her work is inspiring, and she is a lovely lady who gives great moral support to other artists. Her ability with pastels and pencils is amazing!

I wanted to share the award with several friends, because I want it to spread FAR and wide :) 'Kindred Spirits' come in all shapes and sizes... some are old friends, some are new! The internet has made it much easier to open the horizons and meet your kindred spirits from far away! I have been hugely blessed with internet relationships- I met my husband online even!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

What I'm doing...

...while the kids are NOT back to school. Technically this is supposed to be us catching up today- so I caught up with a few things I said I would do ;)

I messed around with my calendar- which I will be looking VERY closely at. In fact, I am thinking with the addition of M'Lady's 'schooling' I need to be a little MORE organised. This is not my strong point, so it is a good thing I have an entire year to practise with her ;)

I painted three ATCs. OK I actually did more, but they were all of the rose which is apparently impossible for me to paint. I will try again just DRAWING this thing. Even if I have to TRACE it to see what I am doing wrong ;)

That's glitter around the edges BTW ;)

I call this one- "Gnome Home" ;)

This one is for Donna, The Happy Painter :)

I also made a nice Pumpkin cheesecake and got FINALLY, the lovely Alice's book in the mail :)
Now... I need to go do some reading and planning ;)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


two artists on Flickr made me draw this :) Linfrye and Kimberly Shaw Graphics.
It was originally designed to be the little picture just above my booklist on my homeschool notes blog :) The book, is on one of the school lists of course ;)


A nice soothing picture after drawing a truly terrible one. Pansies are sweet subjects :)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Daybook for Monday 1st September

To get the rest of the daybook entries, don't forget to visit Peggy over at the Simple Woman.

For Today...

Outside my Window
... it is a beautiful BRIGHT September day. I always associate September with crystal clear skies and very bright sun :)

I am thinking... that holidays are nice :)

I am thankful for... holidays! We get extra family time then!

From the learning rooms... tweaking the schedule- we'll see how that works this week :)

From the kitchen... a chicken dish. Not sure precisely what yet :)

I am wearing... pink nightie- it's a holiday, so I've still got to shower ;)

I am reading... some art books and a couple of novels plus the latest Living Crafts.

I am hoping... we do something fun today.

I am hearing... DH feeding the kids.

Around the house... Laundry, (isn't there always laundry), school supplies and art paraphenalia.

One of my favorite things... is going out with family!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... more school and school schedule 'touch ups' ;)

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you

I finished it! (And I really need to take more pictures!)