Saturday, February 21, 2015

Not doing much

Decided tonight was the night to start a knitting project other than socks; got out the dark green alpaca I've had all ready with needles special-bought and the pattern ready to go, got started on the easiest part of a billed cap, the headband - got about four inches done and discovered I'd screwed it up - that's when I learned that alpaca tends to marry itself as you knit. I ended up just cutting the wonky part off to start anew with a new end...not tonight. Crud. Well, now I'll know to be more careful. It's a pretty simple cap, no lace or cables, so if I keep my head it shouldn't take too long to finish.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

No drawings, but OTOH

I got out of the house today. Went to Spielbound and played Pandemic! with three very nice guys. Hope we can do some more board-gaming in the future. Speilbound is a non-profit gaming cafe.  A really cool place for Omaha. Or, anywhere, really.

I thought about taking a sketchbook and pen along but then decided naw, I'd rather just play games.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Drawing a day, Feb. 10th

Had mystery book club tonight, a perfect opportunity to try some character sketches. Boy, am I bad at it. You'd never recognize these lovely ladies from my drawing.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Drawing-a-Day, Feb. 9th

Having been put to shame by a dear friend who - unbeknownst to me - took me up on my suggestion for this ordeal, and who brought her EIGHT drawings to game day yesterday, I decided I had to get back in the saddle and try some more. I decided also that I need to scale back my ambitions lest the drawings eat up all my hours every day. Therefore, ta da:

It's a very old Persian (as in, before it became "Iran") copper bowl with lid. I noticed the intriguing way it peeps out from the shadows on my bookcase and decided maybe I could manage that. Simple shape, additionally-simplified surroundings, so there. In the middle I thought it was a waste of paper but somehow I did get it looking *just* good enough to post.

So I'm back in!

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Well, that de-escalated quickly

Didn't take me long at all to run out of enthusiasm for a daily drawing, did it?

Tuesday, February 03, 2015


there could well be no drawing for today. I have had an extraordinarily arduous - for me - day. First I went out to dig the car out of the two feet of snow it's been buried in for three days. I got 90% done THEN decided it might be a good idea to start 'er up and run the heater to get rid of the ice covering all the windows - but the battery is dead. Completely dead. So I sat down in the garage and thought about it. I was already tired and sore. I'd have to call the emergency guys, wait for a truck to show up to jump-start the battery, wait awhile for the windows to melt, and THEN go to the grocery store.

I gauged my energy remaining. No. Way. So I decided to rest a bit, eat lunch, and take the bus to the store and the taxi home. Leave the car business until tomorrow. Getting to the bus stop was physically challenging (remember, it's me we're talking about - Ms. Sedentary of 2014). Snow was piled up four feet high no matter where I tried to walk, so my shoes got soaked. At the disembarking spot, same thing - though most of the way from there to the store (two blocks) was clear.

Anyway, I'm home, the groceries are put away, and I am really, really tired. Little to no interest in doing art now. *Maybe* later, but probably not. Ah well.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Drawing-a-day, Feb. 2

Signs of improvement over yesterdays' entry. For one thing, watercolor paper works so much better with watercolors, innit? This is a little better, too, because I remembered to erase as much of the preliminary pencilling as I could. It's far from perfect, but it's better.

Just two things hold me back from being a great artist: the inability to see what's really in front of me, and the inability to get what I see onto the paper. LOL

However, that's enough ado. Here's today's effort:

I think the real value of this exercise will turn out to be its keeping me humble. Oh, so humble.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Drawing-a-day, Feb. 1

I warned you. I said it'd be bad. Just sayin'.

NOW I remember there's a reason they say to use watercolor paper for watercolors. Duh.

Well, it's supposed to be a murder mystery book cover.

The best thing I can say for this is that it sets the bar for the rest of the month very low. Shouldn't be hard to show improvement over this thing.

Books read in January

In Jan. 2014, I started keeping track of what I read in a little notebook. I just entered the title and author of each, and I assigned a “grade” to each book. 

1 - didn’t finish
4 - very good, but probably won’t read it again.
5 - best ever (LotR, for example), will read again

Anyway, now that I’ve got the list, I’ll review each month’s books very briefly here.

January 2015: 12 books; of which at least four are re-reads. The doubtful ones are the Christies; if I’ve already read those it was decades ago and I had forgotten the plots etc. Completely.

5 - Exploring JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit - Corey Olsen (“The Tolkien Professor” online): I’ve listened to all of Prof. Olsen’s Tolkien podcasts on iTunes and will probably listen again, eventually. He’s a Medieval Lit PhD who brings both his rigorous academic training and his passion for Tolkien to this book. It is very enjoyable for a Tolkien nerd like me, and will reward many re-readings in the future.

4 - The Mother Hunt - Rex Stout: I love Archie and Nero and I don’t think I need to give my rundown of the plot or anything for any of these; much more skilled Stout fans have great posts all over the internet.

4 − 13 at Dinner - Agatha Christie: see the previous comment re: Stout; the world doesn’t need my recap of the books. 

5 - As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust - Alan Bradley: the newest Flavia de Luce mystery from Bradley and like all the rest, *superb*. I adore Flavia and I was worried that transplanting her to Canada (to her late mother’s boarding school alma mater) would ruin it - particularly since I am completely mesmerized by Dogger and he of course got left behind to care for her father and sisters and the crumbling family manse. But I needn’t have feared - Flavia is more than equal to anything the world seems bent on throwing at her! And in this one we get more information about her mother’s mysterious past. Going to stop now; Spoilers!

4 - The Secret Rooms - Catherine Bailey: This is a non-fiction work about England’s biggest, one of its oldest, ducal estates, and the mysteries held therein. The blurb and jacket are a bit misleading, as they hint that it’s a ghost story. It’s not - it’s a deep dark family secret story, that is nonetheless fascinating (except I skipped the extensive descriptions of WW I battles and equally tedious marathon about a certain mother’s wartime machinations on behalf of her son - these simply didn’t interest me, it’s not the author’s fault). But the revelations had my jaw dropping several times. Also, as a glimpse of just what kind of life the aristocracy led before WW I, it was a real eye-opener. It’s unbelievable, the wealth, and the arrogance that equaled it. I for one am right glad the system pretty much crashed after WW I. Never will I look at Lord Peter Wimsey’s brother the Duke of Denver the same way again. 

5 - Death on the Nile: It’s Christie, in Egypt. What more do I need to say?

5 - Unbound - Jim C. Hines: this is the third book in the Magic ex Libris series, and I gobbled it up like popcorn. That’s not to say it’s light & airy; Jim doesn’t back down from confronting the implications of  the tropes he’s dealing with - just one example - Isaac’s friend the dryad warrior Lena Greenwood’s origins as basically  a character created for the benefit of horny male readers. The Magic ex Libris books combine several of my favorites - books, libraries, strong smart talented women, and every damn hobgoblin (including I think hobgoblins themselves) you can think of. A rip-snorting read. There’s another to come and I can’t wait to see how Libriomancer Isaac Vainio emerges from that one.

4 - Over My Dead Body - Rex Stout

5 - Help the Poor Struggler - Martha Grimes: this is a Richard Jury book and I am hopelessly enslaved to Grimes’s characters, regardless of whatever unevenness of plot, circumstance, attitudes, anything. I’ve got the whole series and I’ll be going back to them every so often until the day I die.

5 - The Deer Leap - Martha Grimes - see previous.

5 - The Five Bells and Bladebone - Martha Grimes - see 2 previous.

5 - Mrs. McGinty’s Dead - Agatha Christie: Probably read this years ago and forgot it. It’s a nice Poirot with him deliciously out of his comfort zone, staying in an ill-run, ill-heated, chaotic country B & B whose mistress hasn’t the slightest understanding or talent of cooking. The mystery’s pretty good, too.

So that was my reading for January. I’ve got The Shining Girls on my nightstand because we’re discussing it in the mystery club Feb. 10th.