January into February Happenings
What an interesting start to the year! The first thing I did was to complete the 2022 annual pages for my journal and the January page. I was so happy with my floral theme for 2021 but I wanted to do something a little bit different for 2022 so my annual page I chose Psalm 100 to focus on rather than a specific word.
For January, I had done a little sketch of the paperwhites that were blooming on my countertop and a pot of Ivy, and I decided to use this as the header illustration for my January page. For my verse for the month, I chose Psalm 28:7 which was a good transition between my focus in 2021 of “Trust” and showing my gratitude towards God in 2022. I used the same format that I used last year as I was really happy with it and it worked well all year.
Little Finn is growing! He's now almost 8 months old. He's just as lovable as he was when he came home with me. I love how he cuddles when I'm sitting at the computer and sometimes even when I'm stitching! He brings me his foil ball to toss for him all the time. Such a sweet boy!
If you read my recent blogpost, you know there was a tremendous wildfire here at the end of December. From the news footage we really thought that my childhood home had been lost to the flames. But incredibly, it turns out the house has survived when everything around it burned. We think that all those trees my dad planted helped to save it by blocking the embers from reaching the house. Amazing. I truly hope the family that lives there now is not suffering too much from survivor’s guilt, and that they had minimal smoke damage. You can see the house in the picture above still standing surrounded by trees while the houses that were nearby are just blackened foundations now.
One of my year goals was to take a trip to England to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum otherwise known as the V&A Museum to see the Beatrix Potter exhibit that is showcasing her “Life in Nature”. They are exhibiting exquisite treasures such as the embroidered waistcoat that she drew for “The Tailor of Gloucester”. Oh, how I have wanted to see that coat in person! But I realized that financially this trip is not a possibility for me, so instead, I ordered the exhibition book and it arrived just in time for my birthday! What a treat to travel virtually and to also have a permanent record of this beautiful exhibition.
A huge accomplishment was completing the first of our family photo books. While we were able to save many of our family photos from the house fire, we also lost a large number of them. Many of them are smoke stained or water damaged. I found a large number of the negatives and have scanned all of them, done a lot of photo editing and have started putting them into books. It's so nice to finally make these photos that we nearly lost, available to every member of the family.
The paperwhites have been blooming beautifully, but Mushu has been a bit mischievous and broke one of the stems off before it had a chance to bloom. I tucked it in a little Aqua bottle and enjoyed it next to my comfy chair. They bloom so quickly you can almost see it happening.
The kitchen windowsill has been especially pretty as the geraniums that I had outside this summer are blooming amazingly inside! In fact, they are blooming better than they did outside! Mushu enjoys them too.
I decided that I needed to focus on painting more often, so I started a new personal art challenge to encourage myself to do a small piece of art every day if possible. I've been doing tiny index card sized watercolors. For reference I am using landscape photos on my iPad. I went back to the oldest photos on there and I'm working my way chronologically through them trying to create a painting out of even the questionable photos. So far, I'm having a lot of fun though I have not been able to paint as often as I would like as you'll see shortly.
For my birthday I went to the Denver Art Museum to see the “Whistler to Cassatt” exhibit American impressionists in Paris.
It was a great way to spend my birthday!
This portrait of Alexander Hamilton by Cecilia Beaux intrigued me because the figure is just a little bit out of focus, but the paint palette is in full focus and when you're standing in front of it, it almost pops out of the painting towards you.
Another favorite was this grassy creek, "Wild Asters" by Dennis Miller Bunker, an artist that I was unfamiliar with.
I was thrilled that they had three paintings by one of my favorite American impressionists, Frank W Benson.
He painted his family near the seashore wearing white or pale pink dresses in the majority of his paintings.
I think he paints light on white better than just about anyone else second only to John singer Sargent.
I've long wanted to see them in person, so this was a real treat.
The day after my birthday Colorado had a rare freezing drizzle/ ice storm. The ice lingered for two days. On the second day I slipped on the ice while taking the trash out and broke my left arm. Thankfully my son Stephen works nearby, and he was able to take me to the ER where I was put in an enormous bulky cast. Oh my! I have a new deeply felt gratitude for having two hands. Having to do everything with one hand has been a real challenge. Thankfully my kids and friends have been enormously supportive and have helped me manage, despite the fact that I live by myself.
Little Finn has been especially attentive and cuddly which has been so nice especially on the more difficult days.
I got to meet one of my new grand dogs! (I have three new ones!) Hopefully I'll get to meet the other two soon. Haley came to visit then got to meet Mushu! I think if they lived in the same home, they would become best buddies.
Despite my broken arm, I have been able to paint occasionally. It definitely takes me longer! I did this cute little Bunny sitting in the garden at the end of January. I'm so happy with it!
I was trying to come up with a watercolor sketch for my February journal set up and decided to use the Bunny sketch. I love the way it turned out and as my sister said, this way, I'll get to enjoy it a lot for the month of February! A plus side of having a broken arm, is that my task list for February is smaller than it would be otherwise!
We had a little excitement the other evening right before bedtime. The cats were intent upon the pantry. So I opened the door and started to clear out the bottom to see what they were after. Mushu pounced upon the mouse the moment it dared to show its whiskers! Good job Mushu! Having one eye hasn't slowed him down one bit! I will say that he wasn't at all happy that I took his bedtime snack away from him though.
I'm in a smaller cast now thankfully, and it is making it easier to get dressed and do a few things though I still am unable to use that arm or hand. I still get pretty tired, but as my son pointed out my body is working pretty hard to heal right now but every day is getting better, and I am so grateful for that.
One last bit of news! I'm so happy to report that my YouTube channel continues to grow (over 3,000 subscribers!), and is now monetized, so it will hopefully provide a bit of supplemental income! Thank you so much to all of you who have watched, subscribed, commented, and liked the videos! It truly means the world to me!