It’s been a year since I left Washington State for Arizona. To say it’s been a busy one is an understatement. Eons ago when I started school my parents made the decision to stay in the Olympia area and we did. Of course, … Continue reading →
I cannot believe we are midway through May, if only the weather would improve too. Here in the UK it has been a very windy and breezy Spring, today being the first true warm day when we could go outside without coats and gloves, the heating indoors switched off, hopefully now until Autumn, and the sun shining enough to encourage Dave and me out for a drive, taking in four garden centres – a record for us. We only came home when we did because we couldn’t fit any more plants into the car, and ours is no small vehicle, that’s for sure. The next few days will find us busy in the garden.
It was good to be out, relaxing together as the last few months have seen me working in my office-studio-workroom most days, either writing/editing or painting. It has been the time of year when my art takes over as exhibition season loomed again. This year, I decided to exhibit at two shows, one run by my art club, the other an open exhibition in a nearby town. A total of twelve paintings needed to be chosen, framed and made ready for hanging. Choosing which ones is always difficult, as is deciding the sale price, especially this year considering the current financial crisis. Would people want to buy? How much would they want to spend?
All artworks were delivered on time, and I could breathe a sigh of relief. But there was still more to do. As I am on the club committee responsible for public relations and the group website, I needed to put out plenty of advertisements in art magazines and local press, put posts up on social media, and various websites to entice the public to come. The show is always in aid of our chosen charity, and with two paintings donated by professional artists for our raffle, the more that heard about us, the better.
The first exhibition was over this weekend just gone, the preview night having taken place Friday evening; a busy 3 days for all of us volunteers who help put the show together. The preview was well attended, a jolly social event in which several sales were made (not mine, I hasten to add). Saturday was exceptionally busy despite there being numerous other public events on in the region. My day was spent manning the entry and sales desk. It was lovely to see a fellow writing friend arrive whom I had not seen for what must be 5 years or more. As we have a refreshments area in situ, I took time out to enjoy a catch-up with her over coffee and cake. My day was further heightened when one of my paintings sold, one that I nearly did not put in. Isn’t that always the way?
Sunday was unusually quiet so we decided to close the show early, which was a pity because the quality and skill of all the framed artwork there, a total of 232 pictures with 41 being sold, was excellent. In the 5 years I have been a member the standard from everyone has gone up and up. Many of our visitors commented on the talent exhibited, but it became clear people were buying the less expensive, smaller paintings, few of the larger framed, such as most of mine, were sold. This came as no surprise. Most are cautious about how they spend their money at the moment, many worrying about meeting food and heating bills, and buying art can seem a frivolity when other things are more important.
But I do not paint to sell, I paint because I enjoy it; having someone like my work enough to purchase it is a bonus, so I am not disappointed that this year I only made one sale. Many in the group sold nothing, but that does not matter to any of us. We enjoy what we do, we have a great club with lovely people, some who come for the social aspect, others who wish to learn to be better artists, and those who simply want to bring joy and colour into the world. I like to think I am one of the latter.
Moving on to the second exhibition… The preview night was yesterday, in a town about a half-hour’s drive from my home. The venue itself is a small museum, or “heritage centre”, as they call themselves, with little room to show many paintings. Four of us from my group put in several exhibits, about half of the 30 in total on show. This preview night was exclusively for exhibitors (few of whom came), the town mayor and relevant local councillors and venue staff, about 12 of us there in total! Running for 3 weeks, the centre hopes and expects many visitors to the exhibition as in other years, so it will be interesting to see the outcome.
Slideshow of a few of my other paintings at the two exhibitions:
It’s May and I think we’ve finally hit spring here in the Pacific Northwest. This week I’m at a writing retreat at the ocean. I couldn’t have picked a better week. It’s sunny and mild temps in the mid 60’s. … Continue reading →
Jillian here. Hoping you’re having a great May so far. Mine has not been so hot but we do have cute little kittens here at the office who make me smile. This mother cat has already had one litter before but she hid the babies so we couldn’t socialize them. Before we could get her to get her spayed, she was pregnant again. I had no idea cats could get pregnant quite so frequently.
This time, when we knew she was close to delivery, we put her in the filing room at the office. She had three babies who look exactly like the three she had previously. She at least is faithful to her man, right? 🙂
These babies are four weeks old. The white one talks a lot and wants to explore every thing. It loves to be petted, too. The grey tabby is playful and likes to romp around and the orange one is the most quiet of the three. They are sweet. We can’t keep them but we have enjoyed them for these weeks. Two weeks from now, we hope to have found them nice places to live.
Here are some pics. They are wiggly and hard to capture. Momma is in one of the photos, too. She is also sweet. But she does steal food from some of the other cats we feed here. 🙂
I’ve never had the opportunity to stay at the beach longer than 3 days at any given time. Until now. I’m enjoying life on the edge of the Pacific Ocean in Washington state for four weeks right now. And it’s awesome!!!
I’ve made no bones of the fact that the beach is my happy place. I came here to find out if living here, either permanently or semi-permanently, was something I would enjoy. After all, it’s pretty drizzly, windy, and cold most days here. Fall, Winter, and Spring are like that. I don’t come here often in the summer, but there are more sunny days then, I’m sure.
I’m spending more time outdoors. Afternoons are for beach walks and reading in my chair…on the beach.
Anyhow, as I type this, I’m a week in and still totally hooked on beach life. What do I love?
The slower pace and less frantic lifestyle.
Sitting in a chair on the beach after a long walk, just watching the waves.
The friendliness of the people around me. I sit and work in front of the window and they wave as they go by on their beach walk.
Finding beach treasures.
The weather. I don’t mind chilly and windy. In fact, I prefer it to the heat of summer.
What I don’t love:
That we don’t already have a place of our own at the beach.
Seriously, I don’t have anything else on the negative list. The place I’m renting is one row back from beachside, so I have a good view of the water and it’s a short walk to get there. I’m enjoying amazing sunsets, watching the tide roll in and out, and the clouds herald more rain or blowing out to let the sun in. It’s amazing, it’s beautiful, and it’s a world all to its own.
And I am hooked so far. I’ll post again next month about how I feel at the end of the four weeks. In the meantime, I hope you all get to find a beach, or mountain, if you prefer, and enjoy some outdoor time!
I live quite close to the Georgian city of Bath here in the UK and like most people who live near tourist cities and attractions, I tend to take the place for granted. In fact, nowadays, I usually avoid it like the plague thanks to the sheer volume of traffic, the traffic restrictions, and the car parking charges. That said, whenever I do venture in, I always find something new and beautiful to appreciate about the city.
Aside from its architectural and historic interest, Bath offers many interesting possibilities for an author. The ghost walks and tours have provided many an entertaining evening and are one of the first things we always do when we have non-local friends to stay. We’ve actually had a couple of scary encounters during these walks, but that’s for another blog another time 🙂
On a trip into Bath this week for a dentist visit, I had some time to spare before the appointment so, armed with my trusty phone camera, went off to explore. On this trip it was the trees of Bath that held a certain fascination for me, and I came away with ideas for new stories in the process.
First stop, the Circus. These London plane trees, planted in the 1820s and said to be the most photographed trees in Bath, can be found in the central grassed off area of the Circus, and are surrounded by a circle of townhouses. They’ve so far survived the weather, pollution, and even the Bath Blitz during the Second World War, when a number of nearby townhouses were destroyed (since rebuilt). The Circus is considered a fine example of Georgian architecture, designed by John Wood, the Elder, in the 1760s. Apparently, John Wood was influenced by the knowledge that since Bath was a major centre for Druidism, the Circus design should reflect that of Stonehenge in nearby Wiltshire, which was thought to be a Druid temple back in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The old hanging tree can be found in the heart of the city in Abbey Green, a Georgian square by the Roman Baths and the Abbey. As the name suggests, this is where public executions would take place. Sadly, my photo was too dark to post here, but you can see a photo of the tree at this link.The tree is one of the oldest in Bath, said to have been planted in 1793. Mary Shelley wrote most of her masterpiece and finished the final draft of Frankenstein while living in this square, and a pub opposite is said to be haunted, most likely by some of those poor unfortunate souls who met their demise by the old tree!
On the way back to my car, post dentist, I walked past these beautiful blossom trees lining the edge of the Royal Victoria Park. Landscaped in the late 1880s, the park stretches over ten acres and is filled with the most beautiful trees, shrubs, and flowers. Despite that it was named for her, it is said that Queen Victoria hated the city of Bath, allegedly because she overheard someone describing her in a less than complimentary manner! Regardless, those blossoms are pretty stunning. Don’t you just love spring?
Thanks to my spare half an hour in Bath, you might just find the old trees of Bath, and their history, making their way into future Faye Avalon stories. Watch this space!
Without the picture you would think this blog was about something for sewing. Since I first discovered threading (January 2023), I have seen one sign that I’d have sworn I could go in for hemming some pants.
Karen and I found this way to shape brows by accident. There was a shop in Walmart and I went in to make a couple of appointments for having our brows waxed. The young lady said they did Threading instead and always ready to try something new, we thought it would be fun to try.
Since than I have asked around and found that
1. Some people have heard of Threading , but never tried it.
2. Some had never heard of Threading.
3. No one I asked had Threading done.
I googled ‘Threading’ and thought I would address some of what we found with our experience. To start with, both Karen and I have switched from waxing to threading so my view will be in the positive.
1. The speed of the process. I didn’t find it faster but it was marginally slower. And that was our first time so it might be faster for us to maintain.
2. It doesn’t hurt as much as waxing. Both of us hardly felt it.
3. Lasts as least as long as waxing maybe even longer as they shaped the brows.
4. Cost. Every place here (Phoenix), charge $10 for Threading and $15 for tinting. When Karen went home, she had hers done in Lacey Washington for the same price.
5. Some irritation around the area. Mine were about the same as waxing both in redness and how long it lasted. By the time Karen got back to the house I didn’t notice any redness. But mine always is irritated to the point of redness with waxing.
In researching Threading, after we had it done, I found that brow threading has been practiced in multiple cultures for several thousand years. They think it might have originated in India or Iran. Today it has been adopted by cultures worldwide and is one of the most popular methods of shaping brows. (This makes me feel like a DUH moment. How am I just now hearing about it?)
Jillian here. Sorry I missed my day to blog last month. Hobbes had just had surgery and he was a miserable kitty who wouldn’t sleep alone and I spent five nights sleeping on the couch with him while he moaned and groaned about the collar he had to wear. I walked around in a daze at work for that week and didn’t even realize the 9th of the month passed until the 12th. Pretty crazy, I know.
Today is Easter and I hope those of you who celebrate are having a nice holiday. Now that we don’t have small children and don’t do the egg dying and hunting thing, it’s a pretty quiet day. We have dinner at my parents’ home and enjoy the whole turkey with fixings meal as if it was thanksgiving all over again. My mom makes the best gravy and the best deviled eggs so I am sure to indulge in those.
We used to go to the sun rise (or SON-rise) service at my church but they stopped doing it. I always loved that service as it was set to start before the sun was up and the sun came up just as it was ending– at the final hymn–beautiful. And then there was the pancake breakfast…
One thing I love about Easter is the availability of Starburst jelly beans. They have a bag of all reds that we stock up on while we can. They used to only be sold at Target but now you can get them other places. I am proud of myself this year. I bought 6 bags and have not eaten one. Not one, single jelly bean. I’m still trying to lose weight and cut down on sugar. But I do think I might cave before the day is over and eat a few. We’ll see.
Passover was also this week. My daughter-in-law is Jewish so they do both a Seder and an Easter celebration. They went on an egg hunt in their community park last weekend and her brother’s girlfriend gave birth to their second daughter on Passover. A sweet new little girl for my son and DIL to be aunt and uncle to and a new cousin for Benjamin.
Whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope you have a blessed day full of love and happiness. And go get you some Starburst red jelly beans—you won’t regret it.
I live a ferry ride away from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Until a couple weeks ago, I’d never had a chance to visit the city. I should have made more of an effort because it’s awesome and I wish I could have spent more time there!
We walked on the ferry, choosing to leave the car. That meant walking, something that I’m not great at these days due to hip and back pain. But I did it, and I’m proud of that.
The ferry let us off in downtown Victoria and we walked about a mile to the condo we had rented. Turns out, that mile was mostly uphill. Uh oh. Here’s my reddddd face as I’m on a daughter-enforced rest once we arrived. 🙂
But the condo? Worth it. We had GREAT views of downtown Victoria and even a touch of the bay.
Day one was all about getting there. Day two was adventure day, at least for the two teens with us. We took a city bus out of the downtown corridor and had breakfast at Tim Horton’s, a national chain whose coffee I enjoy. Then it was off to a zipline adventure. Remember that aforementioned pain? I chose not to zipline but the kids had a blast, and their mother was running from tree to tree taking pictures. It was awesome.
Then we went to Chinatown and Fan Tan Alley, another high recommend. It was an amazing place to visit.
The next day, I rested and let those younger than me explore the city. I read, relaxed, and, when they were ready for some downtime, we met at a wonderful Board Game Café. You rent a table (when we were there it was only $6 CAD.) We sat there for hours playing games. They had over 800 to choose from! We laughed, we ate, we let everything go and just stayed in the moment. It was awesome.
I came home relaxed and refreshed and my granddaughters got stamps in their passports. My daughter was thrilled because we made so many memories. Thank you so much for letting me be part of this mini-adventure, daughter and grands!
There were things we didn’t do in Victoria, like Buchart Gardens. I didn’t think I could manage the walk, but I’ve heard from so many people that it’s beautiful there no matter what time of year you visit.
Victoria is a very welcoming city and, as I said at the beginning, visiting is a high recommend from me. I think there’s something for everyone there!
Almost since the day we married, hubs and I have always been big on celebrating our wins. Back in the day, we celebrated with weekends away, foreign holidays, meals out, new clothes … you get the drift. Since I started writing to get published, we’ve marked each book release with luxury chocolate and a bottle of champagne (I save the corks!)
Well, times change… Although we still celebrate our wins, the way we choose to do so has kind of morphed into, shall we say, more prosaic means. Vivvy is a huge part of our lives now and neither of us enjoy leaving her for very long, although we have the very best friends who look after her for us – in fact, Viv can barely contain her excitement when we roll up to their house and she shoots out of the car without barely a backward glance for mum and dad. Typical! But since we miss her so much when we’re away, we tend not to want to go away that much, so the holidays and city breaks have taken a backseat, celebration wise.
Not that the actual celebrations have waned. If anything, we find more to celebrate as we get older, or that maybe because we look for any excuse since we found our new celebratory purchase 🙂
They’re our new addiction. We’ll celebrate anything … a day when it doesn’t rain, bin collection day, garden waste disposal day, grocery shopping day, when the window cleaner comes day, daylight saving day … you name it 🙂 In fact, getting my blog post up on time today calls for celebration…